Kids and mealtimes can be frustrating, as parents we know that they need to be filling up on healthy foods to thrive but getting them to do so is never easy. If you want to get your child’s diet right, here are a few things you can do.
One of the most beneficial things you can do in terms of your child’s diet and overall wellbeing is to eat together as a family. Research has shown that families that eat together multiple times a week are more likely to be closer, leading to lower incidences of teenage pregnancy, drug and alcohol use. Eating together can also lead to reduced risk of childhood obesity, as when you cook from scratch you know exactly what’s gone into the food. If you’re in the habit of feeding children and adults separately, it’s well worth combining mealtimes. Let your kids see you fill up on healthy and delicious food, it sets a good example to them. Make eating dinner together a habit, and something you can all enjoy.
Sneak in fruits and vegetables
We all know kids are picky, as much as we’d like them to tuck into a big plate of greens- chances are, they won't. But thankfully there are lots of ways you can sneak them into their diet disguised in other foods until they come around to the idea of eating their fruits and veggies. Chop vegetables finely using a food processor, and mix this in with ground meat. It bulks it out so saves on money, but once it’s all cooked together you can’t tell the difference in taste or texture. You could even throw a handful of small red lentils in there too, you’d be surprised how well these things go undetected. Use this meat and veg mixture for things like lasagna, chilli con carne, spaghetti bolognese and cottage pie. Smoothies are another way to get goodness into kids, most will sip on a tasty sweet smoothie even if they won’t eat the whole fruit. Just be sure to give it as a meal rather than a drink or snack due to the sugar content. If you mix with some oats and yoghurt in the blender with frozen fruit, it makes a nutrient rich, balanced breakfast.
Be aware of food intolerances
Food intolerances can be difficult to pinpoint, as the effects don't always show for a while after the food is consumed. But if your child is often lethargic and feels sick and serious medical problems have been ruled out, it could well be food sensitivities. Lab tests can confirm this, from there you’re able to avoid giving them those ingredients.
Encourage healthy snacking
Snacking has a bad reputation, but that’s only because of what we commonly tend to snack on. If you choose healthy options, snacking can be a useful part of a healthy diet. Have a big bowl of fruit somewhere in your home that kids are allowed to help themselves to when they’re hungry. Otherwise you could chop some veggies or berries and keep them in tupperware containers in the fridge. As humans, we don't tend to overeat on these kinds of things and so if you child wants to eat this kind of snack then you know they’re genuinely hungry.