15 APRIL, 2013

What do our children eat at school and at home?

Our children’s diet should be of great concern to us. Their food intake has as much to do with their healthy as it does with their proper development. However, it also affects and forms the eating habits that they will adopt in the future, as adults, which is equally important. A healthy diet is not just about what children eat outside the home (for example, at the school cafeteria), but also within the home. And of course, we must never forget that we ourselves are roll models for our children.

It will be difficult to convince a child to abandon chocolate cookies for a yogurt or a croissant for freshly squeezed juices and even more difficult for that child to commit to a healthy breakfast, when his or her parents start off their day with just a cup of coffee. So, the people who should adopt healthy eating habits, first and foremost, are parents. Then, discussion, persuasion and children’s tendency to imitate, will help them adjust to proper eating habits, which will gradually become a way of life.

What can we do so that our children eat well, whether they buy their school lunch or bring it from home…

Prepare a weekly menu

Plan a healthier diet for your children and for youself. Make sure that during the week your children take in the necessary ingredients for their development by preparing a weekly menu. As time consuming as this may seem for hard working parents, in reality, this will actually save you from the daily angst of «what will I cook today», while it will also form the foundation for your child’s proper diet. Switching meals with light cooking and food groups that give strength, energy and contribute to development (such as, cereal, pasta, rice, bread, cheese, meat, milk, fish, legumes), must be the basis of these weekly diets.

Don’t let your child leave the house feeling hungry in the morning

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and an inextricable part of a good and balanced diet. It provides the body with the necessary energy and basic nutritional ingredients it needs. Even though one might think that breakfast requires some time to be prepared, time that cannot be spared in the morning before school, in reality a good breakfast demands very little time. If however, the interval between the time a child wakes up and the time he or she goes to school is short, that just requires better organization and not forfitting of the breakfast meal. Preparing the child’s school bag and clothes the night before, for example, can save valueable time from the morning’s tasks.

Let’s make our childrens school meals healthier

You should prefer that you child take their school meal with them from home; One that contains fruit, sandwiches, wraps, homemade loafcake, a sesame bun etc. This way, we can avoid our child consuming high fat meals such as cheese pies, cheetohs, chips and similar snack foods.

Make sure that the child takes 2-3 healthy snacks with him or her to school, snacks that will be consumed throughout the day, in different intervals. It is somewhat difficult to monitor this and, of course, requires a degree of trust in our child’s adherence to our request, so perhaps a discussion with the teacher would help.

It is preferable that your child take with him or her a fruit than concentrated fruit juice.

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