Healthy eating rules apply for your kids too. Recent statistics show child obesity is the number one concern in America today. It is estimated approximately 12.7 million (17%) of 2-19 year olds are classified as obese. A healthy diet ensures your child’s energy levels are stabilised and their brains remain sharp and switched on.
Teaching children healthy eating habits at a young age is essential to maintaining those habits throughout their adult life. Your eating habits are the most directly influential habits to your child and you need to set a positive example. However, many parents find a challenge in getting their children to like certain foods as their taste buds are not as fully developed as adults.
It is common for a child to be a fussy eater once they are old enough to consume solids. Your patience will be tested as you may have prepared a meal for hours, only to find your child doesn’t want one mouthful of it! Babies and children tend to like things that are either very sweet or salty. The recipes below incorporate healthy options packed with goodness to fulfil this common tendency.
The best practice is to establish a regular daily eating schedule, but rather than two to three main meals, get your child into the habit of eating five small meals a day.
Follow the format: Breakfast, snack 1, lunch, snack 2, dinner.
For the growing child you want to introduce foods rich in omega 3’s, DHA and proteins to ensure they grow a healthy nervous system, brain and muscles. This includes foods such as fish, nuts and seeds, lean meats and green leafy vegetables.
For Your Baby:
-Baby Apple Puree
-Core two apples and peel the skin off as it can be hard to eat for babies. Dice into quarters.
-Place the apples into a pot and cover with water so the apples are completely covered. Boil the apples and use a strainer to drain the apples. Add them to a food blender. Add baby oatmeal to the mix and allow to cool down before serving.
Sweet Broccoli Puree
This puree consists of broccoli, sweet potato and cauliflower. Broccoli has a sweet taste and is renowned for its high content of vitamins, antioxidants and minerals. Sweet potato is high in niacin which produces the feel-good hormone serotonin. Cauliflower is high in folic acid which is a type of vitamin that helps your baby to produce and maintain new cells.
Wash and chop the vegetables as small as possible and put through a food processor. Boil a small amount of water in a pot and add the vegetable puree. You only need a small amount of water as otherwise the vegetables will lose all the vitamin C content. Leave to simmer with the water level just above the vegetables for 10 minutes.
Berry Good Brekkie
The ingredients for this breakfast are as follows:-
-Pumpkin seeds, or flax seed oil (high in omega 3’s).
-Black currants, blueberries, or frozen berry mix (high in fibre, vitamins, antioxidants and minerals).
-Whole oats (high in fibre and B vitamins, minerals copper, manganese and phosphorus).
-Organic milk, rice milk or goats milk for less allergies (high in vitamin D3 and calcium).
Add all of the ingredients into a pot and heat while mixing thoroughly.
You can use honey as a sweetener for 12 months+ but it is not recommended to serve any child under the age of 12 months honey as it could cause allergies. You can also use a little apple juice as a sweetener. Add a few spoonfuls of bio yogurt to create a creamy texture and set aside to cool down before serving.
Bio yoghurt contains probiotics which are essential for maintaining a healthy balance of bacteria in your baby’s stomach. As babies are prone to put toys in their mouth and other (tasty) substances like sand and dirt, it is vital to keep the bad bacteria at bay.
For Your Child 3 Years +
Berry Good Brekkie (as above)
Add into a blender fresh or frozen blueberries, strawberries and pineapple juice. You can also add a handful of peas or fresh spinach leaves as the taste will be disguised by the fruit.
Serve grilled fish with sides of Organix wholegrain rice and fresh steamed vegetables. Fish contains omega 3’s which are essential for proper growth of brain, nerve cells and immune system. Fish with the highest content of omega 3’s are wild salmon, mackerel, sardines and tuna.
Follow the same recipe as snack 1 (berry smoothie) but you can vary the vegetables that you add into the smoothie. Also add a small amount of pomegranate juice which is a superfood boasting antioxidant properties and is rich in vitamins A,C and E.
Wholemeal homemade pizza
-Organic wholemeal pizza base
-Organix pasta sauce
-Accompanied with a glass of rice milk, goat’s milk or organic cows milk
-Thinly sliced baby carrot sticks served with peanut butter
There is a whole range of children’s supplements available at your local supermarket.
What you want to look for is:
-A general good quality multivitamin which includes vitamin D3. This is a good option when you are first training your child to eat certain foods, as when they are in the fussy eating stage, they may not be getting all the necessary vitamins for growth.
-Omega 3 with DHA. The brand “Haliborange” DHA concentration is a good choice suitable for children and containing all natural ingredients. Omega 3 is essential for good brain and nerve cell growth.
Resources: Obesity prevention-healthy schools www.cdc.gov/healthyschools/obesity/facts.htm
Nutrition data: www.nutritiondata.self.com/facts/fruits-and-fruit-juices/1809/2