Here at the Healthy Life Foundation, our focus is to fund medical research into fighting age related diseases so that we can live longer healthier lives. However, creating a longer healthier life shouldn’t be something that we start thinking about when we get older. It should really start from a young age. By maintaining a strong well-nourished body from our youth, it sets us up with a good foundation for preventing diseases as we get older.
As parents, it is so important that we set a good example for our children and instil healthy habits that they will take into their adult years. The sooner we introduce nutritious choices into our kids’ diets, the easier they’ll be able to develop healthy choices that can last them a lifetime. It is actually much easier and less time consuming than you think!
Here are some tips and tricks to get your kids to enjoy healthy food!
- Disguise the taste of healthier foods.Try adding vegetables to a bolognaise sauce and swap normal pasta noodles for whole wheat. You could also mash carrots with mashed potato or add grated or shredded veggies to stews and sauces to make them blend in.
- Dip It:Try offering a healthy dip to vegetable sticks such as hummus, spinach dip, guacamole or yogurt based dips.You could even offer a sweet treat with fruit such as Carmel Nut Butter. Get some great recipes here:
- Make it fun.Sometimes the more creative food looks, the greater chance your children will try it. You can make smiley face whole grain pancakes, name Broccoli florets “baby trees” and use cookie cutters to turn toast & sandwiches into fun shapes.
- Get them involved.If your children become involved in choosing or cooking meals, they’ll be more interested in eating what they’ve made. You could take them to the store and let them choose the vegetables. If they’re old enough, allow them to cut up vegetables and mix them into a salad.You could also cook simple recipes’ together so that they can be proud of the home cooked meal that they created.
- Cut back on junk.Remember, it is you (not your children) that is in charge of the foods that enter your home. By swapping junk food for healthy snacks, you’ll force your children to eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and protein.
- Relax and Enjoy.Remember that it’s what your kids eat over time that matters. Having popcorn at the cinema or eating an ice-cream on the seafront are some of life’s pleasures. As long as you balance these times with smart food choices and physical activity, your children will be fine.