Kids can be fussy and contrary when it comes to food and many parents worry that they aren’t getting enough healthy food into those growing bodies.
After all, everyone is busy and come dinnertime it can be easier to opt for chicken nuggets or the standard tomato-based pasta if you know it’s guaranteed to get eaten without a fight.
Processed and packaged foods are also cheap and convienient making them an easy option to grab for snacks or lunches, plus they have high appeal for kids.
There is an abundance of advice from dietitians and nutritionists about improving children’s dietary intake but it’s great to know what practical solutions have been tried and tested by other families. With this in mind, we asked our School Mums how they tackled this issue.
Here are some of the great tips they shared:
- Start with simple substitutions – e.g. swapping out some mince for lentils in patties or Bolognese.
- Add grated or pureed veggies into sauces. Zucchini in particular is great to hiding!
- Bake healthy snacks such as fruit muffins, scrolls and slices in batches and freeze.
- Swap white bread, wraps and pasta for wholegrain options.
- Try bento style lunch boxes to add interest and variety to lunchboxes.
- Get kids involved in meal preparation and explain the benefits of healthy food choices to get them on board with changes.
- Left over healthy dinners make good lunches for kids who don’t like sandwiches.
- Make a smoothie packed with fruit, veg and chia seeds for a nutritious snack or breakfast. You can let kids get creative and make their own smoothie bowl which is pretty and delicious!
- Try to recreate packaged foods the kids love like popcorn, fruit straps or muesli bars as they are more likely to eat is as its familiar but you will know it’s a healthier version.
- Hard boiled eggs make a great healthy quick snack or sandwich filling.
- Bulk cook healthy dinners and freeze so there is always something prepared for busy nights rather than take out.
- Cut up extra veg like carrots and capsicum strips when meal prepping and leave in the fridge for snacks.
- Avoid having unhealthy snacks or treats in the cupboards – if you don’t buy it, they can’t eat it.
- Roast or slow cook a large piece of meat for dinner then use leftovers for lunches as an alternative to processed meats.
- Have a snack box stocked with healthy snacks such as fruit, trail mix, rice crackers and popcorn that kids can help themselves to.
- Make fresh food fun with build-your-own dinners using wraps, tacos and pizzas.
My personal favourite piece of advice was: “Keep it simple to reduce the pressure on yourself and your kids.”