Babytastes Blog

Welcome to the Babytastes Blog where we will keep you up-to-date with food and nutritional advice.  Please feel free to comment on the blogs by clicking the topics to the right.

30 May 2012

How much food do you waste?

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I am ashamed to say that the photo shows some of the unused food found in my fridge!

Unfortunately, I am not alone in wasting food.

Food Waste in Australia
• Australians are throwing away food worth $5.2 billion a year, with the average household wasting $616 of food a year.
• Australians waste close to 3 million tonnes of food per annum, or 136 kilos per person per annum.
• Australians discard up to 20% of the food they purchase = 1 out of every 5 bags of groceries they buy.
• An estimated 20 to 40% of fruit and vegetables rejected even before they reach the shops – mostly because they do not match the supermarkets' excessively strict cosmetic standards.
• Dumping a kilo of beef wastes the 50,000 litres of water it took to produce that meat, throwing out a kilo of white rice will waste 2,385 litres, and wasting a kilo of potatoes costs 500 litres!


Maybe, meal planning, freezing, or preserving of produce could reduce the amount of our food waste. The advent of online shopping may curb the impulse buy. There are more weekly farmers’ markets popping up in the suburbs, selling freshly grown fruit and vegetables, which may encourage us only to buy what is needed for the week.

Thankfully, there are non-profit organisations, which collect food to distribute to people in need.

Foodbank, is a non-denominational, non-profit organisation which acts as a pantry to over 2,500 charities, community groups and schools which provide food relief to the community.

The Farmyarmy donates produce grown at home, community gardens or at schools, to the less fortunate.  They are always looking for recruits; people with some spare ground to grow some fruit or vegetables.

23 May 2012


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Sadly, most of us have been affected by cancer, directly or indirectly. 1 in 2 Australians will be diagnosed with cancer before the age of 85.

The morning tea is the largest fund raising event organised by the Cancer Council of Australia. This important event has been running since 1994, raising millions of dollars for research, education programs, training of volunteers, and running the help-line.

Just $5 raised can help with providing support and resources for a newly diagnosed cancer patient. So share a "cuppa" with friends, work mates, or family members and dig deep for a worthy cause.

Go to

16 May 2012

National volunteer week 14-20th May

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The theme for this year is ‘Volunteers- Every One Counts’. Volunteering Australia, the peak body for volunteering, says, “The theme sends a strong message to existing volunteers that they are valued and supports potential volunteers by reinforcing that every single volunteer makes an important contribution to the broader community. In fact, every one counts.”

This week is a time to say Thank You to all the volunteers who provide their time and energy to help others in their communities.

In Australia, over 6 million people volunteer in many areas of community service. They contribute their time in areas such as, community health care, heritage and arts, environment, conservation, emergency services, education, social justice, and sports.

In the area of parenting, there are organisations that provide volunteers to help with emotional and physical support.

Local libraries would not be able to provide story time if it wasn’t for volunteers.

See some inspirational people.

Australia requires volunteers for all facets of life, and the need is increasing each year. So, if you, or a family member, are considering volunteering then see the links below for areas of need.

09 May 2012

FOODcents week May 7th - 13th

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FOODcents is an education program to help families make healthier eating choices that will save money on their grocery bills.

This program has been running since 1995 and is supported by the WA Health Department and coordinated by the Cancer Council WA,

and Diabetes WA,

The average Australian family spends $1 out of every $3 of their food budget on take-away meals. However, the cost of one of these meals could buy enough groceries to make 2 or 3 home cooked meals.

FOODcents gives valuable information on:

Understanding nutrition and reading food labels

Cooking and food preparation safety

Buying tips, and how to get more for your dollar

Foodcents runs workshops as well as having a very informative web site:

02 May 2012

A taste of salt

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We are born with a liking for sweet and a dislike of sour, but salt preference is learnt.

Once babies and children start to eat food with added salt, they soon become ‘hooked’, as this taste preference is adopted very quickly. Although you may not add salt to their food when cooking, it is the salt found in processed foods and sauces, which gets them hooked on the taste.

Research shows that when babies are given food containing salt, such as crackers, processed foods, or salty spreads, they will develop a salt preference that continues into adulthood which may put their health at risk. Usually, these processed, salty foods are introduced at the time when more family food is being offered to the baby. Vegemite® on toast, crackers and cheese, processed cereals; all have a high salt content.

