Let us introduce a very yummy mummy who knows everything there is to know about how to feed our children good food – and on a budget too. We have asked her some key questions on nutrition – let us know if you have any others and we’ll put these to her.

“I am a Nutritional Therapist with a specialist interest in women and children’s nutrition and a practice at Grace Medical in Belgravia and a clinic in my home turf in East Sussex.

“I am also author of  ‘Take Control of Your Endometriosis’ published in March 2012 by Kyle Books and founder of work www.wildnutrition.com bespoke Food-State supplements for the whole family.

I am also mum to two young boys, Alfie and Ned, and also the surrogate mum to three chickens!”

 Henrietta Norton

We all like to feed our children good food, but what about the cost?

The cost of eating well and therefore the choice to eat well is unfortunately far too embroiled with politics. In my clinic, I find that many think it is the cost that is the biggest obstacle but when we strip it back, I help them to see that it’s not cost per se but lack of time that is the greatest obstacle in feeding our children wholesome food.

There is much that you can do to buy highly nutritious and low cost foods such as the less ‘supermarket friendly’ and cheaper cuts of meat (such as shank or brisket) which are cooked slowly and are nutrient dense. Dab or pollack are nutrient rich, less-farmed fish but they also take time to source.

Time shortages can also curb our creativity when it comes to cooking and we can turn to fish fingers from the freezer or sausages. None of these are the ‘devil’ but would ideally be a very occasional emergency go to.

To overcome these issues, cook batches of slow-cooked stews, fishcakes, or ratatouille for example and keep them in the freezer. Frozen berries are a great choice for making compotes with yoghurt for puddings. During the winter a slow cooker can be a culinary saviour, it is for us.

Can you give us your top five basic nutrition tips?

1. Include a source of protein at every meal. These can be seeds, pulses (humous or white bean dips are excellent snacks), poultry, yoghurt, nut butters (WholeEarth brand and Biona are excellent brands for this). Protein sources are also dense in minerals such as zinc and magnesium for energy and immunity. 2. Go easy on the fruit smoothies. Evidence shows that Fructose is rapidly absorbed into the blood stream when it is not accompanied by fibre, as is the case with smoothies. Healthier than coke but healthy? This is debatable.

3. Variety – Aim for a rainbow everyday. This is a great way to increase your children’s (and your) exposure to the key nutrients found in plants that support healthy development, most especially of the immune system.
4. Be your own sugar detective. You may not even be aware of the amount of sugar your children are consuming. I am not referring to confectionary here but to the hidden sugars in cereals, snack bars, dried fruit bars, fruit drinks, even a small 10p dollop of tomato ketchup has around 1/2 teaspoon of sugar in it.
5. Keep them hydrated. Even mild dehydration can reduce mental function (including the ability to behave!) by 30 per cent. Don’t wait until they ask. If they are thirsty, they are already dehydrated and even more so if they are eating sugary food.
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What happens when you have fussy eaters who won’t eat vegetables or fruit?

I know about  this dilemma first hand! Don’t despair, there are some easy ways to increase their intake of fruit or veg – even beetroot. You can make some delicious healthy muffins for example but with beetroot. If you have a food processor blend up carrots, celery and mushrooms with garlic and onion with as the base for a tomato sauce.

Even pasta pesto can be tweaked, either make yourself with spinach, pinenuts or walnuts, cold pressed olive oil and Parmesan or if you are really pushed for time, steam some broccoli or spinach and whizz in a food processor with the jar of pesto. For some recipes see my website www.henriettanorton.com.

Are supplements an answer?
It is an unfortunate fact that the way we farm our crops and manufacture our foods nowadays yields significantly less nutrient foods. This has been confirmed by many reports and the latest Diet and Nutrition of Infants and Young Children in 2011 highlighted the inadequate intake of key nutrients such as iron, Vitamin D and vitamin A.
Supplements can support this on top of a healthy diet. However not all vitamin products are equal and the majority are in a synthetic form (chemically copying that of nature) and therefore not recognised well by the body. Choose Food-State forms of nutrients, these are exceptionally well absorbed and dont require ‘mega-doses’.
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Breakfasts can be hard? Any ideas that are child-friendly?

Homemade granola with a mixed berry compote is a top hit in our house (see recipe on website for details). It combines healthy fats and protein from seeds, fibre rich oats and iron from chopped apricots. Poached or boiled eggs with wholemeal ‘soldiers’ are a great choice too. Wholemeal toast with Wholesome peanut or cashew nuts butter and a thin spread of manuka or local honey.

 

What other’s say about Henrietta…

“Top 10 therapists to have on your speed-dial” ES magazine 

“An informative and warm book. It will provide effective and practical support for many women.” Louise Redknapp on ‘Take Control of Your Endometriosis’ 

“There are few conditions that respond as well to nutritional therapy as Endometriosis and perhaps fewer consultants who are as expert in their knowledge about it as Henrietta Norton” Ian Marber, Co- Founder of The Food Doctor 

‘I have worked with Henrietta on several projects over the last few years and have always found her knowledge and input invaluable. I have no hesitation in recommending her as a nutritional therapist.’ Dr Sarah Brewer 

“Henrietta is clinically excellent as well as being extremely warm hearted; the perfect mix in a practitioner dealing with women’s intimate health matters” Emma Cannon, author of the bestselling ‘The Baby making Bible’