The Secret to Healthy Kids

The Secret to Healthy Kids

The Secret to Healthy Kids All Parents Should Know

+ How to empower kids to make healthy decisions printout


Imagine baking bread, but, you forget to add the flour?

It would be a bit of a flop.

Flour is the ingredient that is the crux of a tasty loaf of bread.

And there is a secret, no one talks about that is the crux of having a healthy, thriving kid. 

Do you want to know what it is?

The one thing above all else to concentrate on as a parent that would help your child be the healthiest they can be?

Take care of their Gut (and teach your child to take care of their Gut).

Your child’s gut is where 80% of their immune system lies (1). It is where hormones are made (2), it is where the outside world meets their inside world.

Without a healthy gut, you cannot have a healthy child.


In this blog, you will get an introduction to:

  1. Why Digestive Health Matters in Kids
  2. How your kid’s Microbiome affects their health
  3. How to empower your kids to make healthy choices 
  4. What foods Nourishes their gut and kid-friendly ways to get them into your child. 

AND a FREE HANDOUT is included… so keep reading. 


Why Digestive Health Matters in Kids

Gut. Aka, Microbiome, Microbiota, Digestive System or Colon. While all of these words have their own specific definition, for ease I will use these words to refer to the part of the large intestine where loads of bacteria are housed.

Your child’s microbiota is located at the end of their digestive system, in their large colon.

The microbiome refers to the millions of bacteria that live inside the digestive system.

We, as humans, have more bacteria cells in us than we do human cells.

Lots more.

Look at your hand… If your hand represented how many bacteria and human cells you have in your body combined, the area of your pinky is human, and the rest of your hand is bacteria.

If I compared you to me,  99.9% of our genetic material is exactly the same… but our microbiome is probably 99.9% different.

Our differences, the difference between a constantly sick child and a thriving child has more to do what is in ones microbiome than a genetic difference.


Ok, I know what your thinking…

Isn’t bacteria bad?

That’s why we sterilise all our baby toys, why we wash our hands with antibacterial soap and why we take antibiotics when we are sick…

It was once thought we were doing good by living in a bacteria-free world… but time for an upgrade in our thinking…

Not all bacteria are bad… you would be very sick if you didn’t have any bacteria.

Your child needs bacteria not only to thrive but to survive.

Learning to take care of these bacteria located in the Gut will help your child be the healthiest they can be.

I like to think of them as a pet that lives inside me. In our house, we call them ‘gutties’. I have taught my kids that they need to take care of their gutties if they want to stay healthy – below I’ll show you how to do the same for your kids.


How Micbotiotia an Affect Your Kids Health

Our understanding of how these little guys affect us is growing daily. What we know,  as of today is;

Gutties are involved in:

  • Gut maturation
  • Education of the immune system
  • Protection against harmful virus and bacteria
  • Influencing brain activity
  • Affecting metabolism
  • Absorption of vitamins and minerals

What this means for your growing child is that their microbiome (Gut) can influence:

  • Your child’s life-long health
  • Your child’s risk of food allergies and autoimmune disease
  • How often they get sick
  • Your child’s risk of developing obesity, heart disease & cancer later in life
  • Your child’s behaviour
  • Your child’s cognitive development (IQ)
  • Your child’s energy levels

This list will keep getting longer with more research.

So, if you want to have thriving, healthy kids…

Then the way to those healthy kids is through their Gut. Teaching your kids to take care of their gutties is a gift that keeps giving.


How to Empower Kids to Make Healthy Choices

To help kids understand something it is easier for them if they can ‘see’ it.

Below is how to explain microbiome (or ‘gutties’ as we call them in our house) to kids.

Explain the below to your kids, then, during dinner concentrate on how feeding gutties with food ‘tastes amazing.’  These two strategies are magical ingredients when empowering kids to make healthy choices for themselves.

(Please excuse my drawings, it’s a skill I am working on!)

Below is a printable version… Feel free to print it out and if you want to share it on your social media feel free… the more parents explaining this to kids, the more empowered generation we will have.

Note: The whole point of explaining this to kids is so that you put the idea in their heads that when they eat they are not only eating for themselves, but for their ‘pet’… their “gutties”. 

Get FREE Printouts of the list of foods that are good for gutties AND  kid-friendly ideas to serve it.


The best way to look after ‘gutties’ is with diet.

It only takes 24 hours of eating a better diet for your child’s microbiome to change.

So read the list below and start making plans of how you can get foods good for gutties into your kid’s diet…

And remember, changing diet is not an overnight process… small sustained changes over time makes huge gains.

Is your Child in their first 1,000 days?

During your child first 1,000 days their gut is maturing. The more you can do to feed their gutties either through breastmilk or feeding their gutties when you introduce solids and beyond, the better they will be off when they grow up.

Sign up to my FIRST foods free email course if your in the introducing foods stage.

Also as a life-style hint, let you baby play in sand and dirt, adpot a dog. A little dirt is perfect for your child’s developing gut.

What Food Nourishes Gutties?

When it comes to encouraging people to change their diet, I am a big fan of ‘adding in’ rather than taking out.

So, concentrate on the three general food groups that nourish gutties. By eating more of these foods, you will crowd out the other foods that do not nourish gutties.

The three groups are Soluble fibre, Pre-biotics Foods and Probiotic foods.

Want a quick way to help gutties flourish?

If it gets too overwhelming of what specific foods to eat… then the quick way is to think unrefined plant base diversity (aka as many different plants as possible) – we often count how many unrefined plant-based foods we have eaten in a day. It has been a great way for my kids to ‘try’ the new food on their plates. 

Foods High in Soluble Fibre

Some of the top soluble fibre foods include raw oats, lentils, beans, avocados, kumara (sweet potato), broccoli, pears, pumpkin, spinach, carrots and apples, broccoli, pears, flaxseed and sunflower.


Soluble Fibre Foods for Kids?

To add more fibre to your family’s diet, try Bircher muesli made with kefir for breakfast. Or when you do you next Lasagne or Chili, swap ½ the mince for lentils — snack on carrots with hummus or fruit instead of crackers & muesli bars. Small changes can make a big difference.

