Healthy round the clock meal ideas for kids
On the one hand, eating healthy food seems straightforward. But being a parent is a full-time job and you need all the support you can get!
So, here’s some round-the-clock advice when it comes to tricks for fussy eaters, tips for time-poor parents and ideas to get your kids interested in healthy food in the first place.
Kick-start their morning
Mornings can be hectic for most families. But if you have a good routine in place things can run more smoothly – including breakfast!
It’s known as the most important meal of the day but interestingly it seems as many as 22% of Australian kids miss out on breakfast 3−5 days a week! Studies have found that people who don’t eat breakfast may end up eating more at lunchtime and can often be more attracted to high-kilojoule, nutrient-poor foods.
You need to give your kids the best possible start to the day and that doesn’t include a bowl of sugary cereal. Take pity on the teacher dealing with a class of kids all experiencing a 10am sugar crash!
It doesn’t have to be complicated. Dress up plain yoghurt with a drizzle of honey and mix in some untoasted muesli to get your child’s day started on the right foot.
To add variety and make breakfast fun, why not use daily themes such as ‘Milkshake Monday’ (aka fresh-fruit smoothie!) or ‘Weetbix Wednesday’ etc.
A slow, energy-releasing breakfast can help your kids skip the dreaded mid-morning sugar slump. But kids are active and use up lots of energy, so don’t be surprised if they get peckish in between meals.
A well-timed snack can be a great way to tick off some of their ‘2 and 5’ (fruit and veg intake), especially if you offer them a healthy snack.
Use cookie cutters to carve out fun shapes from strawberries, apples, cheese or melon. You can add them to long kebab-style sticks or, for younger children, pop them on a plate.
How to fit so much goodness into such a small box?
There are many things to consider when packing a healthy lunchbox . The food needs to be healthy, affordable, easy to prepare, ready to eat and able to sit in the lunch box or school bag for several hours without spoiling! Oh, and don’t forget it needs to be appetising!
Kids are more likely to eat their lunch if they’ve helped prepare it. Let them choose from some healthy options. Try the three-bowl approach: fruit in one bowl, your dairy options in another and healthy treats in the third. Your child can then pick one thing from each bowl, add a water bottle and a sandwich, and lunch is ready!
Dinner time, family time
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For many, dinner is the time when delicious smells waft through the house and everyone feels the anticipation of a hearty meal.
Eating dinner as a family lets you share stories from your day, helps your kids develop social skills and table manners, and build a healthy relationship with food. Themed nights: It’s good to have a basic routine but don’t let it stop you from being creative.
How about ‘Meatless Monday’ or dedicating one night a week to a different world cuisine? There’s lots of fun to be had!