Nutrition in a fun way
It's important to start your kids early on a love and appreciation of good food. Check out these ideas.
Grow your own
Your courtyard may not support a full on vegetable patch and your daily schedule may not either. But there are plenty of quick and easy ways to get kids to grow their own. Pots of fresh herbs and cherry tomatoes need a little sun and water and very little TLC. And you can grow bean sprouts and alfalfa on the kitchen windowsill.
To market, to market
The next time you're planning a family outing, why not bypass the zoo or museum, and head to a market or farm. Growers markets are popping up all over the place and give kids a chance to sample "just picked" produce like carrots with tops on. Fish markets are an amazing experience of sights and smells for the first timer. And great fun can be had at strawberry fields where you pick your own and nibble as you go.
Kids in the kitchen
Even very young kids can help stir muffin mixture, cut bananas and other soft fruit with a plastic knife and help turn blenders on and off for a Jalna smoothie. Promote an interest in food by getting your kids to keep their own recipe book. A basic exercise book with cut and paste pictures, drawings and kids comments will be something that you both cherish and probably giggle over in the future.
Dare we suggest that you turn the next sleepover party into a cooking party? Don't panic just yet. As you need to feed the guests anyway why not bypass the dial-in and let the crew top their own pizza bases and prepare a fresh fruit salad or fruit kebabs with yoghurt. If you're feeling more adventurous, the gang could even prepare a simple stir-fry, lasagne or BBQ (with a watchful eye) and have their very own, grown up dinner party.
While no one likes mess, it's best to not be too fastidious about cleanliness when it comes to encouraging kids to eat well. Let your kids have a go from an early age at self feeding with finger foods and then progressing on to cutlery. And allow them opportunity for a little play from time to time like being their own food stylists and making faces with a platter of fruit and yoghurt dip. Try blueberry eyes, watermelon smiles, kiwi fruit cheeks and star fruit hair.
By Karen Inge – Accredited Practising Dietitian