Unfortunately, once toddlers learn to prefer a saltier taste, they only want to eat these foods. From once enjoying chicken and vegetables, they will now only want sausages, ham, or a Vegemite® sandwich.

Enticing your child to eat healthier food by adding tomato sauce or other salty/sweet spreads or sauces, just maintains their salt preference and they will continue to be fussy with foods that do not have this flavour.

By reducing the amount of food with a high salt content offered to your child, their taste buds will soon adapt to non-salty flavours. Initially they may not like the change but persevere for the sake of their long-term health.

25 April 2012

Falls can be prevented

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Kidsafe WA’s Autumn Safety Campaign," Like Leaves, Kids Can Fall Easily” offers safety tips to prevent falls.

Babies under one year are at particular risk of falling out of prams, rockers, or off sofas or beds. Once babies learn to roll, and are able to kick and push, they are at more risk of falling. Never leave your baby unattended on furniture or raised surfaces.

When your baby is sitting in a high-chair, make sure you use a harness to strap them in. This also discourages them from standing up.

Baby-walkers on wheels are very dangerous as a baby can scoot around and put themselves at risk of falling down stairs or falling out of it onto a hard surface.

When your baby learns to roll or sit up, changing their nappy on the change table can be quite difficult. A one handed nappy change with the other holding your baby is often the safest option, or do it on the floor.

Obviously, older babies and toddlers need close supervision. Place safety gates across stairs to restrict entry until they are able to walk safely up and down them.

Ensure that furniture can't be used as a climbing frame, i.e., drawers left open. Large toys left in a cot could be used as a step causing your toddler to fall out of the cot. When a toddler tries to climb out of the cot, it is a good time to transfer them to a bed!

Always strap your child into the shopping trolley while out shopping.

For further information:

04 April 2012


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Easter and chocolate go hand in hand, but rest assured, chocolate isn’t all bad.

Chocolate makes us feel good as it stimulates serotonin and endorphins in the brain which gives us a happy glow. It can also make us feel calmer by reducing the amount of stress hormones released into our body.

In recent research findings:

  • Chocolate may help in the treatment of migraine.
  • Chocolate can lower blood pressure and therefore may reduce heart disease risk.
  • High insulin levels are reduced when eating dark chocolate, which is beneficial if you have diabetes and a benefit if you want to avoid it.

So, what type of chocolate is healthy and how much can we eat?

The health benefits of chocolate come from dark chocolate. This type of chocolate contains a higher percentage of cocoa which has flavonoids, a known antioxidant.

How much? Unfortunately, not too much. Even with all the health benefits of chocolate, it is still high in calories, so moderation is wise. Studies indicate eating about 30g is adequate.


We are off for the next 2 weeks; to eat some chocolate!!

Happy Easter to you all. We hope you all have an enjoyable and safe break.

28 March 2012

White rice

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More research findings are linking chronic diseases with dietary intake.

A recent study published in the BMJ (British Medical Journal), linked eating a diet high in white rice with an increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

"What we've found is, white rice is likely to increase the risk of Type 2 diabetes, especially at high consumption levels such as in Asian populations," says Qi Sun of the Harvard School of Public Health.

Your diet and lifestyle choices may have an adverse affect on your health and those of your children, but making small healthy changes can significantly improve it.

Type 2 is the most common form of diabetes, affecting 85-90% of all people with diabetes. While it usually affects older adults, increasing numbers of younger people, even children, are developing Type 2 diabetes. In Type 2 diabetes, the pancreas makes some insulin but not enough for the body requirements. Type 2 diabetes results from a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Although there is a strong genetic predisposition, the risk is greatly increased when associated with lifestyle factors such as high blood pressure, being overweight or obese, insufficient physical activity, and poor diet. Initially, Type 2 diabetes can often be managed with healthy eating and regular exercise. Eventually, most people with Type 2 diabetes will also need tablets and many will require insulin.

There is currently no cure for Type 2 diabetes.

One small change you can make is to eat brown rice instead of white rice or cook with different grains such quinoa. Compared to white rice, brown rice has more fibre, magnesium and vitamins, and a lower "glycaemic index," a measure of sugar content.

The ‘Babytastes’ book has recipes using quinoa and brown rice.

21 March 2012


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Reducing salt: preventing stroke has been selected as the 2012 theme because reducing the average daily salt intake to recommended levels would prevent thousands of strokes in Australia every year.