You can also use smoothies to your advantage, make the base either kefir or coconut water and add in greenish banana and or berries to help make it palatable for your kids then put some spinach and ground flaxseeds. It’s a fun way to feed their gutties while feeding themselves while eating a diversity of plant-based foods.


Foods High in Prebiotics 

Prebiotic foods feed your microbiome.  It’s like putting fertilizer on a plant. These foods will help your microbiota to thrive.  Foods high in prebiotics include garlic, onions, leek, green banana’s, apple, seaweed,  sweet potato, asparagus, almonds, cinnamon and turmeric.


Pre-biotic foods for Kids?

To add more of these to your family’s diet try blending onions or leeks into your next meal – kids sometimes can take a bit to enjoy the texture of onions, so blend them up instead. The more they have meals with onion and garlic blended in, the more your kids will be exposed to this food and therefore the more likely they will willingly to accept onions not blended down the track.

For lunch, you can make some rice balls that they can wrap with the small packets of seaweed. The cooked and cooled rice and seaweed is a double whammy of goodness for your little one’s gutties.


Note: make sure the seaweed is made with olive oil and not canola or sunflower oil.

Foods High in Probiotics

Probiotic foods are foods that contain live bacteria. These bacteria will enhance your child’s microbiome. Foods that are fermented, cultured or Lacto-fermented all have live bacteria. Specific foods include fermented vegetables, cultured dairy and some Japanese favourites.


Probiotic Foods for Kids?

Cultured (fermented) vegetables:

Any vegetables… Sauerkraut, fermented kumara & kimchi are a few that can be made kid-friendly.

If I had a magic wand that granted every parent the ability to make one recipe, do you know what that recipe would be?


This recipe is the kid-friendly version that after a bit of training their taste buds, your kids will love eating. Sauerkraut is the one constant in my kid’s lunch box; they love teaching their class-mates and teachers about sauerkraut.

For more ideas of how to introduce Fermented Foods to kids check out this guest blog.

Fermented Dairy:

Kefir and natural yoghurts. You can buy both of these at the supermarket – make sure they are not loaded with sugars or sweeteners – even better is if they have been cultured rather than yoghurt with live cultures added in at the end.

If in doubt, go for the natural, no added sugar/sweetener varieties.

Smoothies are great ways to get this probiotic into your kid’s diet – for a simple recipe blend 1 cup of kefir with ½ banana, add in a pinch of cinnamon or a dash of vanilla and you have an easy banana milkshake kids will love.  (if the bananas are green then this will add a good dose of prebiotics as well!)


Japanese Favourites:

Miso and natto, two popular foods.

Are you getting sushi for lunch? Order a miso soup to go with it. Natto is more of an acquired taste, but with some taste, training is an excellent way to start the day.

Get FREE Printouts of the list of foods that are good for gutties AND  kid-friendly ideas to serve it.

Taking care of gutties and feeding you kids foods that nourish their gutties will be of massive benefit for your kids, both for now but also their life-long health.

So get on it today… I love the saying 

Either easy now, hard later on or a challenge now and easier later on.


Overview of The Secret to Healthy Kids

Gut health is the crux of health, like flour, is the crux of bread.

If you want to have a healthy child but it seems like there are 101 things you could be doing… Stop.

Just do one thing…

Concentrate on feeding your kids gutties with soluble fibre rich foods as well as pre and probiotic-rich foods. If you teach them that they have a pet inside them called gutties that will help them flourish, even better.

Feeling overwhelmed?

Pick on thing to do, get ingredients to have a smoothie as a snack this week, try Bircher muesli, throw away the cracker and chips as snacks and replace it with fruit or even start experimenting with your family “vegetable sides” at dinner times.

Just do one thing until that is your family’s new normal and build from there.

If you’re overwhelmed because you cannot remember what specific foods are good for gutties… Just think plant-based foods that are unrefined: vegetables, fruits, beans, lentils, whole grains AND think as many varieties as possible… so start again with one meal or one food which you d0n’t normally cook and go from there. 


So, if you want healthy kids?


Feed yourself, Feed your Gutties.  And teach them to feed their gutties while you’re at it.

What food or recipe will you introduce to your kids today or tomorrow?



The Secret to Healthy Kids

+ How to empower kids to make healthy decisions printout


7 Reasons your child refuses to eat anything

7 Reasons your child refuses to eat anything

Is Your Toddler Refusing to Eat?

7 Reasons your child refuses to eat anything

Susie came to me when her child refused to eat anything.

James had been a good eater as a baby. Eating lots of variety of home-made baby foods, from pumpkin puree to liver puree.

Then it all changed.

He knew what he wanted to eat and no matter how much persuasion on Susie’s part, James would keep his lips seal shut.

Susie was frustrated, deflated and tired of wasting time serving James good food.

Sound familiar?

All the best plans can go out the window when babies grow into toddlers with a mind of their own.

The picky eater stage, although can be a stage can last for a lot longer than needed if it’s not addressed.

The first part of addressing when your child refuses to eat is identifying if there is an underlying cause to your picky toddler.

Why is my Toddler refusing to Eat?

The Underlying causes

Toddlers can refuse to eat for a variety of reasons.

If your toddler was eating yesterday but is not today, then they may be coming down with a sickness. Concentrate on keeping your little one hydrated and if they are still not eating in a day or so, see a doctor.


If your toddler is eating, but nothing that you consider healthy then there may be a few reasons behind their refusal.

1. Strong-willed Child

Imagine having an adult child who stood up to the bully, who was driven and didn’t take no for an answer, who changed the world…

How proud would you be as a parent?

The qualities we can for our children to have as adults are also the very qualities that frustrate the heck out of us as parents.

Imagine what it would be like to be told, what to wear, where to go, when to go to sleep, when to go to the toilet and what to eat.

That is a child’s world.

And the strong-willed toddlers of this world will rally against that in anyway they can. What food passes their lips is one way they can try control their world.

Start with the expectation that your child will eat but let go of the outcome.

Involve your strong-willed child into meal times. Provide them with boundaries but give them a choice. Cook with them. Garden with them. Let them choose the vegetables at the supermarket.

Work with their strong-will rather than fighting against it.


2. Slow digestion (Gastroparesis)

Does your child prefer smaller meals? Maybe even liquid meals such as smoothies.

