Getting your kids to eat healthier
By Payal Banka
Jan 13, 2019
French fries, pizzas and pastas will attract your kids- there’s no second opinion about it. And parents face a tough challenge while getting them to make healthy food choices. It is the common identity of every kid- they will choose their taste buds above everything else and that is the reason they are kids. But we, as parents, cannot escape our duties and helping them make the right food choices. Here’s a list of the healthy but delicious foods for your child:
- Organic Food: Go for certified organic food for your family which are free from chemical fertilizers and synthetic pesticides. These chemicals creep into the food, slowly accumulating in the body and doing more harm than we can think of. This is one of the best ways to ensure your child’s wellbeing to an optimal level.
- Fruits: Include fruits in their diet but make sure to feed them fruits before meals or 2 hours after meals. Foods are the best source of instant energy we need and goods habits are best developed in childhood. With regular fruit intake, you will also see the cravings of your kids getting curbed.
- Wholegrain Bread and Noodles: White, fluffy breads and noodles which literally melt in the mouth are hot favorites for today’s kids. But the regular consumption of refined flour will ultimately make him experience mood swings, weight gain and energy fluctuations. Wholegrain or multigrain breads decompose to glucose, which is needed by your child to keep his energy level high.
- Sweet Potatoes: Serve sweet potatoes in your child’s meals. Sweet potatoes are a storehouse of vital minerals and vitamins including vitamins E and B6, potassium, beta carotene and iron. You can even roast sweet potatoes to make your healthy version of “French Fries”.
- Natural Nut Butters: Most of the nut butters that you see on the store shelves are found to contain refined sugar and unhealthy trans fatty acids. To get your hands on natural nut butters like sesame butters or peanut butters, you may need to visit health food stores. Look for natural nut butters like almond, cashew and peanut butters loaded with essential fats required to promote the health of your child.
- Yogurt: Yogurt happens to be one of the best sources of protein and calcium. In India, we generally culture yogurt at home which is a good practice. Make the food more interesting for your child by adding a wide variety of colorful, delicious fruits.
- Beans: Most children suffer from iron deficiency and you can ensure a steady supply of iron by adding beans to their diet. Beans contain ample fiber and protein and these are just two more reasons for you to include them in your kid’s daily diet. To make things more interesting for them, offer bean dips like hummus.
- Broccoli: Your child may resist having this veggie, loaded with vitamin C and disease fighting chemicals. Make it irresistible for your child by topping it with cheese or by adding it to noodles or any of their favourite delicacies.
- Avocados and Coconuts: Avocados and coconuts are packed with healthy fats. Almost 60 % of a child’s brain is composed of fat. So you may now understand how important avocados are in making your child “brainy”. Use avocado as a spread in place of cheese or mayonnaise. Use coconut in dips,soups or stews.
- Don’t use food as a reward. Rather, take them to a nearby park or buy them something so as to avoid weight problems.
- Have family meals together. Research has shown that children who share meals with their family members are more likely to make healthy food choices as they grow up.
- Show your appreciation when your child makes a healthy choice.
- Ask your child to give you a hand in meal preparation. This way, he will come to learn what “healthy” means.
- Avoid white sugar – Most white sugar is hidden under food labels, so learn t read the food labels well. We will do a post on this soon.
- Avoid refined and processed food and do not pick store bought packets of chips or cookies. They are the worst in terms of the damage they do, not to forget the hidden sugars and transfats.
- Lastly, be a role model. Make sure you eat healthy yourself and do not express your dislike towards any healthy food in front of your children. They are sure to emulate you.
There are options by which you can reduce the degree of “unhealthiness” in certain foods. For example, do not deny straightaway if your child cries for French Fries. Instead, roast some potato sticks in an oven using a bit of olive oil. If she demands candies, give her some fruits or frozen bananas dipped in yogurt or chocolate sauce. Dried fruits will also serve as quick snacks. Do not nag, but allow them some freedom while making food choices.