As children grow, it’s vital that their diet consists of all that they need to grow. We’re constantly being told in the print media, on TV and online that kids these days don’t eat enough vegetables to get the vitamins and minerals they need, to say nothing of the dietary fibre. Foods such as fruits and vegetables are high in the dietary fibre needed to make sure the digestive system as a whole functions efficiently. In other words dietary fibre is the magic ingredient that helps us get the best out of the foods we eat and it helps to avoid constipation, a common childhood complaint.
Juvenile obesity is a growing problem in the UK . The BBC recently reported a “four fold increase in the number of kids admitted to hospital for obesity related conditions”! Obesity is linked to serious childhood illnesses such as asthma, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, respiratory problems and even depression. Making vegetables and fruit a large part of your child’s diet will help to avoid obesity and maintain an ongoing healthy body weight as they grow up. Encouraging your child to eat fruits and vegetables (especially raw) instead of unhealthy snacks like crisps, cakes and sweets will pay dividends.
There’s no need to ban the unhealthy stuff, just keep it to a minimum – that way the kids won’t feel deprived but will end up with a real taste for healthy, juicy fruit and veg. Slices of raw carrot, sweet red pepper strips, button mushrooms, broccoli and cauliflower spears, mange-tout or sugar snap peas – these all taste a lot nicer raw than they do cooked and eaten plain or dipped in hummus or tzatziki. If you make eating vegetables fun, the kids will enjoy it.
Believe it or not, kids with healthy diets, those who eat a lot of fruit and veg perform better academically than kids who don’t. Tests done in Canada show that a massive 40% fewer kids with healthy diets fail literacy tests. With nutrition being such an important aspect of school performance, then making sure your child eats plenty of vegetables and fruit is essential if you want them to do well in school and prepare them for a positive future.
Encourage your kids to eat more vegetables. When you’re in the supermarket it’s often possible to find discount deals on small packs of ready-prepared veg (like baby corn, sugar snap peas, carrot sticks). Get your kids to choose a healthy raw snack from these small packs (they’re ideal for packed lunches too) – if it’s too much to eat in one go then share the pack amongst the kids or keep them in the fridge and use over two or three days as munchies.