Does your toddler refuse foods that are higher fat or higher fibre foods?

If you answered yes to two of the above questions, your child may have a slower digestion rate. Meaning the food takes longer to travel through your little one’s digestive system. This can be super uncomfortable for your little one, so no wonder they are refusing to eat.

There are a number of things you can do to help your toddler through this from providing small, softer meals to having their main meal earlier on in the day (so it doesn’t affect their sleep). If you want a personalised plan then make sure you check out my Picky Eater Reboot one on one – We can get really specific to help your toddler get the best nutrition while making it easier on their digestive system.

Want to raise an Adventurous Eaters?

Get 10 bite-sized easy to digest emails and discover the foundations to Adventurous Eaters.

    3. Hypersensitive or Sensory Toddlers

    Does your child struggle with some textures? Possibly gagging at first bite or even sight?

    A toddler who is picky because they’re sensory will also have other cues in their life such as being annoyed at the seams in their socks and particular about what type of clothes they wear.

    It requires work to help your hypersensitive toddler to eat healthily. But it can be done. Taste and texture can be changed to suit your toddler with the aim of gradually introducing different textures.

    Slowly and gradually is the way forward here, with the aim of desensitizing your child to the textures they find troublesome.

    After having a sensory toddler myself I have developed a few tricks to changing foods textures and mitigating strong tastes. Learn more with the Picky Eater Reboot.

    4. Oral Development

    Did you baby have a tongue tie?

    Did your child skip the put-everything-in-the-mouth stage?

    Was your toddler eating puree foods as most of the past 10 months of age?

    When your toddler was a baby, did they have lots of baby-food pouches?

    A baby first learns to suck, then swallow, then they learn to chew.

    Skip any one of these steps and when your toddler tries to move foods like a chicken around in their mouth, they will find it difficult. So the food is spat out or gagged on.

    If this sounds like your child then you will want to start exercising your toddler’s mouth muscles by using a straw to drink of out (get rid of the sippy cup if your toddler still has one), humming, using a vibrating toothbrush or blowing bubbles. Here are some more fun exercises from this blog.


    5. Childhood nutritional deficiencies

    Is your child tired all the time?

    Do they have a poor appetite or do they have brittle hair, nails (often with white spots or ridged)?

    Nutritional deficiencies could be the cause of your child refusing to eat. This is a difficult one to get around because they have a low appetite they will not want to eat much – so the things they do eat need to be of high quality. But that can be easier said than done in toddlers.

    So what to do? 

    The first thing is to make each meal they have as high quality as possible… if your toddler is eating oatmeal at breakfast, mix some ground flaxseed or pumpkin seeds into it. Try Smoothies but add in extra nutrients such as a pre-biotic powder, ground seeds or even a little spinach. If this is not working for you and your child see a doctor or nutritionist about getting a multi-vitamin to boost them in the meantime while working on boosting their nutrition via whole-foods.

    If this is your child, be mindful that the more typical ‘child-food’ is not a good source of nutrients… so even though they will be getting more food… it is not going to help them gain more energy.

    6. Toddlers Gut Health

    Has you’re child recently had antibiotics and now refuses to eat?

    Did or does your toddler suffer from eczema?

    Does your toddler only like bland foods?

    If so, your toddler’s gut microbiome may be the reason they refuse to eat anything.

    Your toddler’s gut microbiome was seeded at birth and there is a number of things that can impact if from antibiotics to their diet.

    Changes in your toddlers gut health can affect what they choose to eat. There are plenty of things you can do as a parent to help their gut health, from baking with gut-friendly ingredients like these healthy chocolate chip cookies, to training taste buds to eat fermented foods like sauerkraut to making sure their Vitamin D is optimal.

    Optimizing kids gut health is one of my passions in life. A bit geeky, I know. But the gift that a healthy gut offers a person is life-changing.

    7. Sweetened Taste Buds

    The more you have the more you want. Taste buds are trained. And if your toddler is mainly eating sweetened foods, that is not only what they will crave. And, your toddler will have desensitization to sweet food as well as a sensitive palate to sour and bitter foods.

    That broccoli will taste horrendously yuck to them.

    So if your toddler is refusing all things veggie and will only eat refined, sweeter foods – their taste buds need a reboot.

    There are lots of ways to train your kids taste-buds, but you will need to put in the effort.

    Changing up breakfast is a game-changer for some parents as to when we start the day on sweet foods, we will likely crave that food all day. So simply changing breakfast can set your toddler up for less sweet cravings during the day.

    Check out my Picky-Eater Reboot for more ways to train your kids taste-buds.

    The overview of Why your Toddler is refusing to eat

    The picky eater stage, although can be a stage can last for a lot longer than needed if it’s not addressed.  If your child is refusing to eat anything then check to see if they have any of these underlying reasons.


    1. The Strong-willed Child
    2. Slow digestion (gastroparesis)
    3. Hypersensitive or sensory child
    4. Oral development
    5. Nutritional deficiencies
    6. Gut Health
    7. Sweetened taste buds

    Then make a plan going forward. And little by little your picky eater will be eating trying new vegetables like sauerkraut and Sweet Potato before they are even asked to.

    Want to raise an Adventurous Eaters?

    Get 10 bite-sized easy to digest emails and discover the foundations to Adventurous Eaters.

      7 Reasons Your Child Refuses To Eat Anything

      Baby Health Tips

      Baby Health Tips

      Baby Health Tips


      How to Raise A Healthy Child: from New-born to Toddler

      Imagine raising a baby with eczema-free skin, no food allergies and little or no ear infections.

      Imagine that baby being a toddler who stays healthy even after starting pre-school.

      Imagine a child that is fit, active and doesn’t get the snuffles their classmates get.

      Good health and a strong immune system are not for the lucky few. Good health is within every baby and child’s grasp.

      And, to make it easier for you as a parent… there is a secret.  Focus on one key aspect and health will follow..

      What is that one key focus?

      Gut Health for Kids.

      The Best Baby Health Tip you will Get

      Imagine a thriving garden. Lots of beautifully scented flowers – roses, tulips and sunflowers; flourishing vegetables – cauliflower, broccoli and tomatoes.

