How do you ensure your kids get their five a day? It’s a question we’re constantly asked at maternity & infant HQ – how to get your kids to eat more fruit and veg. The task gets even harder as their schedules get busier, and of course as our schedules get busier too!
One of our fail-safe options is Keelings Snack Pots, which this year are available as a multipack, making packed lunches easier than ever. “A common battle in many households surrounds the eating of fruits and vegetables,” Keelings nutritionist Aveen Bannon told us. “Some children can be extremely stubborn over what they will and will not eat and it can be frustrating for a parent. Firstly, try not to worry. If your child sees that you are concerned about their eating habits, it might make mealtimes more stressful and make your child less likely to eat.”
Try one of Aveen’s top tips to encourage your kids to get their five a day:
✹ REMEMBER THAT KIDS LIVE BY EXAMPLE. Ensure that you and any other grownups in the house are eating a balanced diet and let your child see you enjoying a variety of fruits and vegetables.
✹ EAT TOGETHER. One faltering trend in Irish homes is the act of should be a fun and sociable occasion. It is an important time for interaction as a family and also an important time for children to learn and see their parents eating a variety of healthy foods.
✹ GET THEM INVOLVED. Getting a child involved in meal preparation and cooking is important. Teach them to pick something from each of these four groups: carbohydrates, protein, vitamins and minerals and calcium. This will force them to pick something in the form of fruit or vegetables.
✹ CREATE A RAINBOW CHART. For younger kids, try using a rainbow chart. Each day they need to pick a colour from a rainbow to eat at each meal. Then get them to fill in each colour of the rainbow that they ate. Ideally, encourage them to eat one colour at breakfast, include two colours in their lunchbox and one or two colours at dinnertime as well as a colourful snack.
✹ HEALTHY SNACKING. Agree a healthy snack list with your kids and stick it on the fridge, involve your child in food shopping, encouraging them to weigh fruits and vegetables and any foods you want them to take notice of.
✹ “DISGUISE” VEG IN HOT DISHES. Another way to increase a child’s veggie intake is to add vegetables to hot dishes, such as casseroles and curries. Add peas and chopped or grated carrot to shepherd’s pie, include pieces of vegetable in lasagne, or add slices of pepper, onion or sweetcorn and other veg to pizza toppings. You could mix in some mashed carrot, cauliflower, parsnip or swede with your usual mashed potato.
✹ TRY RAW VEG. You might be surprised to find that sometimes children prefer raw vegetables, so try giving them sticks of raw carrot, cherry tomatoes, cucumber or pepper to nibble on.
✹ BLEND. Often, children are put off by the texture of fruit and vegetables, rather than the taste. So try making your own milkshakes and smoothies by blending puréed fruit and vegetables with milk or yoghurt.
✹ FINALLY, and importantly, don’t forget that children might need to be exposed to a food 8-10 times before they’ll eat it, so if they refuse the first time, just keep trying!
maternity & infant
Originally posted 2016-10-20 16:39:49.