Junk food junkie
11:30 (GMT+2), Tue, 23 August 2011
Junk food junkie
I have just fallen pregnant and I love junk food. Will eating this type of food really have any effect on my baby?
I’m afraid that eating junk food during pregnancy can affect your baby in the long term. Since it’s unethical to do studies on pregnant women, many of the research was done on rats. A new study done at the Royal Ventinary Clinic in London looked at the generation of rats whose mothers were fed a diet of doughnuts, muffins, biscuits, crisps and sweets during pregnancy and lactation. They found that the second generation had unusually high levels of cholesterol and an increased risk of heart disease because of fats in the bloodstream. The animals also had higher than average levels of glucose and insulin, making them susceptible to type 2 diabetes. This does not mean that obesity and poor health is inevitable in the offspring of a mother who eats junk food all the time, but it does show that pregnant women ought to eat responsibly. The occasional treat is fine, but these so-called junk foods should not form a great part of your daily diet. Fresh fruits and vegetables, wholegrains, low-fat dairy, essential fats and lean proteins are the main constituents of a healthy diet for pregnancy. A cheat meal (a burger and chips) and two treats (one slab of chocolate and a packet of crisps) per week would be my suggestion.
Child-friendly party treats
My child is allergic to wheat. Can you suggest a few wheat-free party treats for his next birthday party when he turns 3?
Birthday parties can be a nightmare with kids who have allergies. At your own child’s party you can choose the foods you want to serve, so there’s hardly any chance of him reacting to something. Obviously kids’ parties are a treat so you won’t be serving only healthy snacks. Chewy gummy sweets, fizzers and suckers are acceptable. Potato chips don’t contain wheat, so these are also an option. Other healthier options include chopped up fruit salad made into kebabs on sticks (no sharp edges) or dried fruit rolls cut into small pieces. Try serving mini fish or meat balls (use egg and 100% rye bread for binding). For a special treat, try the following wheat-free chocolate birthday cake.
20g dark chocolate, broken into pieces
5 medium eggs, separated
15g castor sugar
10g ground almonds
2 tbs cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
Cocoa powder for dusting top of cake
1. Line a 225mm circular cake tin with non-stick baking paper. Put the chocolate pieces and butter into a saucepan and melt over a gentle heat until completely melted. Mix well.
2. Beat the egg whites until they are stiff, so that when you tip the bowl on its side the beaten egg whites won’t move. Then add half the sugar and beat together.
3. Add the rest of the sugar to the egg yolks and beat together until the mix is creamy and thick. Add the egg yolk mix to the melted chocolate, gently stirring the ingredients together.
4. Gently fold the beaten egg whites into the mixture, ensuring that the air beaten into the egg whites is not lost.
5. Mix the ground almonds, cocoa powder and baking powder together thoroughly then slowly add this to the chocolate mix. Make sure that both mixes are well combined, but do not beat the ingredients together.
6. Pour the mixture into the baking tin and bake for 45–50 minutes. To check that the cake is cooked properly, insert a skewer into the centre of the cake. If it comes out clean then the cake is ready. Leave the cake to cool in the baking tin for 30 minutes and then turn out to cool completely on a wire cooling rack. Before serving, dust with sieved cocoa powder.
More affectionately known as Maltabella in South Africa, sorghum is a super healthy wheat- and gluten-free grain. Babies love its smooth texture and sweet, creamy taste. It’s good for the whole family too as sorghum is rich in polyphenols, which are powerful antioxidants. Maltabella has an intermediate GI, which can be lowered by adding a few drops of lemon juice to it.