      What is the foundation of that thriving garden?

      The soil.

      And, without the right soil, you could plant a 1000 flowers or 2000 vegetables, but none of them would grow.

      It’s the work a gardener puts into the soil that enables the garden to flourish and thrive.

      So, like the soil is the foundation of a thriving garden – Gut health is the foundation of a baby’s health, both now and in their future.


      NOTE: if you are wondering what this means for you if you have health issues… I think health similar to being dealt a hand of cards.  You have got your cards, nothing you can do to change that… BUT, you want to play one heck of a hand. Eating well, sleeping and moving the pillars to play that hand of cards well.


      A Baby’s Gut Development –
      the secret to long-term health

      In your baby’s first 1,000 days their gut is still maturing.

      Think of this time as the time a gardener puts into the soil. If a gardener puts effort into making that soil the healthiest it can be, when they eventually plant a seedling – that seedling will thrive with a little sun and rain. If a gardener doesn’t spend any time nurturing that soil, after planting their seedlings they will have to put sprays and insect controls to help keep that plant growing.
      When you nurture your baby’s gut development in their 1st 1,000 days they will thrive and flourish – they will be ‘those kids who never get sick’.

      Why are your baby’s 1st 1,000 days important?

      This is the window when your baby’s gut lining and gut bacteria balance is developing.  Reaching maturity around their 3rd birthday.

      After age three, your little one’s gut bacteria becomes stable. 

      Their quality of life will be affected by what bacteria they are exposed to, or,  not exposed to in their first 1,000 days.

      Gut bacteria balance is one piece of the puzzle linked to childhood and adult diseases.

      Early good bacteria exposure playing a role in three main areas of development. Digestive, Immune and Brain development.


      1. Digestion and metabolism

      Gut bacteria play a key role in normal bone, growth and body development.

      Meaning, what happens now in their gut will play a role in your baby’s

      • body shape – their risk of developing obesity in childhood or later.
      • development of strong bones… or not.
      • ability to absorb nutrients from foods, or not.
      • growth, or lack of growth


      2. Immune System

      Gut bacteria play a key role in training your little one’s immune system. This will then affect their short term and long-term health.

      Meaning, what happens now in their gut will play a role in

      • How sick they are as a baby and child. From food allergies, skin rashes such as eczema, to ear infections and ‘acute sickness’.
      • How sick they will be as an adult. With gut bacteria being a piece of a puzzle in the formation of adult diseases such as autoimmune, diabetes, obesity, cancer, even heart disease


      3. Brain and Neurological development

      Gut bacteria play a key role in not only their mood but how they react to life situations.

      Meaning, what happens now in their gut will play a role in

      • Your baby’s temperament.
      • Your child’s behaviour and ability to throw tantrums.
      • Your precious one’s moods, from depression to anxiety (now and later on)
      • Your little one’s ability to concentrate, learning now and later when in school.


      Take a pause for all of that to sink in.

      Overwhelmed? I was when this was brought to my attention.

      But…  there are some simple things that can be done.

      7 Baby Health Tips


      1. Your health during pregnancy
      2. Mode of delivery
      3. Breastfeeding
      4. Antibiotic exposure
      5. Diet
      6. Lifestyle

      These topics will be covered more in part II of this blog…

      So make sure you check out part II where you will learn more specifics in how you as a parent or parent to be can maximise this window.

      1. HealthIER at Conception

      The best gift you can give your future children is to be in the best health possible your-self before being pregnant or during pregnancy.

      Fathers-to-be take note as well. A dad’s health at conception plays a role in how healthy that child will be.


      If you’re wanting to be pregnant soon or you are pregnant now – Be the best health you can be.

      This will be different for everyone as your microbiome was laid down years ago.

      But, all is not lost.

      Health is not all or nothing. There are varying levels of ‘fitness’.  I can be fitter than I am, just like I can eat healthier than I do right now… doesn’t make me not fit or not healthy.

      Become a healthier, (emphasis on health-IER) version of yourself.

      Start today by looking at your diet, or maybe it’s more fresh air and movement you need?

      Small steps count, when becoming healthIER.

      If you’re having five coffee’s a day – try for one less a day.

      Is it easy to add in a vegetable or two for breakfast?

      Snack on fruit rather than the bakery twice a week.

      Invest in a fun drink bottle and leave that in your car or at your desk, to help your drink more water

      Find one small thing you can do today or this week and start there. Once that is down as your new habit… choose another

      If you’re relatively healthy, do yourself a favour and introduce foods that will be good for your gut…

      Pre-biotic and Pro-biotic foods

      Download mazing-microbiome-foods list and eat foods which will help you to get your gut in a better shape… This will be helping your baby or baby-to-be.


      Also, make sure you are eating plenty of insoluble-fibre rich foods:

      The easiest way is to base your meals around vegetables… all meals, even breakfast.

      Don’t go past making small changes. They add up.

      Again, to let it sink in…

      What is one step can you do today to become healthier?

      2. HealthIER During Pregnancy

      “You can eat what you want your pregnant”.

      Over four pregnancies this has been said to me too many times to count

      If you concentrate just on weight, I can see how one could think this.

      But, health is more than weight.. Especially when pregnant.

      If you are pregnant or will be in the future, think of pregnancy as the one time when what you eat will play a HUGE role in your little-one-to-be health at birth and health when they are an adult.

      So, if you are pregnant right now become a healthIER version of yourself day by day.  Even if it is getting more fresh air. Your baby’s health will benefit enormously.


      3. Mode of Delivery

      Nature didn’t get it wrong.

      When a baby comes down the birth canal they get a huge dose of beneficial bacteria. From both the birth canal and the door next to the birth canal.

      The differences in the microbiome of infants born via C-section v’s birth canals is huge.

      So, if you are going to choose, the best start is coming down the tunnel nature intended.


      Sometimes you don’t get to choose.

      Or, sometimes a previous birth has left you in a state of shock when thinking about labour and a C-section feels like the safest option.

      If you are planning a C-Section or have to have one after being in labour… this happens, the best thing you can do is ‘Seed’ your baby.  This requires taking swabs from your vagina and rubbing in on your baby’s skin.

      Sounds gross.

