5 Tips to Encouraging Healthy Eating Habits for Children

5 Tips to Encouraging Healthy Eating Habits for Children

In the world we live in today parents are consistently struggling to find meals for their children. We have the fussy children who only want to eat spaghetti, to the not so fussy children who will eat everything that has been put on their plate.  It is a battle in some households that never seems to get any easier.

 

According to The Australian National Children’s Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey:

  • almost 3 children in every 5 don’t eat enough fruit
  • all children consume far too much sodium salt
  • 4 in every 5 children eat too much saturated fat, and
  • close to 20% of children aged between 6 and 11 consume more kilojoules (calories) than they probably need. (Ltd, 2018)

According to Nutrition Australia children aged between 1-3 need the below recommended serves per day to be considered a “healthy diet”.

Toddlers Vegetables and legumes Fruit Grains (cereal) Lean meat, fish, poultry, eggs, nuts, seeds, legumes, beans Milk, yoghurt, cheese & alternatives Allowance for additional serves from any food group*
Girls and boys
1–2 years
2-3 0.5 4 1 1-1.5 0
Girls and Boys 2-3 years 2.5 1 4 1 1.5 0-1

 

This can sometimes not be an easy task, as many parents will know. Here are 5 tips that help families to encourage healthy eating habits.

  1. Surround them with healthy food messages- books, activities, songs, and pictures set the scene for children to be able to notice and start the conversation about healthy eating.
  2. Be a good role model- making healthy food choices as adults promotes children to make healthy food choices themselves.
  3. Think variety- Try to ensure that children have a variety of foods available to them. BY offering a variety of food to children it helps ensure that they are eating a balanced diet.
  4. Don’t make a fuss-Allow children to eat according to their appetite, its normal for their appetites to change very often, and what they like to change often. By not making a fuss parents are ensuring that there is little to no stress surrounding meals, offering a positive association to foods.
  5. Include them — in the kitchen, garden and at the shops – Children love helping, give them a shopping list and allow them to find the ingredients. Set up a vegie garden and allow them to take care of their vegies. Children will be able to gain a sense of responsibility and will be more likely to eat something that they have grown.

 

Some recipe ideas: from Nutrition Australia.

Breakfast:

  • Warm breakfast quinoa
  • Homemade beans on toast
  • Breakfast super smoothie
  • Breakfast burrito
  • Berry French toast

Lunch:

  • Lamb and Vegie wrap with sweet chilli sauce
  • Tuna, pumpkin and broccoli pasta bake
  • Spinach and ricotta cannelloni
  • Risotto with pumpkin, Feta and roast chicken
  • Eleven Veg Shepherd’s pie

Dinner:

Snacks:

 

For more great recipes head to: www.nutritionaustralia.org

 

Ltd, T. (2018). Fast facts & stats about kids’ nutrition and health. [online] Kidsfoodtalk.com.au. Available at: http://www.kidsfoodtalk.com.au/contents/en-us/d33_childhood-obesity-stats-figures-and-facts.html [Accessed 30 Apr. 2018].

Nutritionaustralia.org. (2018). Breakfast | Nutrition Australia. [online] Available at: http://www.nutritionaustralia.org/national/meal-category/breakfast?page=2 [Accessed 3 May 2018]