Nicole Bando | Dietitian & Lactation Consultant

Nicole Bando Family Dietitian and Lactation Consultant Logo


Search by typing & pressing enter

Search by typing & pressing enter

Search by typing & pressing enter

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.’


Catering for Christmas? How to meal plan for the big day

Many people worry that eating too much on Christmas day will ruin their health goals, however some perspective can help. It is one day of the year, and is meant to be enjoyed, so don’t worry about your activity goals or healthy eating habits for this day. One day will not break the healthy habits you have created for yourself. It is only if these habits carry through for days and weeks that our health can be impacted.

Are you catering for Christmas Day and feeling overwhelmed by the task and dietary requirements?
We recommend following our easy structure for the perfect Christmas spread:

1.  2x Protein: Meat e.g. Beef, chicken, ham or turkey. This can be barbequed or roasted depending on what is easiest for you.
A great vegetarian or vegan option is a mushroom wellington, whole roasted cauliflower with tahini sauce or a vegetable lasagne.

2. 2-3x Vegetables (make this the rainbow – use different vegetables with different colours).-
Starch: No Christmas spread is complete without roasted potatoes, pumpkin or sweet potato. Chop roughly, place in a baking tray with garlic, rosemary, salt, pepper and a generous drizzle of olive oil. Roast for about 40 minutes for crispy goodness.
Greens: Steamed green beans with a drizzle of lemon and olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper are simple & fresh. Or Brussel sprouts pan-fried with some coconut oil.
Steamed carrots with a sprinkle of cinnamon & roasted almonds (if no allergies)
Note that all these vegetable dishes are  gluten, dairy and egg free.

1-2x Salads
Examples include:

  • A fresh garden salad with lots of green leaves, tomatoes, cucumber, carrots, and olives can be delicious. Add a simple dressing made from olive oil, mustard, lemon juice, and vinegar for extra flavour.
  • Pulse salad e.g. lentil salad with baby beetroot and spinach is a hearty protein option for vegans/vegetarians.

3. Bread: good quality sourdough or wholegrain breads are great options. Gluten free brands include Helga’s and GF Precinct.
4. 1-2x Desserts –
Why not try our smoothie popsicles, great for kids, the recipe can be found here:
Pair dessert with a fruit platter using fresh, in-season fruits such as cherries, raspberries, strawberries, pineapple and mango. Why not try our orange yoghurt dip as a fresh accompaniment to the fruit.

We hope that this structure makes catering for Christmas a little easier so you can spend more time enjoying Christmas with the ones you love.

By Emma McShane, Dietitian, December 2022

Alcohol & zero alternatives

Drinks may be flowing in December, are you worried about overdoing it? Text Try these tips:

  • Space them out: Alternate alcohol with water or bubbly water, to reduce overall alcohol and keep you hydrated.
  • Pouring at home? Know your serves: 100mls wine & sparkling, 30mls spirits, 285mls beer (less than a stubby), 425mls light beer, 285mls cider.
  • Limit cocktails, they are very high in sugar and contain multiple standard drinks.
  • Be the nominated driver: If you have lots of parties, can you go alcohol free for some?
  • Try zero alcohol options: a great alternative to alcohol. Check the labels before buying as remember they may also be high in sugar and added chemicals. We found these good options:
  • Dash peach infused sparkling water
  • Polka botanical non-alcoholic spirit
  • Iced tea homemade e.g. with a teabag and sparkling water

I’m breastfeeding, can I drink alcohol?

The safest option whilst pregnant and breastfeeding is to avoid alcohol altogether, as it can reduce breastmilk production and impact baby’s growth and development. Alcohol is present in breastmilk in the same levels as the bloodstream and it takes approximately 2-3 hours for the mother’s body to clear the alcohol in one standard drink. This time increases with each drink consumed. So if choosing to consume alcohol, wait around 2 hours before breastfeeding. Any milk expressed before the 2-hour window will need to be discarded, as it is not safe for the baby to consume. If there are times where a mother plans on drinking more than one standard alcoholic drink, plan ahead and express some breast milk beforehand to feed baby during this time. Below are two links to resources for further information:

By Emma McShane, Dietitian & Nicole Bando, APD, IBCLC

Nutrition for kids over Christmas & school holidays

I have spoken to many parents feeling a little concerned that Christmas & school holidays may throw their nutrition routine out the window. Whilst that is ok for a short time, it is absolutely possible to celebrate and have some balance too, hooray! . Try these tips for your family:

  • Don’t restrict yourself or the kids. Feed yourself and children as usual leading up to social events. So for Christmas lunch, eat a normal breakfast and morning tea if late lunch. It is best not to attend events so hungry that it is difficult to think straight, as this often leads to eating beyond fullness and makes it difficult to listen to those body cues.
  • Encourage and guide your children to learn their hunger and fullness cues, practice eating slowly and waiting 20-30 minutes after eating to decide if still hungry.
  • At other times, stick to meal structure, try to choose foods from the five core food groups; fruit, vegetables, meat and meat alternatives, dairy and dairy alternatives and grains/cereals, as these foods provide best energy for growing and learning.
  • Engage in active play as a family. Take a ball or Frisbee to a picnic.
  • If you are taking a plate, why not try a balanced option, such as wholegrain crackers, chopped fruit, vegetables, cheese, dips such as hummus & tzatziki.

Healthy snacks at home:

Choose fresh, natural, unprocessed foods, where possible:
–    Cheese (tasty or cottage) on seeded crackers
–    Fresh fruit cut-up
–    Carrot, cucumber or tomato cut-up and served with hummus.
–    Yoghurt
–    Popcorn (for children over 3 years of age).
–    Healthy bliss balls
–    Boiled eggs
–    Nuts and seeds
–    Canned beans e.g. chickpeas

How do treat foods fit in?

There is no such thing as a ‘bad’ food, as balance is the key. Treat foods do fit into healthy eating, sometimes. Parties and special occasions are those time to include these foods, the rest of the time, offer healthy snacks and meals.

Is nutrition actually important over school holidays?

School holidays add up to 14 weeks of the year – that is over 3 months, or 25% of your child’s total diet! Keep a similar routine to school, with meals at similar times. Encourage eating at designated times rather than snacking throughout the day to promote hunger at meal times. Promote physical activity, encourage your kids to play outside and reduce time spent on screens. Hunger levels may be different to the school year, if activity levels are different too.

By Emma McShane (Dietitian) & Nicole Bando (APD, IBCLC), December 2022