Fifty Key Messages – Fun recipes to make together

(From Tusla’s Parenting24Seven website)

Check out some easy snacks to make with your child, Brown bread ice cream, sweet potato crisps and chunky oatmeal drops.

Remember these are treats so a little every now and then!

Brown bread ice cream

(Suitable for vegetarians) 

This ice-cream is a novel way of including wholegrain into your kid’s diet and giving them a treat too!


110g / 4 oz. of wholemeal breadcrumbs
110g / 4 oz. of dark brown sugar
2 medium eggs
290ml / ½ pint of double cream
150ml / 5½ fl oz. of single cream
2 drops of vanilla essence


  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C / 400°F / Gas mark 6
  2. Leave the breadcrumbs to dry out in the oven for around 15 minutes or so.
  3. Mix the sugar in with the breadcrumbs and bring back to the oven for another 15 minutes.
  4. Remove from the oven, allow the mix to cool.
  5. Crush the sweetened crumbs together with the back of a spoon.
  6. Separate the egg yolks from the whites.
  7. Beat the yolks and mix in with the cream and the crumb mix.
  8. Whisk the egg whites until they are slightly stiff.
  9. Fold the whites into the mix and freeze in an airtight plastic container

Serving Suggestions

Serve with some fresh or tinned fruit like strawberries or raspberries.

Disclaimer Click here for more details

Sweet potato crisps

(suitable for vegetarians)

Kids will love these and they make a great alternative to crisps for a Halloween party!


500g / 17½ oz. of sweet potatoes
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil


  1. Preheat oven to 180°C / 350°F / Gas mark 4.
  2. Peel a sweet potato and cut into very thin slices using a potato slicer or a sharp knife.
  3. Put the sweet potato slices in a bowl and add two tablespoons of vegetable oil.
  4. Get those little hands to mix the sweet potato slices and vegetable oil.
  5. Put tin-foil on the bottom of a baking tray and lay the sweet potato slices out on it.
  6. Roast in oven for 10 to 15 minutes until crispy and then serve

Serving Suggestions

Serve hot or cold. Add more flavour to your crisps by lightly sprinkling them with spices before placing in the oven.

Disclaimer Click here for more details

Chunky oatmeal drops

(Suitable for vegetarians)

These cookies contain no added sugar as the sweetness comes from all the fruit! They also contain lots of whole-grains that release their energy slowly.


180g / 6 oz. of oat flour
40g / 1.5 oz. of oats
30g / 1 oz. of whole wheat flour
65g / 2.5 oz. of pineapple juice
1½ teaspoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of salt
60g / 2 oz. of chopped walnuts
75g / 2.5 oz. of sultanas
2 tablespoons of water
1 teaspoon of vanilla essence
85g / 3 oz. of honey
165g / 8 oz. can of pineapple chunks, in own juice


  1. Preheat oven to 180ºC / 350ºF / Gas Mark 4.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, blend all the dry ingredients.
  3. In a separate bowl combine water, vanilla essence, honey and pineapple.
  4. Pour into the dry ingredients and stir.  Place spoonful’s onto a greased baking sheet.
  5. Cook for 10 to 12 minutes.
  6. Allow to cool on a wire rack

Serving Suggestions

This recipe works great with any type of fruit, dried or fresh, simply chop it up finely and add to the wet mixture before baking. Share these with friends to stop from munching on too many! Store in an airtight container.

Disclaimer Click here for more details

Source:  Safefood 

If you want to see more Key Messages check out

Buy Well, Be Well, Eat Well – How can I encourage healthy eating?

How can I encourage healthy eating?

Q. I know what my children should be eating, but my question is how do you actually get them to eat healthy foods? I have two boys aged two and five and though they are not the worst in what they eat, there is still a lot to be desired. For example, my five year old almost never eats the dinners we have as adults and his diet is restricted to mainly eating pasta and bread. He hates food that has ‘bits’ in it and will spit out anything he does not like. He does have the occasional apple (and this is the only fruit or vegetable he eats) and luckily he eats porridge in the morning with me. But apart from that he won’t eat any new foods I give him and it often ends up in a row. I would love him to eat more vegetables and to have dinners with us. What can we do?

