We have to emphasis the importance of healthy diet and eating right from childhood. Somewhere the nutritional gap starts and becomes so big that it is difficult to fill up –hence the increasing amount of children having heath problems like obesity, anemia, constipation or high cholesterol problems. Simply put, if we begin today (in fact, right now!) to take preventive measures kids can be energetic, happy and feeling great which is the way they are meant to be.
There are so many distractions for the young ones today: fast foods, processed foods and all those where taste matters more than the goodness factor. Let us face it; we are surrounded by fast-food outlets, peer pressure, bad catering in school-canteens, advertising campaigns and birthday parties to lead children astray in their choices around food, so it is imperative that we take the reigns early on to introduce good eating habits to young children. Would you not like to have your children safeguarded against common ailments, allergies, concentration problems and learning difficulties as the result of poor diets dominated by massive amounts of refined sugars, colourants, flavourants, preservatives and excess amount of fats?
The primary education for following a healthy diet begins in the primary years. It is best to allow the young ones at home to help with the meal preparation and “test” the taste before adding extra flavours. Children will most probably not eat fruit and vegetables simply because “they are good for them”. They must have good flavour and texture. I have also observed that many kids will not eat cooked vegetables but may eat them raw. Salad vegetables like cherry tomatoes, slices of cucumber, grated carrot or carrot sticks and celery are a good option and can be served with a tasty dip.
There is one meal that is important for kids and adults alike and that is breakfast. It is the most important meal of the day and should be eaten every day. Some examples are a nutritious drink, fresh or stewed fruit, custard, yogurt, leftovers on toast or milk drinks as well as the usual breakfast foods such as cereals, toast, eggs and baked beans.
Quick Fried Egg with Brown Bread is a good presentation. Lunch is probably packed in school or college. The evening meal is the single most family meal where the mother must find time to cook up something very tasty and wholesome. You can look at hearty soups or casseroles, stir-fries using chicken, lots of vegetables and some noodles. Try pasta dishes like meatballs with pasta, tuna and tomato fettuccine or macaroni cheese. Even egg dishes such as frittata, quiche and omelettes will be enjoyed. Once in a while give a treat of homemade hamburgers and pizzas! Healthy Pizza is sure to please the kids. Desserts should make a positive contribution to a meal so serve lots of fresh sweet fruits and yogurt sundaes. For special occasions Hot Chocolate Nut Sundae is wonderful.
We as adults need to give children firm yet gentle guidelines to support them in making good choices later in choosing a healthy diet for themselves.