Nutrition for kids: Helping children get off to a great start. |

Nutrition is a key component of a childs wellbeing. The right foods at the right times can help children with a long list of childhood issues. It can help them to grow into well developed and happy adults. The right foods at the right times can help children with a long list of childhood issues. It can help them to grow into well developed and happy adults. As a childs nutritional wellbeing is often affected by many factors, it is important to start on the right foot. Planning nutrition for children from a young age is key to a healthy and happy future.

It’s important to get kids on the right track with good nutrition when they’re young. Research shows that children who eat a healthy, balanced diet before the age of two tend to grow up to be healthier adults. So it is vital that we start them on a healthy eating plan from a young age. All the time, however, parents and other caregivers are told that fruit and veggies are not the best way to go for a balanced diet.

According to the World Health Organization, 15% of children around the world are underweight, but that figure is almost certainly an underestimate. In the developed world, the numbers appear to have been coming down for decades. Even so, there is still a lot of work to be done in this area. What is needed is a bit of inspiration, a kick in the pants, if you will, to get parents and practitioners to think beyond the basics and to take a fresh look at how children’s nutrition should be handled.. Read more about free nutrition posts and let us know what you think.

What does a child’s healthy diet look like? We’ll look at how childhood influences brain development, metabolism, and general health in this post. And how we can help our children get off to a good start.


Childhood eating habits set the tone for the rest of one’s life. The foods we consume as children have an impact on our brain development, metabolism, and general health.

In the United States, the top three sources of calories for children aged 2 to 3 are:

Hmmm. This is a very shaky foundation.

However, there is some good news. To enhance your child’s nutritional profile and guarantee that they eat healthily and enjoyably throughout their lives, you may only need to make a few simple adjustments.

Nutrition, after all, has an impact on a child’s growth, development, and health.

This includes the following:

  • keep a healthy body weight;
  • Avoid the health issues that come with having too much body fat;
  • digestive system health; and
  • Behavior and brain development

Let’s look at these variables in more detail.

Overweight is the first factor to consider.

Only 7% of American youngsters between the ages of 6 and 11 were fat in 1980.

In 2010, this remained at 18 percent, or almost one in every five individuals.

Approximately one-third of American youngsters (33%) are now categorized as overweight or obese.

What exactly is the issue here?

Obesity and health issues

Excess body fat is harmful, and it is the cause of many juvenile ailments as well as adult disorders.

Consider the following scenario:

  •  70% of obese teenagers are already exhibiting symptoms of cardiovascular illness, which typically does not manifest itself until decades later.
  • Fat (adipose tissue) produces hormones and chemical signals; too much fat causes inflammation. Asthma is one example of this in youngsters.
  • Fat may build up in the liver, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the leading cause of liver disease in children throughout the globe. Arterial plaques are twice as common in children with fatty liver.
  • Excess fat in children impairs insulin sensitivity and glucose utilization, leading to pre-diabetes.
  • Long-term chronic illnesses, such as B. Stroke, breast, colon, and kidney cancer, musculoskeletal issues, and gallbladder disease, are more common in obese children.
  • It’s possible that normal growth and hormonal development may be disrupted. This may have an impact on their growth throughout puberty as well as their reproductive health in the future. Puberty may occur too early in females, while gynecomastia (mammary gland growth) may occur in boys.

It is very tough to alter a physique that is overweight at a crucial period of growth. Health and fitness habits formed at a young age have a long-term impact.

Obesity and social issues

Excess body fat also has a psychological impact. Being a chubby child on the playground is no fun. Bullying and social isolation are common among overweight and obese children and teenagers.

Obesity and the influence of nutrition

Which kids are the most likely to be overweight or obese? Those who consume a lot of high-calorie meals. (Learn all there is to know about energy balance.)

As shown in the table below, children’s health and weight are influenced by a variety of variables, the majority of which are within their control.


Carnell, S., Kim, Y., and Pryor, K. A biobehavioral model of obesity risk in children and adults based on thick brains, greedy genes, and parental authority. 189-199 in International Journal of Psychiatry, 2012.