A. Fostering healthy eating choices in children is a long-term project that can be marked by setbacks and frustrations. Frequently, young children can have a very limited range of preferred foods compared with adults. Like your own son, many children resist eating family dinners and instead want to eat only the foods they are familiar with – this is understandably frustrating for you as a parent. The good news is that there is a lot you can do as a parent to gradually expand a child’s food repertoire, though it does take patience and persistence.

Tune into your child’s eating habits and preferences

The first step is to observe closely and make an inventory of the amounts and types of foods your son eats. Frequently, although it might be restricted to certain foods, some children can have a relatively balanced and healthy diet that covers most of the food groups. As you describe, your son does currently eat a lot of healthy foods (such as apples, pasta and porridge). Secondly, it is important to try to understand the source of your child’s resistance to eating certain foods. Some children are averse to certain flavours or tastes but frequently children can be very sensitive to other aspects of food such as the texture, size, consistency and temperature. This may be the case with your son as he does not like the “bits” in some food. In addition, if a child has had a bad experience with a certain food, when they gagged or spat it out, this gives them negative associations that make it hard to try the food again.

Introduce new foods gradually to your son

The key to making progress is to start with food that your son likes and then to gradually expand these out to include new foods. Be extremely patient and positive when you introduce new foods and make sure to go at your son’s pace. You might expect him to tolerate only a small portion on his plate, before he smells it or tastes it (without putting it fully in his mouth), and so on. Though it is really hard, try to always be encouraging, positive and upbeat. The temptation is to criticise, cajole or even to force a child to eat but these are counter-productive strategies that can set you back (and can even invoke a “gag” response in your child). Instead, always focus on what your son is doing right, “you had a taste of that – well done” or to gently encourage him “well done, only one spoon to go”. Sometimes it is best not to mention the food at all and chat about other things as you eat. As he is five years old, it can be helpful to use rewards with him. For example, if he tries a new food (even one pea) he gets a star on a chart – the key thing is to get his co-operation rather than be fighting with him. Appreciate his efforts when he tries new foods and encourage him all the way.

Try to agree with your son about trying new foods

One advantage of him being five rather than a toddler is that you can reason with him and get his agreement and co-operation around healthy eating. Sit down with him at a good time and explain how important it is for him to eat nutritiously and how you only encourage him because you love him – you wouldn’t be a good parent if you didn’t. Listen carefully to his objections and preferences. Make a list of all the foods he knows and categorise them into “those he loves”, “those he thinks are okay” and “those he doesn’t like at the moment”. It can help to adopt an educational approach and even to fit in with what he is learning in school. For example, when his school is discussing the food pyramid, get him to select a couple of foods he likes from each level of the pyramid. Or when he is learning the importance of eating a “rainbow” of fruit and vegetables for better health, set him the challenge of eating a food from all the colours of the rainbow in one week.

Take the long-term view

When dealing with fussy eating, it is important to put things into perspective. The vast majority of children with restricted diets tend to grow up healthily and well. In the long term, fussy eating tends to fade and children change their eating habits at different developmental points (often influenced by peer groups when they start school or become adolescents). The key is to continue to gently encourage healthy eating choices while remaining patient and keeping things in perspective.

John Sharry, Irish Times Newspaper, November 19th 2013.

Source: Solution Talk

If you want to find out more about the key messages for you and your child just click

Buy Well, Be Well, Eat Well.

Tips for a healthy diet for you and your child

(from the Tusla parenting24seven website – link below)

Children form their eating habits from a young age, therefore, it is important to guide them in the right direction and give them an understanding of a balanced nutritional diet mixed with an active lifestyle.

There are many different websites and publications that can help you choose the best types of food for your child. But, there are a few things to remember:

  • A healthy balanced diet is important to ensure your child grows and develops to their full potential;
  • Healthy diets balanced with fun activities help strengthen their bones and muscles. It also helps brain development;
  • Make meals a family occasion where you all sit down and have a chat;
  • Try a variety of different food types, you would be surprised what your child likes;
  • Encourage your child to become involved in food preparation, this will support an interest in food as well as providing an opportunity to spend some time with your child;
  • Try and have a mix of vegetables, dairy, fruit and carbohydrates (like potatoes, pasta, etc.);
  • Avoid fast food and food high in sugar and fats;
  • Children should do at least 60 minutes of exercise a day and it doesn’t have to be done all at once;
  • Make exercise fun and join in where you can… it will help you too.
  • Do not force a particular food on a child, this will result in them never eating it and will probably make them ‘go off’ eating other food;
  • Children do not need the same amount of food as adults;
  • Try and limit the amount of treats given, treats should NOT be offered as a reward;
  • Offer water instead of fizzy drinks.

