We all know that habits start at a young age. So it’s really important to help children learn and to enjoy healthy food choices by introducing them to a wide variety of foods, early on. The best way to do this is through play.
Introduce new foods to your young ones by making fruit and vegetable creations with them. Country Kitchens Pinterest page has some fabulous ideas.
Pick an activity your young child or grandchildren really likes. When it’s time for a snack, make it fresh fruit and yoghurt. The extra serve of fruit will increase fibre intake and the protein in the yoghurt will fill them up, diminishing the desire to snack more.
Involve children in making choices in the kitchen, such as what should we have with our pasta tonight. This way you’ll be encouraging them to take responsibility for their food selections as they grow. And you’ll be improving their food literacy as well as their nutrition.
Another idea is to encourage kids to contribute to the shopping list, focusing attention on what fruits and vegetables they’d like included. When shopping allow children to choose a new fruit or vegetable that your family has never tried before.
Craft is a good way to involve children with positive food associations, especially if you’re not a cook or find cooking laborious.
When children are irritable or combative, try avoiding discretionary items like chocolate, sweets or chips. Easier said than done sometimes. But, if the younger members of your family have favourite foods that are everyday foods, such as an apple, banana or berries, make that the reward for improved behaviour or for doing a task they are asked to do.
When making a roast, prepare an extra-large tray of pumpkin, potato, carrot, parsnip, onion, and even beetroot and use these in sandwiches and salads, and as snacks.
If children are fussy about certain flavours, you can easily sweeten a meal with vegetables such as carrot, cherry tomatoes or pumpkin.
Eat a rainbow! Each distinct colour vegetable carries its own set of unique disease fighting chemicals called phytochemicals. So make it a game by asking children how many colours they can get into the days’ meals. Remember we “eat with our eye,” so including different coloured vegetables makes a meal visually more appealing, as well as adding a variety of nutrients.
Teaching children how quick, easy and enjoyable preparing vegetables or fruits at home can be is a fundamental way to set them up well for their future relationship with food.
For more information go to www.eatforhealth.com.au.