It can seem easy to pick up a pack of biscuits or so-called ‘fruit’ snacks off the supermarket shelves, and pack them into your kids’ lunch box. Parents tell us it’s what their kids want. But if it’s not in the pantry they won’t have a choice!
Treats should be saved for special occasions like birthdays and holidays, so they remain a treat, not an every day snack.
Having a fussy eater in the family can be a challenge to say the least. It can also have a lasting impact on a child’s health and wellbeing, leading to unwanted eating habits in the future if not dealt with during childhood.
Eating a varied diet, including plenty of nutritious fruit and veg is essential.
But how do you get your kids to eat new food in the first place?
Perseverance is the key! Here are five simple tips to get your kids eating healthier food:
Stay positive: offer new types of fruit and veg in a happy way. It sounds silly – but it will help your child have a positive association with the new food.
Be consistent: if you give in on some occasions and not others it can become confusing for a child: you have to be strong!
Keep on serving it: research shows kids need to be given a new food an average of eight times before they will accept it. Sometimes it will take many more times than this.
Be a good role model: kids copy their parents’ behaviour. Make sure you eat the new food at the same time as your child – eat together wherever possible.
Praise your child: offer small rewards and praise for doing so; consider using a behaviour chart to encourage your kids to eat well.
Here are some easy suggestions for making healthy (and yummy!) treats that will be eaten:
Chop up fruit into small pieces, and send as a fruit salad
Freeze grapes, they taste delicious frozen
Mix unsalted popcorn with sultanas in a small container
Make fruit-based mini-muffins
Sandwich together slices of cucumber and reduced-fat cream cheese
Pack vegie sticks with vegie dips
Cook a cob of corn, and send cold.
It’s important that we all try and get five serves of vegies and two serves of fruit every day.
By including fruit and veg in lunch boxes, you have the best chance of achieving the right number of serves, and you’ll make healthy eating part of your family’s normal routine.