Kids eat healthy food if you make it interesting says experts

Getting your child to eat healthy or nutritious food can be a mission and half.

Imperfect table manners, like spitting food out, appear quite common whenever it is meal time in many family homes.

With all that drama, parents are advised to take note of their kids’ eating habits and try and provide healthier options.

More alarming is that the World Health Organisation reported that approximately 13.3% of South African children under the age of five are overweight.

Pick n Pay’s resident dietitian, Leanne Kiezer, says this is particularly worrying as overweight children run a high risk of remaining overweight into adulthood, further fuelling the country’s already high obesity levels.

While the Department of Health has introduced regulatory measures such as the sugar tax to decrease levels of obesity in South Africa, in reality, this problem will not be solved unless consumers are better informed to make better choices, which will result in a change in consumer behaviour.

Kiezer, provides creative ways for parents to sneak extra veggies and fruits into their child’s meals and snacks:

Add veggies to their favourite meal: Mix peas in mac and cheese, add shredded carrots to the spaghetti bolognaise sauce, or stir colourful beetroot and zucchini noodles into a regular spaghetti pasta.

Make it interesting: Blitz or purée vegetables and add them to rice and mashed potato for extra colour on their plates.

“Fortify” all your saucy meals.

Offer raw finger foods: Children often prefer uncooked vegetables.

Use bright colours: To keep veggies appealing, steam or microwave them in a small amount of water, or stir fry them in a little oil.

Start a veggie club: Try to taste vegetables from A to Z, ticking off letters of the alphabet as you go. As you shop, ask your children to identify vegetables corresponding with each of the respective letters, allowing the veggie journey to become a family adventure.

Make it fun: Find a book which features vegetables as characters, then as you read the story together, also taste the vegetables.