Intestinal health is the second factor to consider.

Children, like adults, rely on proper digestion. They are, nevertheless, often exposed to viruses and bacterial illnesses since they are young and susceptible. This may result in diarrhea, which is a common symptom of an intestinal infection.

However, not all diarrhea is caused by sickness. Fruit juice is the primary avoidable cause. The juice includes fructose and sorbitol, both of which lead to diarrhea when consumed in high amounts.

While diarrhea is frequent, constipation is considerably less so, as long as youngsters consume enough plant-based meals. But, regardless of the regime, if a kid is forced to attend and attempts to avoid it, it may lead to difficulties.

Children who have constipation before the age of five are more likely to have it after puberty.

A word of advice: There aren’t many excellent studies on constipation in children, so feel free to arrange studies if you’re a pediatric student or researcher.

Finally, inadequate nutrition is linked to gastrointestinal problems.

The mix of microorganisms in children’s intestines may influence their immune function, just as it does in adults.

As a result, probiotics may aid in improving gut health, resolving diarrhea caused by medications, and reducing inflammation. Also suitable for youngsters. In fact, many probiotics are now considered safe for youngsters.

Factor #3: Behavior and the brain

High-quality nutrients are required for the brain’s development. Children’s mood and behavior issues, such as B. depression and ADHD, as well as aggressiveness and violence, are linked to poor nutrition (whether or not it is linked to excess body fat).

Caffeine is included in this. According to one research, children aged 8 to 12 ingest an average of 109 mg of caffeine per day, the equal of one cup of coffee. Because one cola contains approximately 30-35 mg of caffeine, a typical kid consumes roughly three colas each day.

A crucial comment on socioeconomic status

Malnutrition in children is a complicated societal issue. It comes down to geography and economics.

Because low-quality energy foods are cheaper and more easily accessible in industrialized nations like the United States and the United Kingdom, children who eat them are more likely to be impoverished.

In developing nations, on the other hand, where impoverished children still consume traditional foods and staples of local agriculture, it is the wealthy children whose families can afford a high-energy diet.

This implies that, at least in developed nations, poor child nutrition is often associated with poverty.

What can you do to help your kids eat better?

The topic of infant food may be intimidating, particularly if you’re a parent trying to make better choices for your family. What should I do first?

Begin with the fundamentals.

  • Choose complete, unprocessed meals wherever feasible. Processed foods promoted especially for children should be avoided.
  • Fruits and vegetables should be part of a child’s everyday diet.
  • Take vitamins and minerals as required, but aim to obtain your nutrition from a range of complete foods as much as possible.
  • Using healthy meals and attentive eating, assist youngsters in controlling their appetite and hunger.
  • Assume a position of leadership. You’re a parent, right?
  • Adopt healthy behaviors yourself to serve as a role model for your children.

Let’s look at these methods in more detail.

First, choose meals that are whole and lightly processed.

Processed food marketing mostly targets children. Unfortunately, these items are often loaded with hazardous chemicals.

Sugar should be reduced.

Many parents and instructors can spot a kid who has had too much sugar: what were once tiny angels have transformed into frantic, wall-climbing devils.

Sugar also interferes with children’s natural hunger control, contributing to obesity, cardiovascular disease, and insulin resistance.

My kids, on the other hand, don’t eat sugary sweets and seldom drink soda, so they’re OK.

That’s fantastic. You should keep in mind that several morning cereals have more sugar than soft drinks. Go-Gurt, for example, is a kid-friendly brand. Even frozen fruit may have a lot of sugar added to it.

(Click here for additional information on sugar’s hidden origins.)


Label reading

Whether it’s yogurt or fruit juice, granola bars or mixed beverages, and whether the label reads “healthy” or “pixie,” the message is the same: Take a look at the label.

Keep an eye out for sugars and other undesirable substances that may be concealed in your food. If you pay attention, you’ll be surprised at what you’ll find.

Get the items you need.

