Getting your child to eat “brain food” and healthy food

November 14, 2012

A few weeks ago I went on a Woolworths Mom Food Tour at Woolworths in Nicolway with some journos and a Woolies dietitian, who gave us tips and pointers on how to get our kids eating healthier, and how to give them “brain food” like fish and omega 3s. With a child who loves broccoli and isn’t a fan of sweets, I thought I didn’t have much to learn, but it turns out I could be doing things better. I was also impressed by how practical the advice was – often experts will tell us how we need to give our kids five fruit and veg, but not how, and here’s where I picked up some good tips:

– Cut up snack-sizes of fruit and veg and put them into kids’ lunchboxes. Veggie fingers also go well with dips such as hummous or cream cheese. (For fun and where possible, I take different biscuit cutters and cut food into shapes – my son loves it, especially when he gets to choose the shape).

– A variety of coloured fruits and veg will offer a range of health benefits and antioxidants.

– Start as early as possible giving your child fruit and veg and other healthy foods

– Don’t skip breakfast. Even a sugary cereal is better than nothing. You can make a sugary cereal healthier with low-fat milk and a sprinkling of oat bran to lower the GI (meaning more sustained energy for lower).

– Choose low-GI breads and crackers – your child will probably never knwo

– Your child needs omega-3s around three times a week. Omega-3s are found in fatty fish for example. Sushi is a great choice if your child will eat it. Also opt for omega eggs, or omega yoghurt drinks.

– From the age of two, kids should have low-fat versions of dairy products.

– Durum-wheat pasta is low GI and is therefore a “good carb”. It’s often what we do to pasta that makes it “bad”, like rich and creamy sauces.

– Legumes are a good source of protein and fibre – even tinned beans are great. You can also add legumes to soup.

– It’s better to eat the food than drink the food – therefore fruit is healthier in its pure and whole form, than in juice.

– Choose lean cuts of meat, without a lot of fat.

About Woolworths Food Tours

The Woolworths Moms Food Tours cover three topics including: “Healthy Lunchboxes”, “Quick & Easy Meals for the Whole Family” and “Brainfood for Exams”. Each topic looks at food groups in correct proportions, label reading, suitable products and recipe ideas.

A typical tour starts with a short session on the food groups, taking participants through how much of each should be included in a balanced meal and the role they play in the body. This is followed by atour of the store, where moms are shown suitable products. Food labelling is also explained, which is followed by a Q&A session with tastings.

These tours run in Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, and are free. For more info or to book, email here.

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