What is salt?

Salt is sodium chloride. Sodium is needed to balance body fluids, to aid nerve transmitters and help with the contraction and relaxation of muscles. These processes only need a small amount of sodium. The kidneys can excrete some excess sodium as urine. However, if sodium intake is too high, it starts to collect in the blood, as the kidneys aren’t able to eliminate excessive amounts of sodium. This causes fluid retention and increased blood pressure.

Worldwide research identifies the health risks associated with a high dietary salt intake, in particular the risk to children developing diseases later in life.

Australian adults eat an average of 9 grams of salt each day - much more salt than the 1 gram or so that we need, and far more than is healthy.

1. Less salt: Choose lower salt foods and ingredients, don't add salt at the table or during cooking and read the labels.

2. Lower blood pressure: Reduce your salt intake to lower your blood pressure and help prevent the rise in blood pressure that may occur with age.

3. Less risk of stroke: Reducing your blood pressure can lower your risk of having a stroke

13 March 2012


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People with coeliac disease react abnormally to foods containing gluten. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, barley and oats. This reaction causes the lining of the bowel to become inflamed and flattened, leading to gastro-intestinal and malabsorption problems.

Did you know that approximately 1 in 100 Australians have coeliac disease and 75% remain undiagnosed?

There are no typical symptoms in adults but extreme fatigue and lack of energy is a common complaint. People may suffer with abdominal bloating after eating foods with gluten. Some may experience headaches and joint pain or muscle cramps.

Infants and children with coeliac disease have symptoms affecting the digestive system. They include constipation, vomiting, chronic diarrhoea as well as abdominal pain and bloating. They may pass fatty, foul-smelling or pale stools. These babies and children tend to be more irritable, especially after eating foods containing gluten. Children with undiagnosed coeliac disease become malnourished and lose weight, as they are unable to absorb enough nutrients from their diet.

The exact cause of this health condition is unknown. Coeliac disease can occur at any age, from infancy to adulthood.

Once coeliac disease has been diagnosed, symptoms are improved by maintaining a gluten-free diet.

If you have any concerns please see your GP.

Coeliac Australia:  1300 990 273

07 March 2012


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International Women’s Day is celebrated around the world on March 8th. This is a global day where the economic, political and social achievements of women, past and present, are celebrated. In some countries, such as China, Russia, Vietnam, and Bulgaria, International Women's Day is a national holiday. America celebrates throughout March.

The first International Women’s day was held in 1911, as the Suffragettes fought for the right to vote. Despite the rights and well-being of women throughout the world having improved, there are still significant inequities to be redressed.

Do your bit to ensure that the future for our daughters is bright, equal, safe, and rewarding.

The Western Australian theme for International Women’s Day 2012 is “Women Changing the World.”

For further information on activities within the State, go to:

29 February 2012

Calcium: Is your child getting enough?

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We know that the early years of children’s development lay the foundations of their adult life. It is essential to ensure they have a balanced diet for a healthy body in adulthood.

Having a calcium-rich diet from infancy to teenage years is very important for strong bones and teeth as 99% of the body's calcium is laid in the bones during this time. Girls who do not have enough calcium in their diet during this important time will be at risk of developing osteoporosis in later years.

Bone calcium starts to lessen in adult bones, especially in women.

When toddlers go through their fussy eating stage, they may be at risk of not eating foods from all the foods groups.

It is important to know how much daily calcium they need:

Zero -1 year                 300- 550mg

Toddlers                       500mg

Children 4-7 years       700mg

Dairy products are the richest source of calcium. From 2 years, children can drink Hi-lo milk, which has higher calcium content.

Yogurt 240ml tub = 300mg

1 cup of milk, full fat = 300mg

1 cup Hi-Lo milk = 375mg

Slice of Cheddar Cheese (30g) =230mg

Some children don't like drinking or eating dairy foods. Try these calcium rich foods instead. Some breads have added calcium.

Add salmon (with bones) to sandwiches or pasta dishes, and green leafy vegetables as a side serve.

Salmon ½ cup+ bones =220mg

Spinach ½ cup = 38mg

Dried apricots 10 halves = 42mg

Orange = 35mg

Vitamin D is also required for calcium absorption. Therefore, get your children outside to play, remember to be sunsmart.

