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Nutrition and Breastfeeding Articles

‘It is hard to know what to believe with so much conflicting nutrition
information. ​I provide you with the latest evidence-based facts.’


How do kid’s parties fit in with healthy eating?

We have lots of parties on the weekend, how do we manage to eat healthily as a family?

Children have a lot of parties to attend, which may make it seem hard to establish healthy eating patterns. These tips can help you navigate busy social times:

  • Make sure you feed your child as usual leading up to the party, and don’t restrict meals or food. It is important to continue to model healthy eating habits both prior to, during and after the party. Let your child’s appetite guide their eating after the party. They may not feel like much for dinner, or be a little less hungry the next day, that is OK.
  • All food is good food, it is about balance. Treat foods can be eaten sometimes, we choose foods from the five core food groups most of the time. These are; fruit, vegetables, meat and meat alternatives, dairy and dairy alternatives and grains/cereals. They give us fuel and energy for learning, playing and growing.
  • Honour the appetite. Discuss what if feels like to feel hungry & full (the concept of the happy tummy vs a sore and unhappy tummy when overfull). By learning these cues, your child will learn to let their appetite be the guide. This will help to prevent overconsumption of party food.
  • Provide a positive food environment for your children at home, and aim to keep the talk around food and eating positive. There is no such thing as bad food.
  • Make the change: when planning your children’s parties, choose healthier food options, you will be impacting the health of those around you too & reducing your carbon footprint with less processed options.
  • Plan healthy lunchboxes, see our tips here;

By Emma McShane, Dietitian. Edited by Nicole Bando, APD & IBCLC

Lolly bags, do they matter?

Children attend multiple parties every year. If each party provides lolly bags (alongside party food), our kids are likely to consume excessive amounts of sugar, with minimal nutrients. These foods take the place of healthier options and can impact healthy growth, mood & concentration, not to mention the copious plastic packaging that ends up in landfill. We can have a positive impact on our children and planet by choosing healthier party food options & lolly bag alternatives. Why not give these ideas a try for your next children’s party?

–    Craft to-do sets e.g. scrapbooking materials
–    Colouring in books
–    Play-Doh kits
–    Pencils and notebooks
–    Books
–    Seedlings to grow a garden
–    Frisbee or sporting equipment such as a ball
–    Recipe cards to healthy recipes to make at home

Try providing these in paper bags instead of plastic bags to make your party more environmentally friendly.

By Emma McShane, Dietitian. Edited by Nicole Bando, Dietitian & LC

Allergy-friendly party food

If you are planning a party for children who have food allergies, it can seem overwhelming to know where to start. Follow these steps for safe and yummy party food. A food allergy is when a person’s immune system reacts to the protein in a food, causing symptoms such as hives, rashes or in more severe cases swelling of the mouth and throat (anaphylaxis). Find out which allergens you need to exclude and take it from there. The key allergens are: peanuts, dairy, wheat, egg & fish.

  1. Have a plan: Find out the symptoms of the child’s food allergy. Who will be supervising them? What is their allergy/anaphylaxis plan? Make sure they have their epi-pen & you or a supervising adult knows how to use it. Call an ambulance if the child demonstrates signs of an allergic reaction.
  2. Know your key allergens and read the ingredients list. It is Australian law that processed foods must be clearly labelled to include allergens using their common names (e.g. egg or milk) so that they can be easily recognised. Allergens are often shown in bold
    in the ingredients list. There is also a ‘contains’ section that has a summary list of the allergens present in that food. Check food labels every time you buy the product, as ingredients and processes can change.
  3. What about ‘may contain traces of?’ This means that there is a potential cross-contamination risk. It may be best to avoid these foods for safety reasons.
  4. Food preparation and cross contamination: When the tiniest amount of an allergen comes into contact with another food (e.g. crumbs from wheat bread are on the bread board used to prepare gluten-free bread) it can be enough to cause an allergic reaction. Set up the food preparation area in a clean environment away from other foods being prepared. Use only clean (using hot, soapy water) equipment when preparing food. Make sure that your hands are cleaned prior to preparing and serving as well and that any products used haven’t been exposed to allergens (e.g. margarine previously used for wheat containing bread).
  5. So what party foods can I serve? Choose fresh over processed foods, it is easier to avoid multiple food allergens this way. Have fun with fruit, e.g. fruit skewers or try our simple allergy-friendly popsicle recipe: Blend 500ml of plant-based milk, 1 tb of maple syrup and your choice of 300g frozen fruit. Pour mixture into moulds, add an icy-pole stick & freeze until solid. Also try gluten-free pizza bases with vegetables (either without cheese or with vegan cheese), tofu and vegetable skewers, mini beef burgers with gluten free rolls, 100% corn chips & avocado dip, popcorn (over 3 years), rice crackers & dried fruit. Consider party bags that are food free and perhaps involve craft, such as colouring.
  6. What about the cake? Check out this allergy free birthday cake recipe! – if looking for a wheat/gluten free option, swap out the plain flour for gluten-free flour.


  1. What is allergy? – Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA) [Internet]. 2022 [cited 9 July 2022]. Available from:
  2. Avoiding Cross-Contact [Internet]. 2022 [cited 9 July 2022]. Available from:
  3. [Internet]. 2022 [cited 9 July 2022]. Available from:

By Emma McShane, Dietitian, edited by Nicole Bando, Dietitian & LC, August 2022

Healthier party food

By Emma McShane, Dietitian. Edited by Nicole Bando, Dietitian & IBCLC, August 2022

At a party, a small amount of sugary food is okay, though it is important to ensure the majority of the food includes healthy options for children to ensure they are being nourished for growth & their best health. Children may have many parties over a weekend, which means their opportunity to eat high sugar, processed foods is beyond their needs for growth.

For quick, easy packaged food options to include in your next kids’ party, check out this link:

These colourful ideas also promote growth, mood, play & concentration:

–    Vegetable sausage rolls made with filo pastry
–    Assorted sandwiches using multigrain bread
–    Fruit skewers
–    Fruit and yoghurt cups
–    Wholemeal pita bread pizzas loaded with vegetables such as spinach, capsicum, tomato, mushrooms etc.
–    Healthy bliss balls
–    Popcorn for children over 3 years of age
–    Cheese and crackers
–    Rice crackers & dips
–    See our allergy friendly party food list

Lolly bags have an excessive amount of sugar and minimal nutrients, and are generally not recommended. Try swapping out lollies for something else, such as colouring books and utensils, craft ideas or recipe cards for healthy foods to make at home. Or offer 1 small treat instead of a bag.