Joan Gavin's nutritional advice features in Hampshire magazine
Local must-read Winchester Magazine has featured an article covering some of Joan’s tips for ensuring your baby, child or toddler gets a balanced diet. With lots of useful insight - it makes a great introduction if you’re worried about your child’s diet and nutrition. Read on for the full article.
WHEN MEAL TIMES ARE A BATTLE OF WILLS
Winchester children’s dietitian Joan Gavin can help
Got a toddler who refuses to eat anything new? Or a baby with reflux or a teen who wants to be vegan?
Winchester children’s dietitian Joan Gavin knows just how hard it can be to get children to eat a nutritionally balanced diet. And with over 20 years’ experience in the NHS and a diploma in child psychology, as well as being a mummy to two boys, she’s an expert in coming up with solutions that make lasting changes in children’s lives.
“That might be identifying a cow’s milk protein allergy in a baby with reflux through to supporting a teenager with irritable bowel syndrome” she says.
“I can identify if your child has an allergy or an intolerance to a food that may be causing tummy pain or abnormal bowel motions and provide dietary advice individually tailored to your child’s likes, dislikes and lifestyle to successfully treat their symptoms”. Joan can diagnose a nutrition related problem within a single one-hour appointment to help address parental concerns and provide reassurance.
Fussy eaters can be won over in part by gradual exposure to foods they have previously rejected, says Joan.
“Engaging children with food buying, preparation and cooking can help to make meal times feel less confrontational,” she says.
Hidden sugar often plays a major role in poor eating habits, says Joan. “We are born with a sweet tooth, so babies will always eat sweet foods. For this reason, it is very important to encourage savoury foods and flavours in their diet, beginning with weaning”. But how much sugar is too much? Joan can help you to navigate nutrition labelling and will provide top tips on how to reduce your child’s hidden sugar intake.
While changes on food labelling have helped to educate parents and children about what they are eating, being aware of portion sizes is also important. “As adult portions have continued to grow, so too have children’s,” she says. “It’s very easy to over-feed our children without realising.” Joan can provide you with age appropriate portion size guidelines for your child and advise on changes to your family weekly menu “to ensure your child meets their nutritional needs in their early years to benefit their health in later life” she says.
Vegan diets are very popular at the moment however Joan issues a word of caution “Children require more nutrients than this diet can provide to meet their requirements for growth so additional vitamin supplementation and careful menu planning are essential”. Joan can show you how to adapt a vegan diet to meet your child’s needs.
As well as offering nutritional assessments, allergy testing and tailored diet plans for children, Joan’s practical advice can transform meal times.
“Eating as a family should be pleasurable for everyone,” she says. “Sometimes just a few simple changes can take the stress away while ensuring that a child’s nutritional needs are being properly met.”