Did you know that what your children eat, right from their first few months of life, can actually have a major impact on their health and the way they eat as adults?
What a responsibility! Now we all know that parenting is a tough job, but surprisingly, feeding your family a good diet doesn’t have to be overly time-consuming or expensive. In fact, healthy fresh food is often cheaper than junk or processed food. All you need is an ounce of dedication, a heap of determination and some basic ideas on getting the right nutrition and food into your kids.So here are my top tips to help ensure you give your children the nutrition they need:
1. Children only develop a sweet tooth if you give them sugary food
Now I’m not saying that we need to deny our kids any kind of sweet treats. But sugary foods should be exactly that, an occasional treat rather than an everyday habit. The more sugar they eat, the more they’ll crave it and become addicted to it. Yes, believe it or not sugar is highly addictive and can have an effect on behaviour, learning, immune strength, as well as increasing the risk of obesity, heart disease and diabetes.
If your kids have already developed a sweet tooth, don’t try to take sugar out all at once. Gradually replace sugary drinks with diluted fruit juice and fizzy water. Encourage them to snack on fruit instead of sweets and chocolate (berries are always popular) and if they must have a piece of chocolate, trying switching to the dark variety or dip a few strawberries in melted dark chocolate as a treat. Alternatively serve up a treat like my yummy chocolate avocado mousse!
Chocolate Avocado Mousse Recipe
The raw cocoa in this treat is packed with magnesium, iron and manganese and despite it’s light and fluffy texture, this is a really filling dessert. Serve on its own, or I like to layer it with some plain yoghurt and berries, perfect for a dessert, or even for breakfast!
- 1 avocado, halved, peeled and pitted
- ½ banana
- 1-2 tablespoons raw cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon almond or cashew butter
- ½ teaspoon vanilla paste or powder
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon powder
- 1 teaspoon coconut oil (optional)
- 1 teaspoon xylitol (optional)
- A little water or coconut milk to achieve desired consistency
Add everything to the blender except the cocoa powder and water. Blend until smooth. Slowly add the cocoa powder, then the milk to achieve a nice moussey texture. Put in the fridge to set for 15 minutes, or eat straight away! Serve with some toasted or raw nuts, a bit of unsweetened dessicated coconut or some fresh berries.
2. Eat at least five fresh fruit and vegetables per day
Now I know many parents say their kids won’t eat fresh fruit and vegetables, so you have to get clever and learn to hide them! Grate some carrots and courgettes into spaghetti bolognaise sauce or other dishes, or make mash with a quarter potato, a quarter mashed carrot and half sweet potato. Or you can have fun and make your own pizzas, adding plenty of chopped veg such as mushrooms, peppers, tomatoes and onions. You can also make fresh smoothies with added carrot, celery and cucumber. Just add in some sweet fruit for taste.
Whatever opportunity you get give them some extra fresh fruit and veegtables, which are vital for good health, development and learning.
3. Drink at least 4 glasses of water per day
Most children don’t drink enough water, so it’s best to get them in the habit from a young age. Don’t introduce your baby to squash or fruit juice… water is just fine. Get them used to having water with a meal as it’s absolutely vital for good health, flushing out toxins from the body and providing energy and nutrient transport. Yes, I know it can be a struggle, but there are plenty of sneaky ways to convince your children to enjoy water. I covered a few in this recent video…
4. Set a Good Example
When it comes to children’s nutrition, there’s no point asking your little ones to eat healthily if you’re eating a delicious icecream or piece of pizza in front of them! You need to lead by example.
By changing your whole family’s nutrition for the long term, you’ll all experience better health.
5. The 80/20 rule
Food should be enjoyed and it is my firm belief that you can’t be strict all the time. Let your children experiment with different foods and don’t make anything a sin, or they’ll just eat it in secret. If you establish healthy eating patterns, where 80% of the time you’re eating healthy nutritious food, they’re more likely to eat better as adults and enjoy good health.
Are you determined to give your children the best start in life?
As parents we have an amazing opportunity. The power to be able to shape our children’s future health; everything from how well they do at school to how likely they are to get diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure, and even how long they might live!
YOU can affect all of this simply through the food you put on their plates today.
But… let’s face it, feeding our children can be tough! With work, the school run, homework, time with loved ones, general household chores etc – finding the time to take real care over what we cook for our families can easily fall to the bottom of our list.
And that’s before we get started on fussy eating habits, constant sugary snack requests and even potential allergies or special dietary requirements.
That’s why I created my brand new online course:
I want EVERY parent to have the knowledge and ability to feed their children’s brain power, protect their future health, support how their bones, muscles and organs develop and keep their guts healthy.
Your kids deserve the best start in life. Let’s make sure they get it together!