Get nutrient dense foods and fresh vegetables into you children’s diet, even if you have to hide it!
There comes a point in every parent’s life when your child realises they can make their own decisions about what they eat. Unfortunately, that is age is a very young age and it can be a very trying time to get children to eat the healthy foods! Believe me it gets harder as they get older, so start training them young!
Including healthy foods in the diet of a child is universally agreed upon by doctors, scientists, nutritionists and most importantly mums and dads to be the key to a good foundation for health in life. Even if children eat unhealthy foods, the good should always be included somehow, even if you have to hide it!
About 8 years ago, I worked with the school chefs at my children’s infant and junior school to create healthier recipes for school lunches. When I was asked I thought how enlightened the head teacher was. However, when I suggested that the chef should blend some vegetables into the bolognaise sauce, the head was horrified and insisted that the children should eat the lumps of vegetables added whether they like them or not. So the inevitable happened, the vegetables were thrown under the table by many of the children. Whilst I agree in a perfect world the children would eat all healthy foods put in front of them, the reality is many of them don’t.
There are so many ways to include extra nutrients in your child’s / teen’s diet (even your partners diet) without them even knowing. Once they decide they like the dish, you can tell them what foods you have added.
The truth is, when children are growing, even when they are teens, nutrients are vitally important so that the body has the best foundation for health throughout their lives. Mineral deficiency in early years, will reflect in bone and muscle health later in life, and lack of protein can have huge implications as they get older and become adults.
Lack of fibre and cellulose in their diets coupled with a high sugar diet can have a hugely detrimental effect on their gut flora and therefore gut health and digestion. High sugar diets with deficient fibre, good fats and protein will inevitable affect their blood sugar and hormone balance later in life and can lead to health issues like obesity, metabolic syndrome and diabetes. The body needs a balance of nutrients at all times to be able to metabolise all foods properly.
Here are some quick tips on getting more nutrients into both your children’s diet and the whole family.
Minerals, Fibre, Good Fats and Vitamins
- If baking use raw cane sugar like Rapa Dura – full of minerals and more sweet so less needed
- Black Strap Molasses – packed with minerals like iron, magnesium, calcium, manganese, zinc and many more trace minerals, B Vitamins and goodness – use in sauces, gravy, baking and drinks
- Stir fries – finely chop spinach or kale and add towards the end of cooking
- Add crushed pumpkin seeds to baking, or whole ones to stir fries.
- Use dates, figs or prunes in baking (can be blended and used to reduce sugar in baking)
- Add finely chopped celery to sauces (like bolognaise or tomato sauce)
- Keep potato skins on
- Use brown rice (or do half and half with white – not cooked together though)
- Add flax seed to baking (ground and whole)
- Use the stalks of vegetables in stir fries, salads, soups (as there is extra cellulose in this)
- Give them sliced apple every day with breakfast
- Smoothies – always use apples, and what ever else they like. Avoid using too much cow’s milk, but can try Hemp, Rice or oat milk, or even just water. Add zinc, vitamin C and Vitamin D
- If making gravy – instead of just using the stock cube or powder, chop a whole load of veg and boil/simmer for an hour – strain and then use liquid with the normal stock cube.
- Meat or Vegetable bolognaise: as well as all the normal ingredients, add veg like courgettes, carrots, peppers, leeks, even cauliflower and pulse blend to keep texture. It’s still the easiest way to get vegetables into kids, no matter what the headmistress thinks!
- When making tomato sauce is add extra olive oil at the end.
- Use unheated flax oil (Omega3 fats) – add to sauces, stir fries after they have finished cooking, or to a smoothie or porridge.
- Add cinnamon and Rapa Dura sugar to pancakes, along with vitamin C.
- If they have salad dressings – add some avocado and blend to make creamy and packed with good fats and minerals. Can also add avocado to their smoothie.
Probably one of the best foods to use across most cooking is black strap molasses – you can hide it in baking and in sauces and it’s so full of nutrients. It was actually used during the War to keep children healthy. Give it to them from a young age so they develop a taste for it. I love mine in hot water with some cinnamon or on buttered toast.
The NutriKids books have been lovingly crafted to really appeal to children with characters that could be their friends. The situations are designed especially to allow the children to put themselves into the character’s shoes, which helps them to understand and learn about the health benefits of each food and how it could support their own health. If it’s good for Connie Carrot, it must be good for them.
Click on the books to take you to the bookshop.