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5 Tips to Improve Food and Nutrition for Kids

11 June 2018 1809 Views

5 Jul 2018 6:42:11 pm

The Food Pyramid is, in general, a reasonable nutritional guideline to a healthier lifestyle. However, a thing called ‘life’ often gets in the way doesn’t it? We’re all busy almost every second of every day now, so convenience is a must. Plus, kids’ diet requirements are slightly different to ours since their nervous system is still developing. Therefore, we at Beko, have come up with just 5 tips for you to help ensure your kids’ nutrition is balanced and healthy.

1. Try the Harvard Healthy Eating Plate instead of the Food Pyramid

Think of the food pyramid as your shopping list. It shows the kinds of foods a healthy diet should include. However, what can be tricky, is portion sizes.

The Harvard Plate (developed by the Harvard School of Public Health) provides visual guidance to make all meal preparation as simple as possible. With one quick look, you can check if your plate contains the right amounts of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, healthy proteins, and oils.Portion sizes will differ for adults versus children, but the proportions of food combinations are the same. Handy hey?

5 Jul 2018 7:02:47 pm

The gist of the breakdown is as follows; fruits and veggies should make up half of your plate, a quarter of the remaining half-plate should be protein based, and the final quarter of your plate should be full of carbs, yes carbs. Don’t try and stay away from carbs like all those fad diets preach, they are not the devil, no, they are a necessity for long-lasting energy. Some people say, ‘variety is the spice of life’, we say ‘colour is the spice of life’. If your plate consists of a rainbow of colours, you’re doing well.

2. Choose the cleanest protein

Now, what we mean by clean here, is ‘ease of processing’. Some proteins are a lot harder for our bodies to process than others, and so for children, whose bodily functions might be more susceptible to being overworked, this is especially important. With this in mind, you could for instance serve one of the day's meals with protein from pulses, for example, and the other from animals (as mentioned before, the cleanest animal proteins come from fish and eggs). Clean proteins like these will help both your body and your child’s body to eliminate any waste with as much ease as possible. You’re welcome!

3. Don’t forget to include healthy fats in every meal

Fats are essential for healthy growth in children, and they’re also an essential part of the adult diet as well. However, they should be carefully selected. The best fats come from extra virgin olive oil, dried fruits, seeds, egg yolks and avocado. Other kinds of fat, like saturated fats, trans fats, refined vegetable oil and butter are not so good for you, and should try to be avoided where possible. Of course, a fatty treat once in a while isn’t going to do you any harm, but just make sure that your version of ‘once in a while’, isn’t in fact, once a day…we know that old trick!

4. Superfoods with calcium

As soon as we hear the word calcium, most of us will think of dairy products. Well, you’re not wrong. Dairy products are indeed rich in calcium, but as many parents of kids with dairy allergies will know, they are not the only source of the magic C. If you’re looking for dairy alternatives that provide you with your calcium intake, then look no further; broccoli, sesame seeds, almonds, and sardines are fantastic sources. Plus, a little bit of time in the sun each day can help calcium to lodge in our bones (remember the sun cream though, not even Chris Hemsworth would look good burnt like a lobster).

5. Whole is always better

In many countries, cereals are still the main source of the diet. No, we don’t mean Coco Pops or Frosties, as fantastic as that might seem, we mean wheats, oats, rice, corn etc. The trick here, is to always go for the whole grain version instead of the refined version. The whole grain versions are how the cereals come naturally, whereas refined means processed, which leads to the loss of many nutritious elements. For instance, the remaining product in a refined version is rich in carbs but pretty much only in carbs, which gives us ‘empty’ energy. In contrast, whole grain versions are often a rich source of vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, fats, oils, and protein, and helps our energy to last longer throughout the day.

So, there you go, 5 easy tips to send you on your way to a healthier lifestyle. Now there’s no excuses…right?

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