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Meet our nutritionist

Jo Rayner

Jo Rayner is a paediatric dietician with 20 years’ experience under her belt – she is also a mum of two, and our in-house nutritional guru.

Like so many parents, she is a practised multi-tasker and juggles working for the NHS alongside running her own freelance dietician practice and a nutrition consultancy.

In her ‘spare time’ she is also a school governor. We’re not sure when she sleeps but we do know that when it comes to children and nutrition, Jo has the answers and has kindly shared some of them below to make your life a little easier…

‘It can feel like the advice is always changing, but don’t worry’

You know you just want to do what’s best for your child, but it can be confusing with so much - often conflicting - advice from health professionals, friends, family and the internet. By choosing evidence-based advice from a registered dietitian or nutritionist you can rest assured that it will be the best for your baby and up-to-speed with the latest government guidance. Thanks to new research, advice is often updated because if we find a better way to do something it’s only fair to share it so everyone can benefit – no-one ever stops learning, not even the health professionals.

‘Early habits can last a lifetime’

How children learn to eat builds the foundations for behaviours and habits that last a lifetime. Having access to healthy foods early on in life can influence the choices children make when they are older. A wide and varied diet full of nutrient-dense food in appropriate amounts is the key to food confidence and long-lasting healthy eating habits.

‘It’s a balance – expect strange faces, happiness, and plenty of mess’

There’s nothing more satisfying than seeing a baby’s enjoyment of food growing and their wonder in exploring new tastes and textures. Sometimes convincing a baby that a new vegetable, especially a bitter one like broccoli, is delicious can take a lot of patience and multiple tries. Watching them enjoy a food that’s taken a while to establish is very rewarding and the faces they pull will be priceless. Although eating is about getting the right balance of nutrients, it’s also a sociable event and mealtimes are really important family times. Children learn valuable social skills through copying adults. There can be plenty of fun to be had with food, and mealtime should be a happy – if sometimes messy – time.