The good news is that children who consume a diverse and, above all, complete diet get sufficient amounts of nutritious carbs, lean proteins, and excellent fats. When it comes to healthy fats,

Fats that can be eaten

Vitamin absorption is aided by dietary lipids in youngsters. They also aid in feeling full and satisfied after a meal. They’re also necessary for hormone synthesis.

Dietary fats that are good for kids are essential. Children who don’t get enough of them have deficits that may affect their development, eyesight, body composition, blood fats, and brain.

Because children eat a larger percentage of fats in relation to their calorie intake, dietary fats are even more essential for them than for adults.

Omega-3 fatty acids, one kind of dietary fat, are also helpful for cognitive development and the prevention of many chronic illnesses.

  • Oily fish are a good source of EPA/DHA (an omega-3 lipid). If your child doesn’t enjoy fish oil, try mixing a teaspoon into a fruit smoothie or a Barleans Omega Swirl Smoothie.
  • Another kind of omega-3 fat is alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which may be found in nuts and seeds including flax, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, and chia seeds. Add raw nuts as a snack to your baby’s oatmeal or smoothies, as well as ground flaxseeds or chia seeds.

If your kid can eat eggs (some people can’t), use entire eggs since the yolk provides vital lipids and choline, another vitamin needed for brain development.

Choose dairy products with a high fat content if at all feasible.

Coconut is also high in heart-healthy saturated fats. Crushing a fresh coconut is typically a source of amusement for children. In addition to unsweetened coconut milk and flakes, you may utilize coconut flour in baked products.

Minor replacements may result in an increase in the amount of money spent.

Simply consuming fewer processed, natural foods may make a significant impact.

Examine your children’s daily meals to identify where items that have been processed may be replaced with healthier options.

Fruit juice should be diluted with water, flavored yogurt should be mixed with normal yogurt, and chocolate milk should be mixed with plain milk, according to traditional parenting advice.

2nd strategy: Include fruits and vegetables in your diet.

Adding fruits and vegetables to your children’s diet is another easy and efficient approach to enhance their nutrition.

Fruits and vegetables come in handy packages, are simple to cook, and are high in nutrients that a developing body need.

Of course, not all fruits and vegetables appeal to all youngsters at the same time. Here are some suggestions for resolving the most frequent issues.

Problem: Vegetables are unappealing to children. Solution: Prepare the veggies in a variety of ways. Roast them, create a soup with them, blend them with fruit in a smoothie, or eat them raw. Remember that a kid may need ten or more exposures to a new cuisine before accepting it. So be patient. Continue to experiment with new possibilities. Continue to search for new ways to include veggies in your meals.

Problem: Preparation seems to be inconvenient or tough. Solution: Provide ready-to-eat veggies, such as B. baby vegetables that have been washed. Include children in the preparation of fruits and vegetables; even little children can chop the ends off green beans, mash an avocado, and tear leaves for a salad. Children who are more actively engaged are more likely to try new meals.

Access is a problem. Store veggies at home and at school as a solution. Rearrange the refrigerator such that cooked veggies are readily accessible and less beneficial alternatives are difficult to come by.

Problem: Fruits and vegetables are uncool since they lack their own promotion. Solution: When it comes to food, don’t depend on advertisements. Children should be taught to be critical of the media. Assist them in realizing that advertising is designed to sell goods, not necessarily to help them. Also, remember to bring them with you when you go shopping. Allow them to browse the food area and decide what they’d want to try.

Peer pressure to consume unhealthy foods is a problem. Solution What occurs in a peer group remains inside the peer group. Concentrate on improving your eating habits at home.

Parents don’t eat veggies, which is a problem. Parents consume veggies as a solution. Didn’t you know we were going to say that?

Please keep in mind that raw veggies may be harmful to small toddlers who may choke. (Hard candy, nuts, peanut butter, hot dogs, and popcorn are examples.)

Vitamins and minerals are the third strategy.

Latest news : Nutrient deficiencies may be caused by eating nutrient-poor meals instead of nutrient-rich ones.

