Healthy Eating for Kids
Encourage kids to eat vegetables
Make sure your veggies taste good – cook them until just firm, not mushy. Finish them with a splash of olive oil or top with a little grated cheese.
Set a good example – let the kids see both Mum and Dad enjoying vegetables and salads.
Let them serve themselves at the table. This gives them a feeling of independence and allows them to choose how much they want.
If necessary, ‘hide’ grated vegetables such as carrot or zucchini into meatloaf, rissoles or spaghetti sauce.
Try home-made pizza – it’s a kid-friendly way to serve vegetables. Start with flatbread or pita bread as the base. Spread with tomato paste, sprinkle with herbs and let your child add vegetable toppings along with diced ham and grated mozzarella cheese.
Offer veggies raw – try celery sticks, capsicum strips, cherry tomatoes, whole button mushrooms, carrot (grated or steamed before age 3), snow peas, beans, cucumber or steamed asparagus.
Up their fibre
Buy a lighter style whole grain bread or a soft wholemeal rather than white from the time you first introduce solids. If you already have kids who will only eat white bread, go for the white ‘high’ types.
Use legumes (lentils, chickpeas and beans) to bulk up casseroles, Mexican dishes and salads.
Encourage kids to eat fruit like apples and pears with the skin on.
Shop for high-fibre kid-friendly cereals such as Sultana Bran, especially if any of your children have trouble with constipation.
Keep healthy snacks on hand
Stock up on healthy snacks for your kids:
yoghurt, plain or fruit
crispbread with cheese or peanut butter
fresh bread or toast (ideally whole grain) with spread
sultanas, dried apricots, raisins or mixed snack
plain muesli bars or nut-based types
raisin loaf, toasted
nuts (for children over 3 years)
nuts and dried fruit snack pack.
Many snacks rate as mini meals – baked beans, cuppa soup and toast, pizza muffins, bowl of cereal and milk, milkshakes or smoothies, tub of yoghurt.
Don’t forget the fluids
Always have cold water in the fridge and carry a water bottle for them when you’re out. Water is the ideal thirst quencher.
Dilute fruit juice 50:50 with water. Limit it to a glass a day.
Offer milk or water with meals.
Save soft drinks for parties and other treat times.
Cut back on the saturated fat
From the age of 2 years, reduced-fat milk and yoghurt is fine. Most kids don’t object if you do it then. It’s likely to be a different story if you leave it until after they go to school.
If they nag you for hot chips, go for the oven fries made with healthy fats like canola oil.
Look for the 97 percent fat-free instant noodles rather than the regular version. Most parents don’t realise that instant noodles are a high 17 percent fat!
About The Author
Catherine Saxelby is a dietician and nutritionist who writes articles on health and well being for Australian health insurance provider ahm. She regularly provides healthy eating and nutrition advice for people looking for health insurance and health cover.To know more about,visit our site www.ahm.com.au