Empower your child's diet this new school year!

Schools are either about to start or your kids have already gone back so why not start the school year with a healthy kick! 

Healthy eating during childhood is important in order to have a good intake of nutrients for growth and development, improved concentration, as well as establishing healthy eating habits at an early age, which is hopefully maintained throughout adulthood. So, here are the basics…Slide1

Brekkie! A healthy breakfast is an essential meal for children as it boosts their energy levels throughout the day. Other benefits include better concentration and mental performance, less fatigue and improved learning, to name a few. Ideal breakfast choices should be quick and readily available. Breakfast foods include:

  • Wholewheat or wholegrain breakfast cereals such as wheat biscuits, muesli or bran cereals or porridge 
  • Fresh fruits
  • Wholemeal or multigrain bread or toast
  • Toast toppings such as baked beans, eggs, cheese or spreads
  • Fruit or plain yoghurts
  • Full-fat or low fat milk if your child is over the age of 2

Packed Lunches: When preparing  school lunches, make sure you include foods from all the major food groups & keep it varied. An ideal lunchbox can constitute of:

  • Vegetables
  • Fresh fruit
  • Dairy food – cheese or yoghurt (low fat varieties OK for kids over the age of 2)
  • Protein – slice of lean meat, hard-boiled egg or beans
  • Carbohydrates – key is wholegrain/wholemeal bread, roll, pita or flat bread, fruit bread or crackers
  • Water

Ideal Snack Choices?

  • Fresh or canned fruit – try making fruit kebabs, or chopped fruit in a sealed container
  • Vegetable sticks (e.g. carrot, cucumber, capsicum) with healthy dips
  • Raisin toast or scones 
  • Rice cakes topped with vegetables, cheese, vegemite or sliced bananas
  • Dried fruit and unsalted nuts (not suitable for children under 5)
  • Yoghurt (natural or fruit)
  • Healthy fruit/oat muffins

Remember, Kids are fussy! I will be addressing this topic in detail in a seperate post but until there, here are some pointers:

  • Presentation is VERY important to get children eating so make vegetables and fruit look great on the plate.
  • Serve different coloured fruits and vegetables and chop them on a special plate, if your child prefers one.
  • For reluctant eaters, keep trying a new fruit and vegetable once a week. Offer fruits and vegetables of different textures but remember that texture of foods also depends on your child’s developmental stage. 
  • To get your kids interested, involve them in preparing their food such as making fruit kebabs or mini pizzas. 

And finally, some food for thought…A bad diet can involve either over consumption of unhealthy foods or being undernourished. Being overweight increases the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart and breathing problems. Being undernourished can delay growth and mental development, which could lead to serious vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Find your child’s balance and keep your family healthy throughout this new school year and for many, many more years to come!

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