|If your child is a picky eater, adapt their
favourite foods to include more nutrients.
For example, you can add pureed veggies
to soups and sauces.
The start of a new school year is the perfect time to establish healthy eating habits for children, but for many parents, getting a child to trade in their French fries for green beans proves to be an ongoing battle.
Today, 26% of Canadian children (1.6 million kids) between the ages of 2 and 17 are overweight or obese, a number that is starting to catch up to the 59% obesity rate among adults. This growing epidemic among children is leading to a variety of ailments including Type 2 diabetes, liver disease, bone and hormonal disorders, high blood pressure and depression.
Cookware manufacturer T-fal’s Nutritious and Delicious division has recently launched “Healthy Cooking for Healthy Kids,” an online resource for parents where you can download tools like grocery lists, reward charts, portion placemats, games and recipes to help teach kids the importance of healthy eating. Visit www.nutritiousdelicious. ca and use them in conjunction with these ABCs.
A. Avoid ordering super-sized foods and serve appropriate sized portions at mealtimes. Kids should eat the equivalent of a box of crayons in meat/ protein and a portion the size of a tennis ball for vegetables.
B. Be the boss and make sure you create guidelines for meals, snacks and physical activity and stick to them. Use a weekly reward chart so kids can see their progress and work towards a goal.
C. Clear the cupboards of junk food and sugary drinks and instead keep healthy snacks where children can easily find them. Use a list to ensure you know what you need before you head to the grocery store – you are far less likely to pickup junk foods.
Children are notoriously picky eaters and sometimes even the most determined parents can get frustrated. A great strategy is to adapt kids’ favourite dishes so they include more vegetables and less fat. Below are some great tactics to adapt kids’ favourite foods to include more nutrients and vitamins.
• Puree vegetables and freeze them into ice cube trays – they are handy to throw into soups and sauces without being detected!
• Sweet potatoes are a great source of beta-carotene and rich in vitamin A. Their orange flesh and sweet taste make them easy to hide in anything from taco filling, chilli and pasta/meat sauce to any favourite noodle soup. Serve it as a side by mashing it and adding a little bit of orange juice for extra sweetness. Fries are a healthier option when prepared with sweet potatoes.
• Include broccoli or cauliflower florets in saucy dishes like homemade maca- CHART: T-fal Nutritious and Delicious roni and cheese or Shepherd’s Pie and make sure to prepare your sauces with skim milk.
• Serve tiny vegetables, like baby carrots and baby corn with appetizer dips.
Just remember, children will do what you do, not what you say. As a parent or caregiver, you have an opportunity to be a role model for positive behaviours and a healthy lifestyle! W
• Lianne Phillipson-Webb is the founder and Mommy Chef teacher for Sprout Right (www.sproutright.com) a Toronto based nutrition and cooking school that teaches mothers how to build and maintain healthy eating practices for them and their children. She is also a Registered Nutrition Consultant Practitioner and a member of the International Organization of Nutrition Consultants.