Most parents will agree that they just want their kids to eat healthy, nutritious foods.
Even if you manage to navigate the barrage of junk food advertising aimed at children, most kids are fussy eaters and it can be an exhausting exercise negotiating with them to eat their vegetables every night after a long day of work.
The good news is that you’re not alone. And the earlier you start implementing healthy eating habits, the less of a battle you should have on your hands when they’re older.
Here are some tips for parents on how to lay the foundations for basic healthy eating and nutrition in young children:
Be the adult: You oversee what food is available to your child. If it’s not in the cupboard or the fridge, they can’t have it, so don’t buy it.
Instead stock up fruit, yoghurts, dried fruit, cheeses and wholegrain breads as snack options.
Read food labels: The Nutrition Facts label on packaged foods lists everything you need to know about that product, from the calories, to the fat, protein and carbohydrate content. Aim for products with the lowest number of ingredients and as little sugar as possible.
Vary your offerings: especially in the case of young children and toddlers who are notoriously fussy eaters. Don’t give up; keep presenting a variety of healthy foods. Children are generally reluctant to try new foods and textures, but keep presenting these, giving them the choice.
Don’t use food as a reward: As difficult as it is, using treats or junk food as a reward or a comfort when they’re in pain will subconsciously make the child place more value on these foods.