With Nutritionist Lisa Baker
Have you ever wondered if your kids are getting the right amount of nutrients they need? Don’t worry, so has almost every other parent ever. Our resident nutritionist and mumma Lisa Baker has come up with 5 clever tips to help your kids get those all too important fruits and veggies in. Try incorporating one at a time, remember, each child is different and learning a healthy habit takes time, so don’t be too hard on yourself, you’re doing great!
Make it fun
Making mealtimes fun is a great way to encourage kids to eat. Sometimes this can mean getting creative and turning your meals into playful works of art (The Nutritious Land Before Time is one of my recent favourites). Sometimes it just means that you need to bring some fun and imaginative energy to the table. Keeping the energy light, fun and playful encourages kids to try new things and get involved, no more nagging for the broccoli to go down. Nutrition for kids isn’t just about getting the nutrients in today, it’s about developing a healthy relationship with food long term.
Do your kids constantly reject certain foods? It’s frustrating right?! Well don't give up (unless they are allergic or it actually makes them sick). Rather than not buying that food any more, just serve up smaller portions, regularly, alongside foods that your kids have already deemed “acceptable.” Seeing the food over and over again will make the food more familiar, and smaller portions will make it less intimidating. Eventually, your little one may just surprise you!
The dinner plate is no place for an aesthetically pleasing neutral palette. You want that plate to explode with colour. The more colourful the better. Colour is nature's way of communicating a variety of nutrients, and kids are just instinctively drawn to it. If they are eating colour, they are eating healthy (unless it's lollies - that's definitely not what I meant. The colour has to come from nature not additive E129).
Sneak the good stuff in
There's nothing wrong with a little bit of stealthy nutrition to top up kids nutritional intake for the day. Do your kids just flat out reject vegetables, but think pasta is fine? Well puree up as much veggie action as you can and then coat it in pasta sauce. You just do what you gotta do. Nutrition by stealth was a huge part of the inspiration behind our kids range of Veggie Hero, Choc Whiz, Berry Immune and Captain Calm, and yes parents sighing with relief, you are welcome! In an ideal world, our kids would be eating all the fruit and vegetables by choice, in a less than ideal world, it's good to have a few tricks up our sleeves.
Take your time
Sometimes this one is easier said than done, but it still needs to be said. Take your time around meal time! To encourage healthy eating and healthy relationships with food, the feeling of rushing needs to go. Especially with really small kids, food and eating is an exploration and learning process. Having one foot out the door when you're trying to get everyone fed is a recipe for disaster. Allowing time for kids to try a little bit of this and that during meal times, and throughout the day, will result in a well fed child (and a messy home, but these tips are all about nutrition, the house can wait).