      But, get your head around it.

      It will help your baby and their future health.

      As part of your birth plan make sure your midwife, partner and or doctor knows that you want this done.

      A heads-up.  This is relatively new, so don’t expect your doctor or midwife to know about Seeding. It may be your job to help teach them how ‘beneficial’ it is.


      4. Breastfeeding


      Stumbling on an elixir that would guarantee better life-long health. You would drink it, right? You would possibly cross over the mountains to get it?

      Exclusively breastfeeding for 6months is that elixir for babies.

      Breastmilk is teaming with HMO; Human Milk Oligosaccharides. These little gems cannot be replicated by science and are essential to providing your little one with a healthy start to their beneficial bacteria and gut health.

      HMO are not digested by your baby, they are digested by your little one’s bacteria.  HMO feed their beneficial bacteria.

      Breastmilk is the only food specifically designed for your baby’s growth and development.


      5. Antibiotics


      A luscious, dense Amazon Rain-Forrest – teaming with life.

      Now, image

      That same Rain-Forrest just destroyed by a fire.

      This is what antibiotics do.

      Antibiotics, the microbiome destroyer. Antibiotics mean against life and it’s not just the bad bacteria they kill.

      In this time right now – if your pregnant, just had a baby or have a toddler, taking or giving your little one antibiotics will change the landscape of their gut. The effects last for years. Like the re-generation after a fire in the Amazon.

      Even longer, if you are in the time when their gut or ecosystem is developing.

      It seems senseless to me to destroy this crucial balance when your little one has an ear infection that ‘may’ be caused by bacteria.

      Always question your doctor about giving antibiotics.  Yes, they are life-saving.. but quite often they are given when a baby’s life is not on the brink.

      As of writing this, I have not had antibiotics in 15 years and 10 into parenting – none of my children have ever had any antibiotics.

      Antibiotics are overprescribed and unfortunately their effects last years – maybe even a lifetime.


      6. Diet

      Are you pregnant, or breastfeeding or is your little one under 3?  The food you and your little one is eating is seeding their gut right now.

      What can you do?

      If your Pregnant or breastfeeding…

      Increase your prebiotic & probiotic foods as well as fibre from vegetables.   Download mazing-microbiome-foods list if you have not already and incorporate more of these foods into your diet.


      Is your Baby is 9 months or younger?

      If you have just started your little one on solids or will do soon? Sign up for F.I.R.S.T foods email course. F in F.I.R.S.T foods is Feeding Beneficial bacteria.


      Is you Baby is 1-3 years old?

      If you have a young one right now, diet is important and there are two key areas in good beneficial bacteria boosting foods:

      • Probiotics: teaching your kids to love fermented foods such as sauerkraut is huge. To help my kids accept this food as a ‘normal’ food, we played the ‘who can keep a straight face’ (no screwed up sour faces) when eating sauerkraut. If you are new to fermented foods, you train your taste buds for it too.
      • Prebiotics and Fibre: Meaning vegetables, vegetable and more vegetables.


      If you’re struggling with getting your kids to eat any sort of vegetables you may have to read Healthy Little Eaters first. Start with their relationship to food first, so they love eating healthy food.


      This will not only seed their beneficial bacteria, maximizing this window…

      But, will keep them healthy.


      7. Lifestyle

      I can still feel the angst in my heart when I think about going to that playgroup

      I was living in Canada.

      Once a week I would take Rocket and Eckhart who were 2 ½ years old and 8 months at that time to a playgroup.

      Walking in we were directed to the line where all kids, parents and babies had to wash their hand with antibacterial soap.

      If your child popped outside to play when they came back inside.

      Back in line. Washing hands.

      Before snack.

      Bank in line. Washing hands.

      After a snack.

      Back in line. Washing hands.

      Oh, and if Eckhart, put a toy remotely close to her mouth, it would go into a big bucket to be sterilised.

      Yes, then I would be…

      You guessed it.

      Back in line. Washing hands.

      Becoming so preoccupied with bad bacteria aka germs, we have lost the perspective of why we are keeping clean for.

      For health.

      Why a dirty baby, maybe a Healthier baby.?

      Dirt may be a good thing when it comes to life-long health.

      Babies who have a pet at home or were raised on a farm and able to dig in the dirt, possible eating a spoon or two have a different bacteria than those who were raised with everything that was spick-n-span with no germs allowed.

      And, they are healthier.

      Stop waging war on bacteria

      Yes, they can make your child sick,

      But, bacteria can also make your child healthy.

      It’s all a balance

      Let your little ones play in the garden dirt or sand at a beach, if they get some in their mouths… no worries.

      Teach them to wash their hands after using the toilet.

      If your baby has a pacifier, instead of ‘sterilizing’ it, suck it.  This helps seed their gut.

      Use your ‘gut instinct’ when allowing them to get dirty.

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      Maximise this ‘window’ your baby or young one is going through.

      The time when you are pregnant plus their first 1,000 days is when your little one’s microbiome is developing reaching maturity around 3years of age.


      Overview of Baby Health Tips

      • You and your partner be the healthiest version of yourself, before trying for a baby.
      • Aim to be HealthIER one day at a time when pregnant & or breastfeeding,
      • Have a back-up of ‘Seeding’ if you end up having a C-Section
      • Make breastfeeding a priority
      • Feed beneficial bacteria in your baby’s first foods
      • Teach your toddler to love fermented foods and pre-biotic foods
      • Take antibiotics only when absolutely needed
      • Let your baby get dirty

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      Fermented Carrots

      Fermented Carrots

      Fermented Carrots

      About Fermented Carrots Recipe

      Carrots are great by themselves but fermenting carrots adds an extra kick.

      There are three things you need to know about carrots.

      1) High in Vitamin A which is key for keeping your kid’s immunity up and them well and at school/day-care.

      2) High in magnesium, key for their sleep  AND building strong bones

      3) High in fibre. A great way to feed gutties.

      Fermenting carrots gives them extra nutrients with probiotics – a game-changer to your and your kid’s immunity.

      Instead of an apple a day, it will be a fermented carrot a day, keeps the doctor away.

      “Try it” Tip?

