Help your children grow

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ou know that eating healthy is a choice that takes willpower and determination. But getting your child to do the same can be a challenge. Here are some tips to get your child eating a healthy diet in no time.

As a parent, you know what’s best for your child’s health. But in a world full of sweets and fizzy drinks, your child can become discouraged when it comes to eating healthily.

Here are a couple of tips and tricks to get your child interested in living a happy and healthy lifestyle.

Vegetables

Get them while they're hungry. While you cook their dinner, serve up sticks of raw carrots, celery and cucumber and child-sized cherry tomatoes with low-fat dips.

Ring the changes. Steamed, sautéed, baked – a vegetable that your child finds unappealing prepared one way they might declare delicious when cooked in another.

Hide and seek. Smuggle finely chopped vegetables into pizza toppings, spaghetti sauce, macaroni cheese or burgers.

Fruit

Make it special. Top a really colourful fruit salad with a spoonful of low-fat yogurt or sprinkle it with zero calorie sugar alternatives like SPLENDA®.

Make it fun. Get them making pictures on plates using fruit shapes, and filling melon boats with smaller fruit like strawberries and blueberries.

Repackage it... in pancakes, muffins, smoothies and puddings, or even dip it fondue style into a little melted chocolate if you must!

Out of the box

The lunch box is a great place to start off healthy eating habits – here are some ideas for wholesome, appetising additions:

  • Water, a can of vegetable juice, or milk rather than soft or sweet drinks
  • Whole wheat bread, bagels, pita bread, or wraps
  • Individual servings of fresh or canned fruit (in a light syrup or its own juice)
  • Low-fat yogurts or cheese
  • Baked, rather than deep fried, chips and snacks
  • Low-fat or fat-free turkey breast, chicken breast, or roast beef
  • Dried fruit, trail mix, granola bars, fig bars, or a high-fibre breakfast bar (but check the sugar content on the label – some have surprisingly high amounts)
  • Hummus, raita, tzaziki and tomato salsas all make tasty dips for pitta bread or vegetable sticks
Snack attacks

Children have small stomachs but big energy requirements, so they do actually need to snack between meals. Why not try some of these simple swaps, and you’ll be cutting down on sugar, salt and fat and upping the nutrient levels instead:

  • Dried fruit such as mango and banana instead of sweets
  • Toasted sunflower or pumpkin seeds, or a rice cracker instead of chips
  • Sorbets instead of ice cream
  • A low-fat yogurt instead of a chocolate bar
Healthy tip

Why not let them in the kitchen and encourage them to make their own. Give them a good understanding of what goes into the food they eat, and you’re giving them a great start in life.