Teach children the basics of good nutrition
Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 24/09/2021 (370 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
With children back in school, I thought that I would touch upon some basic nutrition considerations for those hungry minds.
While this school year, like the past two, will prove to have many challenges with the pandemic still swirling around us, good eating habits and learning to make healthy choices early in life have great benefit down the road as adults.
Breakfast is by far the most important meas of the day and it helps your child grow and learn. Before the kids head out, focus on feeding them whole grain cereals and breads (avoid the candy cereals loaded with sugar), homemade muffins, or even experimenting with flatbreads or pitas. Try adding fresh, canned or dried fruits, lower fat dairy such as yogurt or cottage cheese and natural peanut butter (if not allergic) to boost their morning protein intake.
Try making time for breakfast by having nutritious, easy to consume items on hand. Packing hearty and healthy lunches also pays dividends. When packing a lunch, ensure that cold food is kept cold and hot foods are kept hot with the use of ice packs and/or Thermoses.
Be creative. Add homemade soups and fresh vegetables such as carrot sticks or sugar snap peas, cooked boiled eggs, yogurts or puddings, soy drinks, and sandwiches made with multi-grain mini-buns or pitas.
A Thermos can add a lot of variety and provide cozy options in the winter months. Fill them with homemade stew, chili, pasta dishes, oatmeal or even an individual chicken pot pie.
Snacks and beverages are important, too. Try limiting juices, as these are loaded with sugar. Instead, focus on flavoured waters, one- or two-per-cent milk or soy and almond milks. Healthy snacks can include trail mix, mini-bran or fruit muffins; fruits or vegetables with dip, grain crackers with cheese or a dry cereal.
If children are eating balanced meals and snacks, they should not require vitamin or mineral supplements. It is also important for children to be active. Promoting physical activity will last a lifetime.
Finally, allow meal times to be meal times and limit distractions such as television or toys. Base meals on your child’s appetite level and avoid labelling foods as good or bad or using food as a reward or punishment. Involve children in grocery shopping, cooking and meal planning so that as adults they will be well-equipped to care for themselves and pass on their great habits to their own children.
Lisa Lagasse is a registered dietitian and community correspondent for Charleswood. Email her at Charleswoodres@gmail.com
Charleswood community correspondent
Lisa Lagasse is a registered dietitian and community correspondent for Charleswood. Email her at Charleswoodres@gmail.com or find her on Twitter: @LisaRD42324393