Supplementing with vitamins, minerals, and omega-3 fatty acids may help a child’s cognitive health and behavior if he or she isn’t receiving enough nutrients from his or her food. Supplementation may also be beneficial to children with poor socioeconomic status, ADHD symptoms, and learning impairments.

The nutrients that are most frequently lacking from children’s diets, as well as some excellent sources of these nutrients in whole foods, are listed below:

  • Calcium-rich foods include beans, green vegetables, nuts, and seeds.
  • Iron-rich foods include beans, pork, whole grain products, and spices.
  • Zinc is found in beans, meat, whole grain products, and seafood.
  • Vitamin A is found in fruits and vegetables.
  • Vitamin C is found in fruits and vegetables (vitamin C helps with iron absorption)
  • Folic acid is found in whole grains, beans, fruits, and vegetables.
  • Whole grain products, legumes, fruit, vegetables, and meat are all good sources of vitamin B6.
  • Fish, eggs, dairy products, mushrooms, and fortified meals are all good sources of vitamin D.
  • Animal products containing vitamin B12 (children on a vegan diet need extra vitamin B12).
  • Iodine is found in many foods, including iodized salt, sea vegetables, dairy products, and fish. (What are the benefits of dairy products? Iodine residues are left in dairy products by disinfectants employed in the dairy industry).

Send kids outdoors as often as possible to play in the sun so they receive enough vitamin D, which is essential for muscle growth and bone formation. Most youngsters now get less than 300 IU of vitamin D per day, which falls well short of the dietary need of 600 IU per day. See All About Vitamin D for additional information about vitamin D.


The greatest thirst quenchers are water and unsweetened tea. They help you stay hydrated. When children get used to the flavor, they will prefer it over sweetened beverages.

Unfortunately, sweetened drinks account for more than 30% of the fructose consumed by young children.

Although most children’s diets include cow’s milk, it is not required. Anemia may be caused by drinking cow’s milk as a meal substitute.

Consider moving from fruit juice to whole fruit and experimenting with non-dairy milk options. Drinks for children should mostly consist of water and unsweetened tea.

Children’s food intolerances

It’s understandable if your kid is allergic to a certain substance and has to be kept away from it. Determine what nutrients the food in issue can offer and supplement with other foods to compensate for any shortfalls (or use supplements).

See All About Food Sensitivities for additional information about food sensitivities.

If you suspect your kid has an allergy, have him or her test it. Allergies are quantifiable. Milk from a cow protein allergies affect up to 5% of youngsters. Use a non-allergenic drink if your infant is allergic to cow’s milk.

Foods that are known to induce hypersensitivity include:

  • Eggs
  • Cow’s milk
  • Soy
  • Wheat
  • Peanuts
  • Hazelnuts
  • Moulds

Toxins and children

Toxins are present in all of us. We’re continually discovering new places where poisons can be discovered. Toxic exposure in children may be reduced by taking the following steps:

Helping children eat properly is strategy #4.

Children are intuitive eaters when given the proper conditions. Their bodies are the ones that inform them how much they need.

They eat more on certain days and less on others. Over time, your body will automatically control your intake. As a result, calorie tracking is a waste of time for healthy youngsters.

The incredible ability of children to self-regulate may be affected by a variety of factors.

  • Portion size is too little.
  • processed foods
  • Restriction on food
  • Defaming some goods
  • Eating on the run, preoccupied, or in a hurry

Strategies that are ineffective

You certainly want your children to be happy and healthy as parents. Consequently, you can:

  • When they are excited, give them food as a treat.
  • have stringent guidelines for what constitutes excellent and poor goods;
  • to persuade them to consume their food;
  • Attempt to bribe them (if you finish your spinach, you get an ice cream).

Unfortunately, the methods outlined above simply serve to exacerbate the situation. Apart from that, it’s a lot of work for you!

Instead, try these tactics.