22 February 2012

Carry your baby safely

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There is nothing better than snuggling up to your baby or having them close to you. However, while carrying your baby in a sling or putting them in a hammock to sleep, be aware of the following safety advice.

Sadly, babies have suffocated while being carried in a sling. Babies, which are incorrectly positioned in them, are at most risk.

These positions are:

Babies lying with a curved back, with their chin resting on the chest. They look hunched up.

Those that lie face up against the sling fabric or the wearer’s body.

So when you are positioning your baby in their sling, ensure they have:

  • Their chin up and you can see all of their face.
  • Put your baby in an upright or slanted position, with their chin up and flat back. This also supports the head.
  • Make sure you can always see your baby’s face.

While you are carrying your baby in the sling, regularly check them, as sometimes they may be experiencing breathing difficulties without making any noise.

If your baby is agitated in the sling, take her out and then reposition.

When choosing a sling, it is always best to try out first.

Ask the shop assistant to demonstrate the correct positioning of a baby in the sling.

Babies less than 4 months of age, premature babies, or those with low birth weight appear to be at more risk when in slings, so always take advice from your GP or paediatrician.


There is no Australian standard covering the use and manufacture of hammocks for babies.

Again, when placing your baby to sleep in a hammock, ensure that the above guides for a safe position apply.

Babies sleeping in hammocks can be at risk of a falling injury. Don’t leave your baby unsupervised, as hammocks are not designed for safe infant sleeping.

For further information, and to download the Baby Slings Safety Alert, go to the SIDS and Kids website.

15 February 2012

Feeding your baby

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The introduction of solids to babies can be a confusing time for parents, even more so, if they’re undecided whether to start with pureed spoon food or baby-led weaning.

Baby-led weaning is offering your baby only finger foods. Most babies from 6 months are able to hold chunky finger food and take it to their mouths.

Research from the United Kingdom suggests that these babies regulate their food intake better which leads to a lower BMI (body mass index) as they grow older. These babies also showed a preference for carbohydrates rather than sweeter foods as compared to spoon-fed babies.

The other side of this debate is some babies may not receive enough nutrients, especially iron, as they may not have developed the fine motor skills to handle food properly, so a lot of the food ends up on the floor. Some babies start solids before 6 months, which would make baby-led weaning more difficult.

The draft NHMRC feeding guidelines recommend that spoon-feeding is introduced between 22 – 26 weeks, ensuring energy dense and iron rich foods are offered.

Often parents offer a combination of spoon and finger foods. Babies need to feel and play with their food as this gives them a sense of what it is like before it goes into their mouth.

Babies are able to regulate their own appetites. So when spoon-feeding, be guided by your baby. If he is losing interest in the food on offer, stop giving it to him, as he is indicating he has eaten enough.

Choose what will work best for your baby. If following baby-led weaning, ensure they are able to eat enough food from all food groups. Supervision is needed at all times while babies are feeding themselves, making sure that the foods given are not hard and easy to choke on. If you are just spoon-feeding, offer different textures and let them decide how much they want to eat.

Whatever way you decide to feed your baby, the most important factor is that by about 8 months they need to be eating a variety of foods from all the food groups, combining finger foods and finely chopped up nutritious meals enjoyed by all the family.

09 February 2012


Posted in Blog

During this month, there will be fund raising activities to support programs for women and families affected by ovarian cancer, to continue research and increase public awareness of the disease.

All women, regardless of age, need to be aware of the symptoms of OVARIAN CANCER. Although more common in women over the age of 50, it can occur in younger age groups.

The most common symptoms:

  • Abdominal or pelvic pain
  • Persistent abdominal bloating or an increase in abdominal size
  • Wanting to "wee" more frequently
  • Feeling full soon after eating or having difficulty eating

Other symptoms to note are:

  • Change in your normal bowel habits
  • Bleeding between periods or after menopause
  • Prolonged indigestion
  • Back pain
  • Feeling really tired for no good reason
  • Unexplained weight gain or loss

The cause of ovarian cancer is not fully understood but these risk factors may contribute to developing the cancer:

  • Age- women over 50 are more at risk
  • Hereditary- About 10% of women have a genetic risk of developing the disease
  • Smoking
  • Obesity and having a diet high in saturated fats
  • Pregnancy- having no, or a few, full term pregnancies
  • Contraception- never taking oral contraceptives

Look out for the TEAL green ribbon and other merchandise. You can buy online or at Chemmart Chemists.