      Simply cutting veggies in different shapes or serving them in different sizes can make a big difference in kids motivation to ‘try’. What shape would your kids like?  any shape will ferment well in thir recipe, even grated (just use salt to bring the water out of grated carrots, no ‘brine’ necessary)


      • 3 Large Carrots, peeled in not organic and cut into any shape

      • 3 tsp of freshly cut dill. (you can use any herb or spice here – coriander and ginger are also favourite in our house)

      • Culture starter or Whey

      • 2 tsp Himalayan salt

      • Filtered water (enough to submerge carrots)

      Step by Step Instructions

      Step 1

      Peel the Carrots if not organic and cut into sticks or chunks.

      Step 2

      Place in Sterilized mason jar.

      Step 3

      Combine salt, dill, 1/2 cup of water and culture starter or whey in a blender and blend for 20sec.

      Step 4

      Pour over the brine (dill/salt water) over the carrots. Add more water to make sure all carrots can be submerged under water. 

      Step 5

      Weigh down carrots with either a stone weight, 1/2 an apple cut along its mid-section or a cabbage core. 

      Step 6

      Put the lid on jar. Make sure the weight is working by submerging all the vegetables. If not you will need to jig it so no carrots are exposed to the air. 

      Step 7

      Leave in dark place for 3-7 days.

      Step 8

      Try in a few days. The carrots should still be crisp yet they will have a slight zingy taste. 

      Step 9

      Store in the fridge. Because it is fermented, it can last for months in your fridge.

      Fermented Carrots Benefits

      Fermented carrots are a great way to get some natural probiotic foods into your kids after antibiotics… They will give their gut bacteria a huge kick and help to keep their immunity going strong and support their digestive system.

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        Fermented Foods Kids Love

        Want to raise an Adventurous Eaters?

        Get 10 bite-sized easy to digest emails and discover the foundations to Adventurous Eaters.

          How to get your Toddler to eat more Veggies

          How to get your Toddler to eat more Veggies

          How to Get Your Toddler to Eat More Veggies

          10 Simple ways to encourage a child to eat when they refuse

          Imagine your picky toddler eating all their veggies happily at dinger tonight.

          Imagine, your child devouring that healthy lunch box you lovingly prepared.

          It can seem like a fantasy wonderland.

          But it doesn’t have to be.

          Getting a child to eat veggies when they refuse is like the old pentene shampoo add….  “it won’t happen overnight… but it will happen”.


          It’s like trying to push start a car. The first few heaves can feel like you are getting no-where… but after putting in some effort?  You get that car moving and the effort involved to keep it moving along is a little push now and again.

          Getting toddlers to eat Broccoli requires some effort to start with. You may not feel like you are not getting anywhere.

          But the momentum will be building.

          And, soon…You will be surprised with your child’s open mind to trying new foods without much effort on your part.  Just like the car coasting down the road.

          To start that momentum, there are 10 simple ways to get toddler eating veggies.

          So, when your child refuses to eat anything, employ one or a few of them consistently, and eventually, your child will be a healthy, adventurous eater.

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          10 Simple Strategies to Get Your Toddler To Eat Veggies

          1. The Blender is Your Friend

          Are you kids minds closed to eating anything new or healthy?

          Does it feel like they have pre-decided not to like Broccoli or another vegetable before they even try it?

          I remember my oldest daughter being like this. This is the reason I wrote the book Healthy Little Eaters – because I wanted my child to love eating healthy and at that moment of time the only healthy eating she did was when I forced her. Healthy Little Eaters was all the research put in one place that helped me give her a totally new direction.

          But that’s a long-term strategy. And, I am sure you want some quick wins.

          So, use your blender.

          Think about the foods your child is eating already. How could you blend some vegetables in there?

          For example: do they like Mac and Cheese?  If it is the white sauce they like, add in some cauliflower puree, if it is the more yellow cheese sauce they like, then add in some butternut squash or pumpkin puree. The trick is to keep the colour constant and then slowly add more and more of the same colour vegetable.

          Do your kids only eat baked beans or spaghetti?  Again, a little of cauliflower puree is a great or add in a vegetable sauce

          Blending vegetables will help to train their taste buds for different flavours without their mind getting in their way.

          I was surprised how quickly my children began eating cauliflower after adding in a dollop cauliflower puree in their French toast.

          Using a blender can also help you feel satisfied that your kids are receiving some nutrients – which will help you to reduce the pressure your kids may feel about finishing their vegetables. Backing pressure off on your kids is the biggest and hardest step you can make as a parent but is the step that brings the biggest rewards. Witnessing your kids getting some nutrients through the blended veggies will help put your mind at ease.

          Takeaway: Using a blending by pureeing the vegetables of similar colour to your child’s already accepted meals can increase their nutrient intake without them having to ‘try’ a new food. This will also train their taste buds without them noticing

          2. Use Foods Your Toddler Already Likes

          What foods do your kids already like?

          When you put a vegetable on the table ask yourself ‘is there a way I can make a link to a food that they already like?”

          For example, if you want to encourage them to eat avocado, if they like creamy yoghurt can you bring their attention to the smoothness and creaminess of the avocado when they try it?

          You can also do this with flavours.

          If your toddler likes garlic bread. Make garlicky cauliflower bites.  When you put it on the table tell them it tastes like garlic bread. If they bring it up to their mouths, casually ask if they can taste the garlic-bread.

          The goal is to get your toddler to think about something else rather than the uncertainty of the vegetable.

          Takeaway:  Drawing kids’ attention to something already familiar in the ‘new veggie can help your child to create a link to what is already familiar to them.

          3. Give your Toddler a Choice

          Do you have a strong-willed child?

          If you do, I’m guessing they will tell you what they want to eat and when they want to eat it no matter what you do.

          It can be frustrating.

          But, food, going toilet and going to sleep are the only things they can control. And they love control.

          So, give them some.

          Ask them what they would like to eat tonight by giving them three options.

          Or you can ask what vegetables they would like with dinner by giving them 3 options. Or when you are in the supermarket, ask them to pick a vegetable to eat with dinner.

          This way they feel like they have some control and when they sit down at dinner you can remind them that they are the ones that choose that option. I like to do it in a ‘thank-you’ way. “Thank you for choosing the Broccoli for tonight’s dinner”

          Takeaway:  Give your strong-willed child what they want. control: You provide the boundaries they get to choose.

