Get Children Involved In 5 A Day
- Getting your child involved in choosing and preparing fruit and vegetables can encourage them to eat more.
- Familiarise young children with the colours with the colours and shapes of fruits and vegetables as early as possible.
- During the food shop let them choose a fruit or vegetable they would like to try. Supervise your child in the kitchen while they prepare it.
- Present your child with as wide a variety of fruits and vegetables as possible and make eating them a normal part of family life and meal routines
- Involve children by allowing them to help make their packed lunch, hopefully this will encourage them to eat the healthy contents.
- If your children are not keen on fresh vegetables, canned vegetables, such as sweet corn, lentils and peas, can be a good place to start. Choose canned vegetables in water with no added sugar and canned fruit in natural juice rather than syrup.
- Disguising vegetables, by grating carrots into bolognaise sauce, for example can also work, but don’t rely solely on this.
- Try not to reinforce the idea that vegetables are unpleasant and always need to be hidden in foods. Instead have fun together by trying lots of different fruit and veg and finding out what your child likes.
Preparing Your Child’s Lunchbox
A balanced packed lunch should contain:
- Starchy foods – these are bread, rice, potatoes and pasta
- Protein foods – including meat, fish, eggs and beans
- A dairy item – this could be cheese or yoghurt
- Vegetables or salad and a portion of fruit
Starchy foods are a good source of energy and should make up a third of the lunch box. But don’t let things get boring, alternatives to sandwiches can be pitta bread, wraps, bagels and baguettes. Swap white bread to brown, wholemeal or seeded bread.
Low Fat Snacks For Children
- Children often like food they can eat with their fingers, so chop up raw vegetables such as carrots or peppers and give them hummus or cottage cheese to dip the veggies in.
- Breadsticks and wholemeal crackers are a great finger foods that can be spread with soft cheese or eaten with hard cheese.
- Replace chocolate bars and cakes with fresh fruit. Vary the fruit each day and encourage them to try new things, such as kiwi or melon.
- You could also make up a tasty fruit salad. Be inventive and lead by example to encourage them to try new fruits and vegetables.
Making Healthier Foods
It may take a while for your children to get used to a new healthier lunch box. But it will be worth it for their health, so keep trying. There are many ways you can add fruit and vegetables into children’s packed lunches. put salad in their sandwiches, or give them carrot or celery sticks, cherry tomatoes, Satsuma or seedless grapes (but please remember to cut these foods at least in half length ways or even better into quarters to prevent choking)
Dried fruit counts towards their 5 a day, so why not try a handful of sultanas or dried apricots as a dessert. But remember to reduce the risk of tooth decay, dried fruit is best enjoyed as part of a meal, not as a between snack meal.
For more tips and helpful advice on how to help the whole family eat healthier and introduce fun exercise you can all do together please visit http://www.nhs.uk/change4life/Pages/change-for-life.aspx