Sugar free living makes for a sweet life: Wanstead doctor writes mummy meal time manual

PUBLISHED: 12:00 16 April 2017 | UPDATED: 10:11 18 April 2017

Nutritionist author Dr Sarah Schenker with children Daniel, 9 and Jacob 8. All pictures Ken Mears.

Nutritionist author Dr Sarah Schenker with children Daniel, 9 and Jacob 8. All pictures Ken Mears.


After becoming dependant on sugary snacks and feeling terrible while raising her first child, Dr Sarah Schenker vowed to try a different method with her second. Reporter Ellena Cruse spoke to the nutritionist about the release of her debut book on sugar free eating for all the family

Nutritionist author Dr Sarah Schenker preparing food at home with children Daniel, 9 and Jacob 8 Nutritionist author Dr Sarah Schenker preparing food at home with children Daniel, 9 and Jacob 8

Newborns smell amazing: They are a joy to cuddle and beautiful to look at.

Indeed many parents try to hold on to these loving feelings when they are dragging themselves out of bed for the fourth night feed in as many hours. 
Raising a child is one of the most fulfilling things to do but it is also one of the toughest and surviving on three hours sleep a day can make the zombies on the Walking Dead look like co-ordinated individuals in comparison.

Nutritionist and dietitian Dr Sarah Schenker, of Wanstead, fell into the “sugar trap” with her first son and used unhealthy snacks to cope with sleep deprivation and energy levels.

Feeling terrible and drained, she tried a new approach when she had her second.

Dr Sarah Schenker writing healthy recipies Dr Sarah Schenker writing healthy recipies

“You can spend all evening shopping and pureeing organic ingredients for you child but then when it comes to you, you grab a glass of wine and half a pack of Jaffa cakes,” she said.

“Second time around I had gone sugar free and I felt so much better and it was because I was eating better – I could deal with a toddler and a new born.”

Inspired by what a difference diet had made to her life she decided to write a book, My Sugar Free Baby and Me, to share helpful meal ideas and health advice.

“Each recipe takes a shared ingredient and you can mash it for the baby but also use it for your meal,” she said.

Sarah reading her book. Sarah reading her book.

From chocolate butterbean brownies to chicken hazelnut and green bean salad, Sarah has come up with a range of tasty nutritious meal ideas that cater for every palette.

The book is different to run-of-the-mill weaning books and on top of providing delicious, simple recipes, it also gives information on mum’s wellbeing, including how you can get a better night sleep.

“The book is about eating all together, so that you are not doing lots of different meals with different tastes for each family member. That encourages fussy eating,” added Sarah.

“I also wanted to do something about including babies at meal times as they shouldn’t be fed in isolation but as part of the family so they can learn.”

Nutritionist author Dr Sarah Schenker preparing food at home with children Daniel, 9 and Jacob 8 Nutritionist author Dr Sarah Schenker preparing food at home with children Daniel, 9 and Jacob 8

The mummy manual progresses through each stage of weaning up to the one year mark, when the infant should mainly be eating the same as the rest of the family.

The 43-year-old, who has had over 20 years expertise with nutrition, said the book is not about “demonising” sugar but showing what can fuel you better.

“I am not one of those tiger mums who won’t let their kids eat birthday cake, but there needs to be a balance,” she said

“People can become really dependant on sugar and it sets you up on a dangerous spiral – you feed yourself but you don’t nourish yourself.

“The book is about bounding with your baby through food and about enjoying food and developing good eating habits together.

“When you feel good you are more likely to go out and socialise at baby groups and go for that walk. Food is the cornerstone of life.”


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