Healthy Eating is vital for children

Healthy eating is vital for children to help them reach their optimum potential, both mentally and physically.

More than a quarter of a century of research supports the positive link between eating breakfast and mental alertness.  A balanced breakfast may help children to do better in school by improving:

  • Memory
  • Test grades
  • School
  • Attendance
  • Psycho-social function
  • Mood

MEAL-PLANNING IDEAS

Choose one option per meal and one mid-morning and mid-afternoon snack.

Breakfast v  Wholewheat Pronutro with milk and half a small pawpawv  Boiled or scrambled egg on toast  with a small glass of orange juicev  Baked beans on toast with a small bananav  Peanut butter on toast with a glass of milkv  Smoothie:  blend low-fat vanilla yoghurt with fruit, milk and a handful of ice
Snacks v  Small tub of yoghurt, drinking yoghurt or a carton of flavoured milkv  Few pieces of dried fruit, nuts or peanuts and raisinsv  Fruit kebab made with melon, pineapple and strawberriesv  Home-made popcorn or a muffinv  Crackers or bread with peanut butter or cheese wedgesv  PnP mini rice bites
Lunch v  Small roll with peanut butter and sliced banana / chicken mayonnaise / ham and cheese, with baby carrots and an applev  Meatball and salad sticks with a bread roll and an applev  Quick pita nachos with avocadov  “Pasta please” packed lunchv  Cheese fingers wrapped in ham slices with a bran muffin and strawberries
Dinner v  Pilchard and potatoe fish cakes with cruditésv  Beef stroganoff with rice and a carrot and pineapple saladv  The “Twits wormy pasta” with grated cheesev  Spaghetti Bolognese with steamed baby vegetablesv  Optional dessert:  fruit salad jellies

 

Tips to get your kids to follow a healthy diet:

o   Swap cold drinks for milk, flavoured milk or drinking yoghurt to increase dairy intake.

o   Include fish in children’s meals by serving fish fingers, fish cakes or steamed fish flaked into rice.

o   Prepare baked beans on toast with grated cheese.

o   Serve raw vegetables (carrots, baby tomatoes, cucumber) with a flavoured dip like mashed avocado.

o   Add pureed carrots to tomatoe-based pasta sauces or finely chop vegetables and hide them on home-baked pizzas, soups, mince dishes and casseroles.

o   Vegetable kebabs, bananas in their skins and mealies are great for braais.

o   Blend fruit into a smoothie by mixing banana with some frozen mixed berries and a dollop of yoghurt – a nutritious drink for children of all ages.

o   Remember to monitor water intake – freeze a bottle of water or diluted juice the night before packing their lunch – it should stay cold for most of the day.

Use fats and sugars sparingly:  children shouldn’t have a very low-fat diet, they need the same balance of fats as adults.  Restrict animal fats and choose plant oils such as olive or sunflower oil, tub margarines, avocado, peanut butter and nuts.  Sugar can be part of a balanced eating plan, but in moderation.  Restrict sweets and chocolates to after-meal treats and provide milk, water or diluted fruit juices rather than soft drinks.

Useful contacts:

Pick n Pay Health Hotline dietician 0800112288 – healthhotline@pnp.co.za

Association Dietetics South Africa – www.adsa.org.za

 

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