          4. Play with Flavours

          Is your child sensitive to bitter foods?

          Some toddlers are more sensitive to bitter foods than others.  If you are nodding your head thinking “this is my child” then there are two things you want to do.

          • Read on to #7. Decreasing your child’s sugar intake will help do wonders for accepting bitter foods. The sweeter your kids’ diet is, the more bitter foods will seem to them.
          • Play with the flavours to help mask the bitter taste. Adding a bit of fat or a sharp taste like balsamic can help mask bitter foods such as broccoli.

          If that fails then sprinkle a little sugar or if your boiling that vegetables add sugar to the water… It is more important for kids to develop a positive association with vegetables than to worry about sugar. And, research showed that just three exposures to a sweetened vegetable helped those kids enjoy that vegetable later on. So, use their sweetener preference to your advantage.

          Takeaway: If your child is super sensitive to bitter foods then add a flavour such as fat or sweetness to the bitter vegetable when you introduce it.

          5. Play with Textures

          Do your toddlers almost gag on different textures?

          First, check that your toddler is chewing and making good jaw movements well first. If not, make jaw movements exercise a priority.  Suck on homemade ice-block or get them drinking out of a straw are a couple of ways to exercise their facial muscles.

          From there play with different textures of the food.

          Does your child prefer crispy textures? Then bread the cauliflower or broccoli and make it crispy.

          Write a list of your child’s favourite textures – pick a vegetable you want them to have more of and think of ways to add their preferred texture to that food.

          A personal win:  My 16month old is having a hard time with the texture of mince. We often will have Chili or chicken mince, so I really want him to like this texture. Recently we had Chili over a baked potato. One of the toppings I put out included natural yoghurt.

          He loved the texture of yoghurt, so I added in some small amounts of mince to spoonsful of yoghurt. Boom – for the first time he didn’t spit out the mince.

          If your kid loves the creamy smooth texture like yoghurt, then can you add this to your next meal to help them get used to another texture?

          Takeaway:  Build a new texture into the textures your kids already like. Little bit by little bit will help to get your kids liking other textures without a fight.

          6. Play Games

          Knowledge about food: from the sight, smell, texture and tastes is all learnt. Preference for food is all learnt.

          How do you make kids (or adults) happy to learn?

          Make it fun.

          When encouraging kids to eat healthy make the learning environment fun. Play games like ‘who can keep a straight face’ when introducing sour fermented foods such as my kids’ favourite sauerkraut help keep the mood light and fun.  The positive environment creates happy memories with healthy foods. Even if they don’t like it, they will be developing a positive association with veggies in general. So, you are winning.

          Turing trying new foods into an experiment:  Sign up for Adventuring Little Eaters email course and you will also get tasticaiton and foodication handouts from Healthy Little Eaters Free. This will help to make trying new foods and experimenting with different taste sensations in a playful way.

          Start my free course

          7. Sugars out

          Have you ever gone sugar-free for over a month, then eaten a bar of chocolate?

          After a month of sugar-free that bar of chocolate will seem out-of-this-world too sweet.

          If your child is having chocolate, candy, biscuits or something sweet every day, his or her taste buds will be set up to want sweeter tasting foods. When spinach, broccoli or another typically bitter food is eaten – the bitterness can then register as too powerful and then ‘yuck’ for your child’s taste buds.

          Of course, they are not going to like it.

          By decreasing sugar in your toddler’s diet, their taste buds will desensitise to the sweet taste, making accepting the bitter foods more likely, or, at least not overpoweringly yuck.

          Decreasing your toddler’s sugar intake is a long-term strategy. Start by making some sugar-free baking such as these Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookies or cut the fizzy intake. You don’t need your kids to go sugar-free – Even small changes to help decrease the amount of sugar they are eating can help shift their taste buds to accept the more bitter foods.

          Takeaway:  Your kids’ reaction the more bitter foods maybe more because their taste buds are set up to only have sweet foods. Decreasing their sugar intake a little bit by aittle bit will help to make vegetables taste delicious to your toddler.

          8. Start with what Vegetable your Toddler already likes

          Eating a variety of vegetables and healthier foods rarely happen in one step. It can take progressive shifts to get there.

          What flavours and food do your kids like?

          Start with those foods and see if you can do a small step sideways.

          For example: Do your kids like potatoes? – get them to try kumara, but say they are “sweet potatoes”… ‘potatoes but sweeter’. Boom, you have created a link to the food they like already.

          You can do this for many dishes and build on each step: let’s go back to your toddler who likes potatoes. Start the progression by adding a little paprika to the dish. After a while draw attention to the paprika and tell them how paprika can help that cut, they have healed faster or have laser-like eyes (paprika is good for healing wounds and eye health). Then add in the next progression… try chilli or dhal and instead of speaking about the new dish, make a link to the paprika in the chilli or dhal.

          Making small progressive steps so you toddler is eventually eating the foods you eat is a process that can take some time, but is much less daunting for your toddler when trying to get them to eat healthier.

          Takeaway: Make progressive steps to new meals. Start with what flavour’s your kids like. Where can you make a sideways step to another food?  Gradual progress is still progress.

          9. Become a Story-teller

          Storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world.” – Robert McKee, professor

          Storytelling is also a powerful way to put ideas into your toddler’s head. Use personal stories as a way to teach a positive association with healthy eating.

          I have often spoken to my kids about how I thought my mother was loopy when she went avocado crazy over summer. The thought of eating an avocado made my stomach churn. It wasn’t until I was an adult when I tried it. And I am glad I did. I finally didn’t let what I thought and avocado would taste like get in the way of trying it – and I found that I really loved it!  (now they see me put avocado on my salads, breast fast with eggs or make it into a dessert!)

          This is a story about how I let my thoughts of what an avocado would taste like get in the way of me enjoying it. All about me, but building a positive association in their heads as well as teaching them a growth mindset to healthy eating.

