BROUGHT TO YOU BY BLACKMORES
Managing your children's nutrition can be a bit of a juggling act. Blackmores naturopath Rebekah Russell shares her tips on how to help take charge of their eating today to help them enjoy better health tomorrow.
While the need for nourishment is the same at every age, different ages place slightly different demands on children.
As young children begin to socialise in daycare, school or simply group play, these new environments can present a challenge to their immune system as they come into contact with new and different germs. The result can be frequent runny noses and colds, as well as the dreaded tummy bug.
At the same time, young children can be fussy about what they eat.
On top of that, the early school years can be very demanding. Children are growing at a rapid rate physically, mentally and emotionally.
Ensuring both pre-school and school-aged children consume appropriate levels of essential nutrients can assist in supporting the development of essential tools for their schooling, behaviour and concentration, as well as growth and development.
5 ways to get your kids to eat healthy foods
1. Set a good example
When it comes to healthy eating, how you eat will help influence how your kids eat. If you eat and enjoy fruit and vegetables every day, your children may eventually follow your lead.
2. Offer variety & choice
Offer children a variety of healthy foods every day
When it comes to plating up, offering kids two to three fruit or vegetable choices in a variety of colours at each meal is a smart idea. Choosing between baby carrots or celery sticks allows children to make decisions and exercise power.
3. Add fruits and vegetables to favourite foods
Adding fruits and vegetables to favourite foods is an easy way to get kids to eat more of them - think adding sliced bananas or fresh berries on top of cereal or sneak in some extra vegies to spaghetti sauce.
4. Make it easy
Keep a bowl of fresh fruit handy, and vegetables such as peas, cherry tomatoes, baby carrots and mushrooms in the fridge to grab for a quick snack.
5. Get them involved
Kids are more likely to try something they've helped prepare. Get your kids interested in making healthy recipes or have them help find recipes to try.
What not to do
Don't offer snacks close to meal times. This will help ensure your children are hungry and will more likely eat what is on their plate.
If a food is rejected don't make a big deal of it, and just try it another time. Children may need to taste a new food a number of times in order to decide whether they like the taste.
Don't give children new food when they are tired and fussy. They are less likely to try it or enjoy it.
Nutritious lunchbox ideas for kids health
Sending a child off for the day with a healthy lunchbox can help to maintain their energy levels all day long.
Get your kids involved in what goes into their lunch box – they are more likely to eat it all!
What to include:
- sliced and easy to manage vegetables like carrot, celery, cucumber and tomato
- whole grain breads, pita bread, wraps
- yoghurt tubs
- mixture of seeds, dates and sultanas
- small tins of tuna or salmon
- boiled eggs
What to try to avoid:
- fruit juice substitutes, cordial and soft drinks
- low fibre breads
- muesli bars/fruit strips (unless homemade)
Let's face it – we're not always going to be able to control everything our kids eat and do.
Got a question about your kid's nutrition? Ask a Blackmores naturopath for FREE personalised advice at www.blackmores.com.au/ask-a-naturopath.