the conscious choice- NUTRITION TIPS FOR CHILDREN
What children eat in the early adolescent years will influence their life, years later when they become adults. Right eating habits instilled early on help prevent a multitude of health issues and diseases such as Diabetes, Obesity, Chronic Gut issues etc. Start early so they can stay healthy longer.
- Fresh fruits and vegetables. Visualize half the plate with fruits and vegetables and try incorporating them in every meal. 5 portions a day is recommended.
- Include your child in the planning and prepping of family meals. Try to have them sit down and eat together as a family and not in front of the TV.
- Limit refined foods- encourage whole grain meals instead.
- Encourage fresh foods with as little processing as possible – nutrients are retained better this way. For example, steaming and light sauté rather than overcooking.
- Tackle sugar loaded treats by baking them at home instead of store-bought ones. Use alternative sweeteners like maple syrup, honey, fruits and berries for sweetness.
- Add less salt to cooking and remove salt dispensers from the table.
- Promote physical activity- at least an hour a day.
- Restrict television and computer games. Too much exposure replaces the desire for physical activity.
- Reduce high sugar drinks with berry smoothies and juices. A mix of vegetables and fruits is also better.
- Restrict drinks with artificial colouring and flavours.
- Promote drinking of water. 8-10 glasses a day. It helps with better digestion and keeps your child well hydrated.
- Crisps, chips, pies, pastries are loaded with high saturated fats and sugars. Limit the intake of these products as high levels lead to obesity and tooth decay among other risks.
- Grill or bake food instead of frying. If you have to fry food, then be conscious of the fat in the oil you are using.
- Encourage small but multiple meals. If your child wants more, he or she will ask you.
- Do not purchase junk foods. If children do not see them, they will not ask for them.
- Reward your child with activities and games rather than with food thereby encouraging a healthier lifestyle.
Adapted from: Nutrition for Children – a no nonsense guide for Parents by Dr. Wyndham Boobier Source: Choosemyplate.gov