Sleep is Really, Really Important!

canstockphoto15729484In a new journal article Alyssa Lundahl and Timothy Nelson look at how poor sleep quality and quantity affect the human drive to eat.

The take home message is if you don’t sleep well – try to get help as is has a big impact on your food choices in many ways.

Biologically, researchers have found that disrupted sleep can lead to a 20% increase in the amount of calories people eat and that portion sizes are bigger.  It appears that 2 hormones control most of this higher drive for food.  Lower levels of Leptin (tells our brain we how  satisfied we are with what we’ve eating) are found in stressed adults with disrupted sleep and higher levels of Grehlin (tells our brain we are hungry) occur.  This makes people look for more foods that are sweet, salty or starchy.  Researchers have found other hormones also are changed with poor sleep including cortisol, insulin, glucocorticoids and these also make us change our food choices.

If we don’t sleep well, our ability to think is reduced in several ways and can lead to adults and children eating more foods and for children looking for higher calorie snacks.  Poor sleep affects a part of the brain that helps us with goal directed behaviours and being able to moderate our impulses and emotions.  So it is harder to talk yourself into doing healthy goals like going for a walk, eating more vegetables and harder to say no to tempting higher calorie foods.  Another part of our brain is disturbed with poor sleep, making the brain want more rewards to pleasurable stimuli – so we want that pleasurable sensation from tasting of sweet or  fatty foods more than usual.

Poor sleep affects our emotions.  You are more likely to notice negative events and negative emotions and be emotionally distressed when you have slept poorly. I don’t think it would be a surprise to many people that when feeling negative emotions, adults and children tend to eat more foods. The changes in eating patterns are eating less fruit, vegetables and breakfast cereals and eating  more sugary or high fat foods.

The way humans behave is changed when sleep quality or quantity is poor.  Adults and children are more likely to behave impulsively and plan less when they are tired. So when you are tired it is harder to resist tempting foods if you have an impulsive personality and you will tend to eat more food then you may have wanted or planned to.

So if you are trying to make healthy eating or lifestyle changes, try to get enough undisturbed sleep so that you won’t have extra hormonal, thinking, behavioural and emotional challenges.

Regards and best wishes from sunny Brisbane,  Cathie Lowe Accredited Practising Dietitian

Journal Referance:

Alyssa Lundahl and Timothy D Nelson

Journal of Health Psychology June 2015 Vol 20 6 794-805

http://hpq.sagepub.com/content/20/6/794.full.pdf+html

Christmas Wishes from Dietitian Services Qld

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Wishing you and your family a peaceful and mindful Christmas.

Many years ago, I was at a family Christmas get together that was extremely emotional and stressful – family tensions were high, there were high expectations of what Christmas had to be as it might have been the ‘last’ Christmas for one of the family members.

After about 20 minutes of shoving Christmas nibbles into my mouth I realised I had been unconsciously or unmindfully eating to deal with the stress.  It was the liquorice lolly that I put in my mouth that made me realise what I was doing – as I really don’t like the taste of liquorice.  Yet I’d put it in my mouth because it was there and it was something to do!

So my first wish is that this Christmas Day is a peaceful one for you and your family.  If you know that there is no chance of that- then don’t forget that there are tips to cope and people that you can talk to such as Lifeline if it gets hard.

http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Christmas_can_be_stressful

My second wish is that everyone can have a mindful day – be able to enjoy the little things such as the taste of a really sweet cherry or a juicy ripe peach or a hug from a loved one or enjoying the warm sunshine on your skin or the cool water from the surf or a pool.  Be able to breathe slowly around any difficult emotions that arise and be able to let unhelpful thoughts  pass through your brain like clouds floating in the air. Enjoy some movement – playing backyard cricket, going for a post dinner stroll, have a swim.

As my clients know, my last wish is that you enjoy all the festive food that you really, really like on Christmas day but watch out for unmindful eating or you’ll end up eating liquorice!

Cathie Lowe.

Understanding Dementia Course

dementiaThis is just a quick plug for the University of Tasmania’s free online course on Understanding Dementia.  This is a great course for people that work in community care of nursing homes that work with people with dementia.  The next course starts in October 2014.

