A healthy diet can give your kids a great start in life. The food a child eats can impact on their development and their overall state of health. The British Nutrition Foundation recommends that children should eat a healthy, varied diet which includes starchy carbohydrates, fruit, vegetables, protein and some dairy food.
Of course, it’s much easier to talk about eating the healthy diet recommended by the NHS, than to actually do it. Especially if you’re faced with a brood of fussy eaters. How can you get a little girl who demands a ham sandwich with the crusts cut off at every meal to fall in love with a variety of foods such as bulgur wheat kedgeree with spinach? Here are a few suggestions on how to encourage those fussy eaters to expand the range of food they eat and try new and delicious healthy dishes.
Get the children into the kitchen
There are lots of ways to get children involved in the kitchen and, if they’re anything like mine, they love to “help”. When they’re very young, they can measure ingredients, using cups and spoons. As they grow older, they can help with cracking eggs, stirring and even peeling and slicing (with adult supervision of course). If the children have helped to make a meal and have chosen some of the ingredients, they should be excited to eat it. One of the benefits of cooking like this is that you know exactly what’s in your dinner. You can keep track of the hidden nasties like sugar and salt that you find in some ready-prepared meals.
The thought of trying usual food, such as Indian, or Thai may be a bit daunting, especially if your children are reluctant to try new things. The food doesn’t have to be spicy though. Dishes from the Mediterranean, such as spanakopita (spinach pie), from Greece are delicious and vegetable-rich. If you did want to introduce spices, you could start with dishes such as a mild chicken curry. This way you can control the flavour and use mild spices or curry powder.
A healthy and varied diet which is rich in fruit and vegetables will give your children a great start in life. Eating healthily as youngster will not only help their development, it could prevent a whole raft of health problems later in life. By turning food into an adventure, you can make healthy choices a whole lot easier for them.
Jane Sandwood is a professional freelance writer and content editor with over 10 years’ experience across many fields. Jane has a particular interest in issues relating to health, fitness and nutrition.
Artist, Baker and Blogger. Mum to my two beautiful, cheeky girls. Muddling my way through parenthood with equally cheeky Husband.