If you’re a new parent, you may have heard of Charlotte Stirling-Reed.
A leading baby & child nutritionist, Charlotte consulted Joe Wicks, on his Wean in 15 book and campaign – the popular baby food bible for parents.
Our client, Whole Earth, is a strong advocate of ‘Better Breakfasts’ with its best-selling sugar-free peanut butter of course!
To amplify this health message in UK media, we worked with Charlotte to commission a national survey into how much sugar is in kids’ breakfasts.
The result was astounding…
On a school day, a child’s typical breakfast at home contains on average 97% of their daily free sugar allowance!
To counterbalance this shocking headline, Charlotte offered healthy sugar swaps, recipes and advice for parents to create healthier breakfasts…. an execution which landed three full-page features across the Daily Mirror, Daily Express and Daily Record.
With the start of a new school year fast approaching and the return of family weekday routines, we caught up with Charlotte to pick her brain on the topic of nutrition and healthier food choices for children:
1. What inspired you to get into nutrition for families?
My parents. My mum was really interested in nutrition and encouraged us to eat healthy food. We would always cook together and it encouraged my love of food. My dad was a science teacher too, so at university I teamed both interests into my degree: Human Biology and Nutrition.
2. What would you say is the biggest nutritional challenge parents are facing right now?
There are many challenges with children and food, but fussy eating always comes out on top. It’s very common and impactful on family mealtimes. Everyone wants their children to eat enough food, and with a fussy eater it can be extremely difficult!
3. The topic of free school meals has come under the spotlight in recent months, what is your opinion on the nutritional value of these meals?
This answer could change from school to school. Many schools go above and beyond the guidelines, but for some, this isn’t a priority. This always surprises me as food and nutrition is so important for young children.
4. The study conducted with Whole Earth had a real impact in the media, what more can be done from brands when it comes to sugar?
I’m a big advocate of honest and transparent food brands – especially when they target children and parents. Many families feel very misled by some brands and want honest labelling and products made without the extra salt and sugar. Often parents want honest labelling and foods for their little ones made without lots of the salt and sugar that we’re recommended to reduce.
5. What one piece of advice would you give parents looking to reduce sugar in their kids’ diets?
Nutrition doesn’t have to be a headache – small swaps can have a huge impact. Swapping out sweet yogurts and biscuits – even for one day – for nutrient-rich alternatives such as vegetable sticks and dips, crackers and cheese or plain yogurt with chopped fruit can really improve the nutritional impact of the snack.
6. You’re a big peanut butter fan, but what’s your favourite way to eat it?
I love it spread on toast or a bagel. My son loves finding chunks of it in his porridge!
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