For more information, please click on the links below:,-Diet-and-Health/Life-Stages.aspx

If you want to find out more about key messages for you and your child click

Weaning – starting your baby on solid foods

Introducing your baby to solid foods is often called weaning. This should start when your baby is around 6 months old.


If you are breastfeeding, you don’t need to move to formula milk when introducing solid foods.

We recommend you breastfeed exclusively for 6 months. Continue to breastfeed after solid foods are introduced, up to 2 years or beyond.

When to begin weaning

Babies develop at different stages. Begin introducing solids when your baby is ready. This should be around 6 months. Don’t wean before 17 weeks (4 months).

Why wean between 17 to 26 weeks

You should not give your baby solid foods before 17 weeks because:

  • their kidneys are not mature enough to handle food and drinks other than milk
  • their digestive systems are not yet developed enough to cope with solid foods
  • breast milk or formula milk is all your baby needs until they are 6 months old
  • introducing other foods or fluids can displace the essential nutrients supplied by breast or formula milk
  • introducing solids too early can increase the risk of obesity in later life
  • it can increase their risk of allergy

You should not wait later than 26 weeks (6 months) because:

  • your baby’s energy needs can no longer be met by either breast milk or formula milk alone
  • iron stores from birth are used up by 6 months and their iron needs can no longer be met by milk alone
  • it delays their opportunity to learn important skills, including self-feeding
  • introducing different textures stimulates the development of muscles involved in speech

Signs your baby is ready for solid foods

Between 17 and 26 weeks (4 to 6 months), your baby may begin to show some signs they are ready for weaning. Your baby should show more than 1 of these signs before you think about introducing solid foods, especially if they are 17 weeks.

Signs your baby is ready for solid food:

  • Able to sit up with support and can control their head movements.
  • Not fully satisfied after a milk feed.
  • Demands feeds more frequently for over a week.
  • Shows an interest in food, reaches out for food.
  • Watches others with interest when they are eating.
  • Chews and dribbles more frequently.

These signs show that your baby is ready for you to begin introducing foods other than milk.

Some signs mistaken for a baby being ready for solid foods:

  • Chewing fists.
  • Waking in the night when they have previously slept through.
  • Wanting extra milk feeds now and then.

These are normal baby behaviours and not necessarily a sign of hunger or an interest in solid food.

Starting solid foods will not make your baby any more likely to sleep through the night. Sometimes a little extra milk will help until they are ready for solid food.

Weaning a premature baby

If your baby was born early (before 37 weeks) you should begin introducing foods other than milk sometime between ‘corrected age’ 4 and 6 months. Corrected age, or adjusted age, is your baby’s age minus the number of weeks or months they were born early.

It is important to look for the signs listed above that your baby may be ready for solids.

This information is taken from

Helping your child to eat healthily

To help your child to eat healthy, don’t force it.

The importance of breakfast

Make sure your child eats breakfast every day. It gives children energy that they need. Lead by example and make sure you eat a breakfast. Sit down with your child for breakfast as often as possible.

Other meals

Use children’s plates and bowls to give your child a small portion of food. Children’s appetite can increase according to your child’s growth. Do not try to over feed your child.

Tips to help your child eat healthily

Do not keep unhealthy snack foods such as biscuits and sweets in your house. Make healthy foods and choices available. For example, have a fruit bowl.

Let your child help you prepare food, it might encourage them to eat what they’ve made.

To help your child eat healthily:

  • don’t make big lifestyle changes, introduce new foods slowly without comment
  • don’t fuss about unhealthy food choices, focus on the healthier options
  • persist with changes, it may take several times to succeed
  • make fruit the snack of choice
  • avoid TV and phones when eating
  • introduce healthy swaps as a family such as changing from white bread to wholemeal bread
  • include vegetables at main meals and fruit at lunch
  • agree a day where everyone has a treat
  • choose milk and water as your drinks

Do not ban any foods outright, such as ice cream and sweets. A ban can make these foods more appealing.

Don’t make a fuss if your child eats sugary foods at a friend’s birthday party. It’s just a party treat.

The START website has meals, recipes, diaries, reward charts and advice to help parents encourage healthy eating and activity.


This was taken from the HSE website