The link for more information is below:

www.utas.edu.au/wicking/understanding-dementia

Texture Modified Diets and Thickened Fluid Resources

When people have swallowing problems, a Speech Pathologist may recommend different textures of food (soft, minced moist, smooth puree) or thicknesses of fluids (mild, moderate, extremely thick).  Many people have difficulty preparing foods that look appetising with the change in texture.

I’ve included resources that I have found that may be useful for carers, nursing home staff and kitchen staff.

Education in Nutrition DVD Food and Nutrition Considerations in Dysphagia – presented by Janet Martin APD and author.  This DVD discusses the swallowing process, signs of swallowing problems, the different texture and fluid levels and how to prepare meals that are interesting and taste great. View information.

Janet Martin is the author of two recipes books for texture modified diets.  Good Looking, Easy Swallowing Recipe book is available from most book shops.

Her second recipe book is available through Nestle and is called A Kitchen Manual for Preparation of Modified Texture Diets and has recipes such as Chicken and Apricot Mousse Salad to get everyone thinking differently about puree foods!

For nursing homes and hospitals or for carers there is a poster of the different texture modified diets and thickened fluids if you follow the link below. View poster.

Healthy School Lunches

Examples of Breads dairy healthy lunches blog fruit and vegetables for health lunch blog protein healthy lunch blog vegies healthy lunch blog

 

 

One form of bread and cereal – bread, bread rolls, pita bread, tortillas, rice, pasta, crackers that don’t have heaps of salt, sushi

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Some dairy or soy alternative – cheese and yoghurt are the common options.  There are all sorts of cheese – cottage cheese, cheese sticks, chunks of cheddar.  Yoghurt can be purchased in big containers and then portioned out to suit your child in smaller lunch tubs.

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Fruit – seasonal fruit tastes the best.  Put fruit that easily gets squished into little containers to protect it.  Common fruit options include apples, bananas, grapes but depending on your child it could be strawberries, kiwifruit, stone fruit in summer, blueberries, pears, oranges and mandarins in winter.

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Protein – you may be limited with options if the school  is nut free.  Options include:  leftover roast meat, chicken, ham, tuna or salmon, hard boiled egg, baked beans, hommous, peanut butter (if allowed at school), cheese, cottage cheese

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One vegetable for munch and crunch time – carrot sticks, celery sticks, cucumber sticks, sliced capsicum, cherry tomatoes, lettuce or baby spinach leaves (its amazing how many kids will eat these), sliced radish

 

 

Healthy school lunch boxes vary depending on the child.  Some children like variety and the lunch box has to be swapped around every few days.  Other children will happily eat the same types of lunches week in, week out.

It is perfectly ok to send the same lunch every day if it is healthy (eg cheese sandwich, apple, carrot sticks).

The benefits of sending a healthy lunch box can be obvious – good concentration in class, plenty of energy and then the less obvious benefits such as teeth without fillings, kids that aren’t struggling with body weight issues.

The obvious problem is getting kids to eat the healthy foods!  Persevere, persevere, persevere – and if you still have troubles go and talk to an Accredited Practising Dietitian.

If you purchase fruit and vegetables in season you will only pay $2-4 per kg, if possible buy small pieces of fruit to reduce wastage.  For a giggle look at the cost per kg (not cost per 100g) of other common processed kid snacks.  Some of them are around $23/kg!

You will have other wise tips for fellow parents, feel free to post them on the blog.  Wishing you and your children a happy and stress free year at school.  Cathie Lowe

Should kids with Downs syndrome be on a multivitamin?

Many thanks to Danielle Voller for writing up this topic for me.  I was asked this question by a mum who had heard that Downs syndrome kids all needed to be taking zinc tablets.

Zinc plays a central role in the maintenance of the immune system, and is important for growth and development in children. Zinc is found naturally in foods such as red meat, poultry, fish/seafood, whole cereals and dairy food.

It has generally been thought that children with downs syndrome have lower levels of zinc than typically developing children, however this is yet to be scientifically proven.  A recent study measuring the nutrient requirements of  downs syndrome children (that were very overweight) , showed that the reported energy intake was restricted in these kids, meaning that the overall vitamin and mineral intake was low, which resulted in deficiencies. This specific study recommended a multivitamin and mineral supplement in these children with restricted diets.

One study showed a potential benefit in supplementing downs syndrome children with zinc, reporting improved immune function and accelerated growth, however another study showed no evidence to support the use of zinc supplement in downs syndrome children.

