Ways to Encourage Your Kids to Eat Healthy

We know the little ones can be some of the fussiest, most picky eaters – which makes it more difficult for us to keep them well-fed with a balanced, nutritious diet. Below are several tips on pushing through the finicky stage and encouraging your kids to eat healthy.

 

Have a Creative ‘Packaging’

Present food in a way that is visually interesting and stimulating their senses. You can do this in various ways: put them in your children’s favourite food – for example, carrots in lasagne or cookies; using cute cups to serve healthy drinks for kids such as fruit juice and milk; adding familiar flavours to new food – for example, BBQ glaze sauce on celeries and broccolis.

 

Involve Your Children in Meal Planning

Take your children through the steps of meal planning: read cookbooks together to pick out interesting recipes, have them pick out the fruits and vegetables at the grocery stores, and recruit their help in rinsing peas, mixing batter or tasting the dish before serving.

 

Relax…

When it comes to feeding your kids, it can be tempting to always take the position of authority and talk down. However, this might not be the most effective strategy to get your kids to eat healthy food on their own. Instead, try indirect, more relaxed approaches. Set examples by eating vegetables on your own. Give them some control in the quantity of veggies they’re going to eat to suit their true appetite. When your children are trying something new, do not pressure them with overwhelming attention – if you act like it is commonplace, they are more likely to follow through and try more new things in the future.

 

…But Also, Be Persistent

Remember: the goal is not to get them to eat veggies tonight, but for the rest of their lives. It can take 10-15 tries before children start to accept a new food. So don’t despair if they refuse to eat the zucchini today – try presenting the option again tomorrow, maybe with a different texture, temperature or seasoning. Slow and steady can be the way to go.

Healthy Kids Lunch Plans

The Healthy Kids Association (HKA), one of the main players in keeping kids healthy in Australia, has put together their Core 4 Plus 1 rule, which helps parents structure kids lunchboxes the healthy way and still keep them interesting.

The HKA Core Lunch plan suggests that lunches be nutritious and filling. So that is the first part of the “core”, or the basic lunch.

Then they suggest the “core snack” which would come from a variety of the five food groups. This is followed by the “core fruit” which is where it becomes interesting for us. They suggest that the fruit be low fructose, like fruit or mixed berries.

From there, there is the “core drink.”  The HKA suggests a water bottle.

So how about this for an idea: Investigate the value of watermelon juice, made from pressed watermelon. A superfood, it provides a lot of beneficial nutrition for children’s body. Or, pack two! It is filling and comes in its own organic portable bottles. And obviously, you could still add that water bottle.

This is finished off with the option of having an extra core snack for “active kids” in need of more energy.

Tips to Improve Your Eating Plan in 2017

2017 is here – a perfect time to kickstart the pursuit of new goals. The term “new year, new you” might sound like a cliché, but why not try to make a real change in your life? This could start with better diet and eating habits. Here are a few tips that you could try to make 2017 a better year for your health and palate.

Opt for whole grains instead of processed carbs

Consumption of whole grains is associated with lower risks of obesity and diabetes as well as improved heart health, according to Dr. Walter Willett, chair of nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health.

“Many of the cereal grains and breads we eat are heavily processed, which is not what you want,” Willett’s colleague, Dr. David Ludwig told TIME. “You want something where you can see bits of kernel in it, and that has a dense, chewy consistency… Basically, the opposite of Wonder Bread.” Ludwig recommended “sprouted” or “stoneground” grain breads to get the best health benefits.

Eat more vegetables

It goes without saying that vegetables are good for you – the vitamins, minerals and fibres help prevent heart disease, cancers and weight gain. But did you know that most Australians only eat half of the recommended quantity of vegetables a day?

Eat for Health recommends 5 serves of vegetables per day for adults – which means around 2.5 cups of cooked green vegetables 5 cups of raw salad vegetables. So make sure you always have some veggies in your plate!

Don’t drink your calories

With the plethora of drink options available – from sports drinks and juices to coffee and tea – water remains the best choice. It will keep you hydrated without the added sugar and calories, keeping your weight in check.

Fats: eat the good, avoid the bad

Fat has long been blamed for weight issues, but it is actually an important part of our diet. Fat is a significant source of energy which also helps vitamin absorption and cell regeneration.

The trick is to choose the ‘good’ fats from the ‘bad’ ones. According to Harvard Health Publications, the bad ones include trans fats and saturated fats, which could increase LDL cholesterol level as well as the risks of heart diseases. These could be found in red meat, cheese, whole-milk dairy products, and more.

The good ones include unsaturated fats, which can lower cholesterol levels and risks of heart diseases. These fats could be found in avocados, flaxseed, a number of oils (such as canola, peanut, olive), most nuts (such as walnut), and fatty fish (such as salmon, mackerel, trout).