Parents are busy people – there's no denying that. Just getting our kids fed on time is a feat, so when you add in all the health messages of what's best for kids to eat, and marketing messages of what kids want to eat, it's no wonder many parents are left feeling overwhelmed. It's difficult enough to know what to feed yourself, let alone what to offer your little ones.
We've lost the old cultural know-how of our great grandmothers. They didn't have nutritional guidelines and all the expert advice we have at our fingertips today, but they fed their kids well because they also didn't have an overabundance of processed foods to fall back on.
Your best bet, then, is to stick to natural foods – colourful plant-based foods are the healthiest option, and can be combined in easy and creative ways to get kids the nutrients they need without requiring extra time or costs.
These foods bring in the essential vitamins and minerals that growing bodies need to stay healthy, and they work best in synergy with one another. A lot of the media around healthy eating focuses on boosting one element or eliminating a particular risk – like Health Canada's recent emphasis on iron-rich foods for children. What these guidelines don't necessarily show parents is that you get more iron from spinach than you do from the same amount of red meat, or that too much calcium can interrupt iron absorption, while vitamin C improves it. The key is to understand that a balanced, natural food diet is the best way to make sure that all of the many vitamins and minerals necessary for healthy living are working together.
How do I get my kids to eat well?
You can start your kids off on the right foods as soon as they start eating solids. All you need is a blender, a selection of fresh fruits and veggies, some healthy oils (like hemp oil, hazelnut oil, or flax-seed oil), and water. Try different combinations – like pear, avocado, spinach, and coconut oil. The key is to get creative – your child’s taste buds will thank you for it down the road.
How do I really do this?
A lot of parents think this takes a lot of time, but it doesn’t have to.
Make large batches of purées and freeze them as ice cubes, or in small containers, and you can have pre-made meals for an entire week. Or, divvy up the food prep with other parents in your neighbourhood to share the work and test out other creations. Healthy eating is an art form – be curious, bring in all sorts of colours, and have fun.
Content provided by The Mark News.
Photo by fuzzydice via Flickr
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