Ten Tips To Help Children Eat Healthy.
- Set a good example. If you skip breakfast they will. Breakfast improves child’s concentration and less likely to snack on unhealthy foods.
- Slow down. Don’t rush a meal. When introducing new foods put it in a bowl on table and let help themselves, e.g. sweet potato puree, say that you spotted them while shopping and thought you all might like to taste. (Don’t put on child’s plate as may cause confrontation)
- Try and try again. If the child does not like a certain food, wait a while and try again. Compliment for tasting food. It has been scientifically proved that in most cases if we try a food several times we eventually develop a taste for it. We must also accept there are some foods they do not like-ever.
- Think fruit and veg. Introduce as they appear in season, show them to the kids and explain why it is important to eat them. If the children wont eat cooked, try raw in salads. If it’s a real issue to get them to eat you may have to sneak them into food. Add pureed veg to pasta sauces, soups or stews or a banana into a smoothie. Think of colour when eating as a wide range of colours ensures a varied diet. Think smarties or jelly beans and you see that not only kids like to eat colourful, so try this with meals
- Get label smart. Starting reading labels on all food products. When children are old enough and get them involved. Make a game out of it. Bear in mind that a “low fat” product might be packed with sugar. Try to avoid foods with lists the length of your arm-this generally means they are full of additives.
- Little chefs. Encourage children to help in the kitchen. Start with simple dishes like pitta bread pizza. Let them help with picking of topping and let them help you shop for it. Letting children create dishes gives the confidence, encourages to try new foods, shows them cooking is fun and sparks an interest in healthy eating.
- Have a box of delights. Limit sweets etc but don’t ban, as they then become forbidden fruit and even more desirable. Have a healthy treat box with plain popcorn, dried fruit and rice cakes
- Family mealtimes. Make mealtimes relaxed and try to eat meals together at the table and not in front of television. It is better for their digestion and you can discuss meals together.
- Don’t panic. Its not a disaster if they refuse to eat certain things, there are plenty of other foods to replace what they don’t eat.
Tips for school lunches
Use an edible spoon for yoghurt such as fennel, celery or carrot stick
Avoid the morning rush by preparing lunchbox the night before
A lunch box has to be nourishing and enjoyable and “cool” in the child’s eyes. So get the child involved in preparation
Look at prepacked lunchbox in supermarkets and copy what they have in it using fresh ingredients with out the additives.
Don’t introduce unfamiliar items in the lunch box and don’t worry if the child eats the same filling 5 days in a row, its more important that they eat them.
Bread can be replaced with bagel, English muffin, pitta bread or tortilla wraps
Experiment (at home first) with flavoured breads and wraps blending in granary, tomato etc.
Let the child come up with its own filling by ingredients you know they will already eat. I came across a child who took strained cold beef stew with veg mixed with mayo on a sandwich. Who are we to tell them it’s not nice if they are eating and getting nutritional value out of it.
Include a protein rich food such as fish, chicken, lean meat, cheese and some salad in lunch box
Suggestions for school lunches:
- Low fat cheese with grated carrot.
- Low fat cheese with banana and honey.
- Stir-fry chicken (cold), lettuce, red pepper.
- Tomato, lettuce and mozzarella cheese.
- Grated cheese and apple (coated in lemon juice to stop going black).
- Tuna, sweet corn and red pepper.
- Lettuce, tomato, beetroot and orange segments.
These can be filling for sandwich or can be served salad style
Key nutrients for kids:
- Iron: For growth, Red meat, green leafy vegetables, beans and lentils
- Calcium: For building healthy bones, Milk tofu and fortified Soya
- Vitamin d:Sunlight, oily fish
- Vitamin c: fruit and vegetables
Children love to cook so here are some simple rules to ensure safety.
Cooking is fun, but hot ovens and sharp knives can also make it dangerous, so it is very important to learn some basic safety rules. Always have an adult with you and never run or play in a kitchen.
- Before you start cooking tie back and cover hair. Put on apron and roll up sleeves if necessary. Wash your hands with warm soapy water, rinse and dry well.
- Read recipe and collect all of the ingredients and equipment. Measure out any ingredients that have to be measured.
- Check recipes to make sure you have everything you need and know exactly what to do. Get an adult to turn on an oven now if is needed.
- Be very careful with sharp knives Hold them with blade pointing downward and always use a chopping board when cutting. Ensure that it has a clean damp cloth underneath to keep in place
- Never leave saucepan handles sticking over edge of cooker. If you need to move hot items ask the adult to do it
- When stirring food hold spoon in one hand and hold bowl with other hand never two hands on spoon in case spills or falls off table
- Have somewhere clear to put hot items from cooker or oven and sit them on racks to speed cooling down and so not to burn counter top.
- When moving hot items always use oven gloves but make sure they are dry, as damp gloves will burn the person wearing them.
- Always make sure your hands are dry when plugging in or disconnecting electrical appliances.
- Keep a towel nearby so that you can wipe up any spills. Clean up anything that spills on the floor immediately.
- Wash up as you go along. When you have finished cooking put everything away from where you got it and clean up any mess.
- Get an adult to check with you and make sure everything is switched off from oven to sockets to taps and lights.
Enjoy working with food and don’t forget to recycle
Some Healthy Recipes
Number of servings: 10
Ingredients: 1 pack of tortillas
Instructions: Cut in half and keep cutting in half until you have 16 triangles. Spray with oil and bake at 160c for 15 minutes.
Tips / Notes: While still hot they can be flavoured with grated cheese or a cajun seasoning.
Number of servings: 4
Ingredients: 1 lb of sausage meat
1 sheet of puff pastry
Instructions: Cut the pastry in half lengthways. Place sausage meat on each piece. Dampen one side with water and roll into damp side making sure pastry is sealed. Cut into 4 or 8 pieces and cook at 160 for 25 minutes.
Tips / Notes: You can make a vegetarian one using stuffing with grated carrot and cougette.
Pitta Bread Pizza
Number of servings: 4
Ingredients: 4 pitta breads, 1 jar of pizza/pasta sauce, 1 tbsp parmesan cheese, 1 fresh mozzarella, 8 leaves fresh basil chopped, 2 cloves garlic diced, 12 slice of olive, 20 piece pepperoni.
Instructions: Spread sauce on pitta bread and arrange toppings leaving cheese till last. Bake at 180c for 15 minutes, leave sit for 5 minutes (as cheese can burn you)
Tips / Notes: Other toppings can be ham and pineapple, chicken and mushroom or can add chilli to make spicy.
Number of servings: 10
Ingredients: Grated parmesan 10 oz.
Instructions: Spoon 10 teaspoons of cheese onto parchment paper. Leave room for them to spread out. Bake at 180c for 3 to 5 minutes, leave sit for 5 minutes (as cheese can burn you).
Tips / Notes: You could add dice ham or herbs to cheese before baking. If you add ham it will shorten the shelf life.
Number of servings: 1 loaf
8 oz of wholemeal flour, 8 oz of white flour, 1 and half level teaspoons of bread soda, ½ pt buttermilk, 2 oz bran, 3 oz wheat germ, 1 tablespoon of Treacle
Sieve Breadsoda into dry ingredients. Add treacle to buttermilk, then add to dry ingredients until you form a dough. Put into a greased and floured loaf tin and bake at 180 C for 45 minutes in the tin and 15 minutes out of the tin.