Healthy Eating & your little ones
We know it can be difficult to keep up with the various bits of advice given about what children should eat and when. Whether it’s a focus on salt, sugar, calories, sat fats or 1 of your 5 a day it can be hard to know if you’re getting it right.
So instead of focusing all the time on the specifics, we think a good starting point can be building a positive relationship between your child and their food- encouraging them at a time when they are at their most curious about one of the most important foundations for their future health and happiness.
As important as it is, try to not become too obsessed with getting it right, experimenting is important, and comparing your child’s diet to others or tracking every mouthful will take its toll and will reflect negatively on how your child starts to view their food.
As with everything, your little ones are fully into the art of imitation, so the best thing you can do is simply eat well yourself. Making the right choices for them shouldn’t be that different to the choices you make when trying to eat healthily- limit fat intake by avoiding fried foods, get plenty of colourful fruit and veg into your diet, limit fast food and snacks that are low in nutrients, stick to lean meats and good sources of protein, avoiding too many processed products, choose whole-grain or high fibre versions of bread, rice, pasta or other starchy vegetables and limit sugary drinks.Ensuring that you still have the food that you enjoy, within balance.
Remember that it doesn’t need to be complicated- just keep it interesting. Don’t try and get the perfect balance every meal, but over a day or a week.
And for everything else- high fat, salt and sugar foods, keep them to a minimum in small amounts. Chocolate, cake, biscuits and sugary drinks aren’t needed in our diet- but they are fine for a treat.
At the same time make it as easy as possible for snacks to be healthy- younger children will want whatever they can get their hands on and is ready to eat- so try and balance what it is you have on hand- peanut butter with apple or celery, whole grain crackers with low fat cheese, low fat yoghurt with fruit, chopped veg with lower fat hummus.. Just keep them trying new shapes and colours, flavours and textures
At The Little Blue Door our focus is on balance and variety and on occasion getting the children involved. Most children will enjoy planning what they are having for their meal and it is a great chance to talk to them about balance when deciding what to have, this can include shopping for ingredients or helping to prepare the meal
We avoid using food as a bargaining tool or a way to show praise but instead encourage positive interaction. Making them realise that they benefit from the good foods they eat.
This is just the start of them making decisions on their own about what they want to eat- and it won’t always be as simple or easy as them always choosing salad instead of chips, but hopefully some good habits for making healthier choices in their future
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