When searched in google, the majority of websites suggest that there is a need to supplement zinc in children with downs syndrome, as some of the problems associated with downs syndrome may be caused by the lack of zinc. Others suggest that long term, a healthy, nutritious diet will be most beneficial.

The bottom line is that it is important for your child to be having a balanced diet including a range of vitamins and minerals.  Based on the evidence at hand, zinc or multivitamin supplementation is not something that should be given to every child.  To ensure your child is receiving the best nutrition, visit your local Accredited Practising Dietitian to get some individual advice.

 

Mothers Day Breakfast

This blog was written by Danielle Voller APD who is working part-time with Dietitian Services Qld.

Mother’s Day is coming up soon, so why not treat mum to a healthy, delicious breakfast in bed!  We have come up with some yummy brekky ideas that are sure to give your mum a great start to the day, and are also healthy, which she will love!

Porridge with sliced banana and a sprinkle of cinnamon

Grilled ham, cheese and tomato on wholegrain toast

Poached egg, grilled shortcut bacon on wholegrain toast

Fruit salad with low fat yoghurt

Vegetarian breakfast – poached egg, grilled tomato, mushrooms, feta cheese and spinach on wholegrain toast

Poached egg with avocado and tomato on toast

If you need recipes, check out healthyfoodguide.com.au as this website had great recipes for:

Healthy breakfast slice

Ham and avocado omelette

Apple and spice porridge

Wishing all the mums a lovely day on Sunday.

 

 

Ecofriendly Food Challenge Week 2 – local seasonal fruit and vegetables

The challenge for the week was to look at whether I was buying seasonal fruit and vegetables and also how many miles away from home my food was travelling.  I think most people are aware that for the environment it is better to buy locally.

If you live in Queensland you can download the seasonal fruit and vegetable wheel from www.ecofriendlyfood.org.au to see what is in season.  (The state fruit and vegetable growers websites often have information on seasonal fruit and vegetables.)  When I had a look at the chart, most of the fruit and vegetables I buy are available locally and in season except carrots.  However, a lot of the food I was buying at the supermarket had travelled many ‘food miles’.  To get fresher local produce the food markets are the best option.  For time poor people like me, I discovered Food Connect and received my first box of fresh produce last Thursday.  You can definitely taste the difference with food picked the day before delivery.  Check out their website www.foodconnect.com.au for more information – they have systems in place for New South Wales and Queensland.  Another website is www.localharvest.org/csa  – you can plug in your post code and it tells you what farmers markets or locally produced food is available nearby.  Finally the last website that was interesting during this week’s challenge was www.lovefoodhatewaste.nsw.gov.au.  If you go to this website it has plenty of resources including a meal planner that helps you to plan your meals and prevent you from buying more food than you need for the week.

I do talks to groups about healthy eating on a food budget using the FoodCents information.  It is interesting to see that by purchasing seasonal fruit and vegetables locally you can keep to a budget easier and also be doing your bit for the environment.

Love to hear any tips or comments people have.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ecofriendly Food Challenge Week 1

Great ideas from other people trying the food challenge.  Our homework for week 1 was to try to reduce food waste going in to the landfill bin.

Some of the great ideas people came up with:

  • buy a Bokashi bin as you can put all kinds of scraps including meat into it
  • leave the green bags in the car so you don’t forget to take them to the supermarket
  • plan meals so that you don’t buy too much food – also saves money
  • purchase and use a compost bin
  • check out what items can be recycled – it’s amazing what can go in the recycling bin

Personally, I found that I could reduce my food scraps by using the compost bin and not getting lazy and just putting waste into the landfill bin, planning meals definitely helps reduce waste and I’m thinking about buying a Bokashi bin.

The ecofriendlyfood website is a great resource for practical ideas on being more enviromentally friendly.

Ecofriendlyfood Challenge

What can I do to be more eco-friendly?  There’s a great Qld site www.ecofriendlyfood.org.au that is about to run an ecofriendlyfood challenge and it’s not to late to join up and learn practical tips on being more eco-friendly.

If you would like to register go to https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/YPCLMYQ and receive a free resource kit.

My goal is to blog once a week about my experiences.  This week I’ve got to measure how full my wheelie bin is with food related waste.  I’d love to hear people’s comments if they try the challenge.