Healthy habits for children
Recently I have had so many children related events to attend, from sports days, to pink ribbon morning teas, to mini Olympic days- it never stops.
The one thing they all have in common?
‘A plate to share’
I hear those words and ideas swirl around in my head- cheesecakes, biscuits, fruit salads- the options are endless.
So I rock up with a huge over done plate of natural treats, that any health conscious parent would ooo and ahh over, to the standard cupcakes, lollies, sweet biscuits etc etc
I’m so thankful that the health industry is starting to gain a little more momentum and give parents who are time poor some amazing (and tasty) treats ideas!
Remember, healthy doesn’t always have to mean hard to make, or tedious- or one of the biggest issues, will the children like it?
I know from my own children some things are hit or miss.
A few things I always ensure with my boys:
Colourful- Children love bright colours!
Presentation- although my boys are only 5 & 6, it makes a difference! If you present them crumbled biscuits that aren’t appetizing they won’t be interested at all. However there are some fantastic ranges of cake decorating products available in health food stores that don’t contain any sugars or artificial flavours, they are naturally coloured and look amazing on biscuits and cakes!
Sweet- there are so many options when it comes to natural sweeteners- honey, stevia, coconut syrup, rice malt syrup. Play around with the taste, texture and consistency.
Consult them- Ask them what they want you to make- whether it be dinosaur quinoa cookies etc
I have also noticed that the larger chain stores (Coles/Woolworths) are starting to stock a larger variety of health conscious foods- all without processed additives or sugar. It really shows that people are beginning to take note that health is important because if you don’t take the time to look after your body now, you will need to make time when you fall ill.
Another question I often get asked advice about is healthy lunch box ideas. For lunch my boys will eat a wrap (it isn’t an artificial processed wrap, but rather one that uses nuts, seeds and grains together to form a dense base for the layers!) Then the first option I add is a protein source. Usually this is fresh cooked chicken breast, however my son also loves tuna slices. Then the salads, pretty standard lettuce, tomato and cucumber for my two. For morning tea they will have a piece two pieces of fruit- always a banana and berries- either strawberries or blueberries. (Stuck in a habit of what works here!) I will then include what is probably considered a treat, however as I know what it has inside I am happy for my children to eat this everyday. Either an energy ball (I understand a lot of schools have nut allergy rules) A slice of some sort, or rice cakes or even cookies. Now, typically when you think of cookies you would think of this being a sometimes food, however when you live a clean lifestyle cookies can be everyday foods- especially for growing boys! My boys eat a lot, and I encourage this- they need to grow.
I also wanted to mention about children’s eating cycles, do you find that sometimes your children eat loads and loads of food and you can’t keep up, and other times they barely eat anything?
This is a normal pattern, I have this memory of my Nanna trying to make us eat every last mouthful on our plates, and my mum heavily disagreeing on this topic. If children are hungry, they will eat.
I never deny my children food, nor do I make them eat if they are not hungry.
I personally believe that this encourages them to have healthy eating habits, recognizing when they are full, hungry, thirsty etc. Which a lot of adults don’t even acknowledge!
I have tried to help as many time-poor mums, women and families as possible within my new whole foods recipe book.
There are the family favourite that every household needs- tomato sauces, bbq sauces & salad dressing etc all the way through to desserts, treats and drinks!