Healthy eating is essential for everyone, but it can be especially tricky to get our kids to eat right. I bet you're nodding your head in agreement.
Now that school is back, let's look at some creative ways to make healthy eating fun for our kids, as well as practical tips on how you can encourage your children to make nutritious food choices. Let's turn mealtime into an enjoyable activity!
Child nutrition recommendations
The Australian Guidelines to healthy eating recommends that our kids eat from five groups:
- Grain foods and keep them wholegrain wherever possible and/or high cereal fibre options
- Vegetables, legumes and beans
- Lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts and seeds, as well as legumes and beans
- Milk, yoghurt, cheese or alternatives and use reduced-fat options where possible
- Processed foods
- Sugary drinks
- Salty foods
Remember it's about enjoying a balanced diet from each of the five food groups above.
Moderation is key.
If you cut everything out, your child may over-enjoy when they get the opportunity or when they're old enough to buy their own snacks and food.
A great way to encourage your child to eat healthily is to eat well and make healthy choices yourself.
Kids, especially from a young age, tend to mimic what older kids and adults are doing, so if you're a great role model and eat healthy (in front of your kids, at least, lol), then they'll want to eat healthy too.
- Offer a variety of colourful fruits and vegetables at mealtime. Start at morning or afternoon tea time with healthy snacks for your kids and go from there.
- Let them help with planning meals
- Encourage your kids to get involved with meal prep. Our Kiddies Food Kutter is a great way to do this.
- Take them grocery shopping or let them do an online order and let them choose healthy foods to try
How can I encourage my child to eat healthily?
In our opinion, the key here is encouragement. If you go in all guns blazing and say, "you will eat this." You're probably not going to get a warm reception, are you? As adults, we wouldn't take kindly to that approach, so is your child going to? Especially if you have a child with learning and behavioural challenges.
And what's the best way to encourage a child to do something?
Make it fun, of course.
- With games or conversation starters
- Introduce fun coloured kid's plates or bowls. If your child doesn't like food touching, then our divided re-play kid's plates or re-play divided trays are perfect.
- The ARK Texture Spoon Tip is a great way to wake up kids' mouths, increase awareness, and stimulate the lips, tongue, cheeks and jaw.
And don't forget to praise your child when you have success and find something they like. Or praise them for trying. It's important to encourage "trying" as they never know they may like it after all, so always encourage that too.
Fresh Fruits and Veggies
Fruits and raw veggies can always be a good choice for a healthy kid's snack or to have as a meal/with a meal. The Fruit and Veggies Toolkit for Kids is a great resource and worth checking out.
Don't forget fruits and veggies are great to add to smoothies as a sneaky way to get them into your child's diet.
Think about some meals that you sneak some vegetables into too:
One thing to remember that we parents tend to forget sometimes with the other gazillion things running around in our heads is that sometimes some fruits can be high in sugar and carbs too. Given it is a better sugar than processed foods and drinks, but it's still sugar and can lead to weight gain if you go too overboard.