Providing children with a balanced diet

2Raising a family is not easy and one issue that many mums and dads worry about is the nutrition that their children get. There are lots of fatty and sugary products on the market that are aimed at youngsters and getting kids to eat the right things can be difficult.

As well as thinking about food, parents must consider drinks. Making sure youngsters are well hydrated is really important. One tasty beverage that lots of children like is hot chocolate and luckily for parents, this can have considerable nutritional value. Cocoa is rich in compounds called flavonoids, which have been shown to have certain health benefits. For example, by consuming foods that are rich in flavonoids, individuals can reduce their blood pressure and improve their blood vessels. Generally speaking, the less processed the cocoa is, the more nutritious it is. When choosing chocolate to make drinks for their youngsters, mums and dads should look for dark versions with a high cocoa content as these will contain more antioxidants. Also, parents should seek out versions with low sugar content. Of course, moderation is also key.

All mums and dads have heard of the magical ‘five a day’ rule when it comes to fruit and vegetables. However, actually getting youngsters to consume these healthy foods is another matter. Breakfast can be a good opportunity to serve healthy items. For example, instead of opting for sugary serials, parents can offer their kids grilled mushrooms, baked beans, grilled tomatoes and unsweetened fruit juice.

Also, adding dried fruit to children’s lunch boxes can help to boost their health and putting salad on sandwiches is a savvy tactic. Some carrot or celery sticks and cherry tomatoes can make another superb addition, as can grapes.

When they return from school, youngsters are often ravenous. Rather than handing over crisps or biscuits to help fill them up, parents can offer fruit or vegetable snacks. When it comes to dinner time, it’s important that there are a couple of different vegetables on the table. Putting vegetables in stews, casseroles and soups is an effective way to encourage youngsters to eat healthily.

Another top tip for parents is to get their kids involved in choosing and preparing fruit and vegetables from an early age. By familiarising them with the colours and shapes of the produce, mums and dads can help ensure that they become a normal part of everyday life.

Making sure that children benefit from a healthy and balanced diet may not always be easy, but it is well worth the effort. It can help to boost their wellbeing and provide them with good habits that last for a lifetime.

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