So, attempt to put these methods into practice. In order for children to eat instinctively and organically throughout their lives, the following guidelines must be followed:

  • Serve a range of whole, unprocessed meals to them.
  • Serve in portion sizes that are suitable.
  • Give them the appearance of choice and control (for example, you can choose a vegetable to eat tonight).
  • Allow youngsters to stop eating when they are full (rather than insisting that they finish their plate).
  • Avoid food restrictions or mentions of a child’s weight.
  • Keep junk food out of the home. Ensure that healthy options are readily accessible. Don’t make a huge issue out of it; simply make bad choices and become inaccessible quietly.
  • Participate in grocery shopping, meal planning, and cooking with your children.
  • Take it easy on yourself.
  • Make meals a family event by eating together as frequently as possible.

Taking the initiative (Strategy #5)

Parents: It is up to you to take the initiative. You’re the boss around here.

It is their responsibility to supply meals. However, the kid must select whether or not to eat. Children eat when they are hungry.

Set a positive example for others by eating healthily.

At the end of the day, children are more interested in what their parents do than what they say. Set a good example for your children and they will most likely follow you.

But what about the challenging kids?

You could say that this is excellent. But no matter what, my child refuses to eat veggies! How does he obtain adequate vitamins and minerals?

It’s no issue. Ascertain that they consume a substantial amount of food:

  • Apricots
  • Cantaloupe
  • Mango
  • Plums with peaches
  • Beans
  • Nuts
  • Lawyer
  • Eggs
  • Citrus
  • Bays

What about kids who are allergic to or intolerant of dairy products? What are they doing to obtain adequate calcium?

Ascertain that they consume a substantial amount of food:

  • Broccoli
  • Vegetables with green leaves (possibly add to a smoothie).
  • Beans/pulses
  • Bones
  • Calcium-fortified non-dairy goods

What about people who don’t consume meat? What are they doing to obtain adequate protein?

Ascertain that they consume a substantial amount of food:

  • Beans
  • Peas are a kind of legume (children often like steamed edamame pods)
  • Nuts
  • Seeds

To put it another way, virtually every issue has a solution.

Instructions for beginners

While it may seem to be more convenient to concentrate on daily amounts and quantities, it is preferable to remain flexible. Take a step back and consider the broader picture. It’s enough to go a few days without eating 3 to 5 servings of veggies.

In general, you should make an effort to

  • 3 to 5 servings of vegetables each day (portion size = fist)
  • 2 to 3 servings of fruit every day (serving size = fist)
  • 2-3 servings every day of beans, peasants, meat, and eggs (serving size = palm of hand)
  • 2 to 3 servings of whole grain cereal each day (serving size = fist)
  • 2 to 3 servings of nuts/seeds/olives/avocado/coconut per day (serving size = thumb).

Conclusions and suggestions

What should a child’s daily calorie intake be? They must eat till they are no longer hungry.

What foods should children consume? A combination of unprocessed and lightly processed foods.

What should kids consume? Water and unsweetened tea are the most common beverages.

How do you keep a regular bowel movement? Drink plenty of water, exercise, and eat complete plant foods (vegetables, fruits, beans, whole grains, nuts, seeds).

What is the first thing you can do to assist your children? Create good habits for yourself.

You’ll discover the ideal diet, exercise, and lifestyle recommendations for you, tailored to your specific needs.


To view the sources of information used in this article, go here.

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A good start in life is important. Someone feeding you with healthy foods and giving you enough to eat is a good start in life. That’s why it’s so important that we provide our children with a healthy start.. Read more about precision nutrition meal plan and let us know what you think.

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Una is a food website blogger motivated by her love of cooking and her passion for exploring the connection between food and culture. With an enthusiasm for creating recipes that are simple, seasonal, and international, she has been able to connect with people around the world through her website. Una's recipes are inspired by her travels across Mexico, Portugal, India, Thailand, Australia and China. In each of these countries she has experienced local dishes while learning about the culture as well as gaining insight into how food can be used as a bridge between different cultures. Her recipes are often creative combinations of traditional ingredients from various different cuisines blended together to create something new.