Only having healthy nourishing foods in the house is paramount to helping your children establish healthy eating habits, therefore it is important to choose wisely at the supermarket - if you don't have junk food in the cupboards it's simply not an option and it's not only your children that will benefit from this but yourself also.
Lifelong habits can be formed from a young age. So, plant the seeds of health in your children from the get-go and watch them thrive!
Try planting a vegetable garden and/or fruit trees with them. It's a great way of getting more in touch with nature, and at any age there can be great satisfaction in eating things that you've grown yourself.
Ways to include more fruit and vegetables into kids' diets.
- Fresh fruit smoothies
- Make real fruit ice blocks from fresh fruit pureed in the blender then frozen
- Try cutting fruit up into pieces - sometimes kids enjoy this more
- Make rice flour pancakes filled with fruit and probiotic yoghurt - banana and blueberries together are yummy
- Make fruit salad out of chopped fresh fruit
- Keep berries in the freezer - great in a cup for a snack
- Have fruit on porridge/cereal in the morning instead of sugar
Incorporate vegetables in with meals rather than just having them separate (unless that's how your child likes them, some prefer it that way). If they are separate, make fun designs with them on the plate to help make them more enticing if necessary.
Ideas for incorporating more vegetables into meals:
- Homemade vegetable fritters, or patties for hamburgers
- Salads in kebabs, pita pockets, poke bowls or tacos
- Vege bakes
- Vegetable frittata
- Homemade pizzas with an assortment of vegetables on such as spinach or silverbeet, onions, tomatoes, diced pre-steamed pumpkin, capsicum, mushroom, and pumpkin/sunflower seeds sprinkled on top
- Vegetable quiches
- Vegetable fried rice
- Vegetables - tempura / pakora style - pieces of vegetables lightly cooked in a chickpea or brown rice flour batter, they could also be crumbed with hemp hearts
- Savoury crepes with an assortment of vegetables in and homemade sauce
- Chopped raw vegetable sticks with hummus or guacamole dip - carrot, celery, cucumber, capsicum, beetroot
- Salad sandwiches or filled rolls
- Asparagus rolls
- Vegetable soups
- Pumpkin and sunflower seeds lightly roasted in olive oil and tamari
- Raw nuts, although not considered as vegetables, but still highly nutritious
Key things to avoid when making food choices at the supermarket are artificial flavours, colours, and preservatives, refined foods e.g white pasta, rice, white bread etc, sugar, artificial sweeteners, hydrogenated oils, and canola oil. Read ingredient lists on packaging. A good way to eat healthier is to choose whole foods (preferably organic) and foods that are closer to their natural unrefined state.
And last but not least, lead by example. The healthier your eating habits are, the more likely your children will follow in your footsteps and also be healthy eaters.