          I tell a story to my kids about how ice-cream makes my tummy feel yucky, but when I was little and I really wanted to like ice-cream because everyone else did.  I would love to mix it up with my spoon and let it melt rather than eat it. I didn’t understand what ice-cream did to my stomach until I was an adult and I learnt to check-in. But I am super glad I did as now I choose not to eat ice-cream because I know my stomach won’t feel good after eating it.

          This whole story revolves around checking-in and the story of how I have got empowerment over my food choices. Again positive and teaching them you can still learn to check-in, even as an adult.

          Takeaway: Stories put ideas into toddlers head. Ideas which are layered with unconscious healthy eating messages from checking-in to instilling a growth mindset to healthy eating.

          10. Make Vegetables Important to your Child

          Want some chicken feet?


          What about some delicacy that will help you boost your collagen to look younger?

          I bet you are willing to try delicacy that boosts collagen… because it means something to you. (that delicacy is chicken feet J )

          Plonking broccoli on a plate and saying eat it because it will make you healthy is abstract for your toddler. They don’t know what healthy is, let along why they should care about it.

          But if you said, broccoli helps you to go poos without it hurting, (if they are constipated) or broccoli will their heart grow stronger so you can run for longer, or simply broccoli will help you grow muscles like daddy or mummy. Whatever works for them but make it a concrete example. Something important to them.

          You can also change the vegetable name, instead of calling it broccoli, call them dinosaur trees – and knock them down with your dead and munch on them as a dinosaur would.

          Make vegetables important for your toddler either by the way it will make them feel afterwards or name it differently.

          Takeaway: Kids don’t know why eating vegetables is important. Give them a concrete reason to love those veggies.

          Simple Strategies to Encourage Toddlers to more Veggies Overview


          Toddlers eating vegetables happily can seem like a fantasy wonderland… But it doesn’t have to be.

          Just like push starting a car requires a bit of effort, getting your toddler to eat their broccoli also require effort. But, little by little they will take bites and before you know it your once non-eating vegetable toddler will be a child and teenager who eats whatever you make.

          It won’t happen over-night… but it will happen… if you start using these 10 strategies to help when your toddler refuses to eat.


          1. Blender is your friend
          2. Create links
          3. Give them a choice
          4. Play with flavour’s
          5. Play with textures
          6. Play games
          7. Decrease sugar intake
          8. Use Progression
          9. Tells stories
          When you have a toddler who refuses to eat anything you put on the table, employ a few of these strategies.

          Sometimes you will get quick wins and other times you will have to put in more effort.

          Make the whole goal to be your toddler ENJOYING meals times, ENJOYING tasting and trying new foods… they will eventually develop a positive association with eating healthily.

          This positive attitude they will take with them on their journey of life.

          So, start now

          Other Encouraging Healthy Eating for Toddler Blogs you may like

          7 Reasons Your Kids Refuse Vegetables

          Children typically go through a phase where they look at vegetables (or new food) with the same disgust as a pregnant person feels when someone drops a stinky one.

          But, just like my babies who didn’t sleep through the night –  it can last longer than it needs to…

          Is Baby Health Luck of the

          Even though a baby seems fully formed, their gut isn’t. It can take up until they are 3 years to have a fully functioning gut. How do you make sure their gut is in tip-top shape?  Learn more here.

          Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookies

          The Healthiest cookies you can bake. Kid-friendly, good for your gut while tasting lip-smackingly good.

          Recent Adventurous Little Eaters Blogs

          Baby Health Tips

          Baby Health Tips

          A Healthy Baby can seem like ‘luck of the draw’. But by taking care of an infant’s gut microbiome in their first 1,000 days you can raise a healthy baby and toddler who grow into healthy, thriving kids. These tips to a healthy baby will put your baby on a life-long health journey.

          How to Get Your Toddler to Eat More Veggies

          Fermented Sweet Potato

          Fermented Sweet Potato

          Fermented Sweet Potato

          About Fermented Sweet Potato Recipe

          This is going to rock your world. It did mine.

          I started making fermented food for babies when I had my fourth child. I wanted to give my baby the best start and built on what I had done for my older three creating FIRST foods. F is for fermented foods as this helps a babies gut develop adding in loads of probiotic-rich foods. But I continue to make it to this day. Fermented Kumara as well call sweet potato in New Zealand has become a regular spread in wraps, sandwiches and on top of dosas for both myself and my now toddler. 

          This fermented sweet Potato recipe will not only give you and your baby a good probiotic kick but will also give a load of prebiotics.

          This is the double whammy for gut health.

          What to do when Baby refuses?

          Keep giving it to them. It can take 10-15 “trys” before they develop a taste for it. Try with food they already like. Have the expectation that at some point your child will train their taste buds to Fermented Sweet Potato and  eventually they will be happily devouring jam-packed nutrient spread/puree. 


          • 3 Sweet Potato (golden, purple or red all work well)

          • 2 garlic cloves

          • Culture starter or Whey

          • 2 tsp Himalayan salt

          Step by Step Instructions

          Step 1

          Peel the Sweet potatoes and cut into chunks.

          Step 2

          Steam the sweet potato until cooked through. 

          Step 3

          Blend or mash the Sweet Potato with the salt into a smooth paste while hot. Use a little liquid if necessary. 

          The mixture should become like a smooth paste. 

          (Doing this step while hot makes the paste go smoother without as much liquid)

          Step 4

          Leave the Sweet Potato to cool. While you are doing that don’t forget to sterilize your jar. 

          Step 5

          Once cool, add in culture starter or whey and minced garlic cloves. 

          Step 6

          Spoon mixture into cooled sterilized jar. Pushing down with the back of a spoon so that no air holes are present. 

          Step 7

          Cut out a circle of baking paper and lay on top of your Sweet POtato mixture to seal it off from any air. Seal with Lid and leave in dark place for 3-7 days. 

          Step 8

          You will start to see air bubbles form in the sweet potato mixture. This is a sign that fermentation has started. After three days taste a little. The mixture will be a little sour and possibly fizzy. Leave out if you think it needs more fermenting time. 

          Step 9

          Store in the fridge. Because it is fermented, it can last for months in your fridge, but I am sure you will have eaten it before then. 🙂  

           Want a Road Map to Starting Solids?

          Get a free email course that walks you through starting solids.  Tick all the boxes from giving your baby fermented foods to training their taste.

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