The war between kids and their greens is a tale as old as time – but there are a few tricks to getting the little ones not only eating their fruit and veg, but enjoying them too. We’ve got the top tips straight from Lifely founder and nutrition entrepreneur Bianca Monley.
“When you have a change in diet it can be really tricky to know what to eat – to get children to start eating fresh fruit and veggies when they haven’t before can be very difficult,” Bianca says.
The mum of three knows well the importance – and challenges – of eating well. It’s why she began her meal service, Lifely, which is all about providing people with high-quality, nutritious and fresh meals – whether you’re a family of 5 or a single office worker living alone, Bianca’s got something to keep you healthy, minus the hassle.
The entrepreneur knows how hard juggling family life with work, nutrition and all those other essentials we need to cram into our daily schedule can be – she also knows how difficult it can be to get the little ones to actually eat the good stuff! Here are her top 3 tips to get the whole family enjoying their fruit and veg.
Don’t give up
Bianca says one of the most important steps to getting your kids enjoying fresh produce is by not giving up. Try cooking the same food again in a different way, like baking kale chips instead of boiling kale or plating cucumber with cream cheese rather than in a salad. You could also try offering that same food to your kids another day – they might just end up liking something they previously refused.
“One thing with children and eating different foods, what they don’t like one day, they may like the next,” Bianca says.
Get them involved in the growing process
Bianca says getting the kids to take on a hands-on role in the food-growing process can help them appreciate where their food comes from – and have a bit of fun while they’re at it.
“Take them for a trip to Bunnings, choose some bunches of basil, grab some soil, get their hands dirty, get them down in the garden and get them to help you watch it grow from seed,” Bianca says. “Once it’s grown they can then be part of the harvesting process and picking all the ingredients to throw into a salad.”
She recommends vine ripened tomatoes and basil as these are easy to grow and can be easily served up with olive oil and cheese.
Get your kids to eat the rainbow
Plating up a variety of colourful fruit and veggies can get kids more interested in their food – Bianca says there’s some sage wisdom in the old “eat the rainbow” adage.
“Purchase an array of colours; greens and blues and red – when you present them on a plate and ask the children to eat a rainbow it can be so easily absorbed, they find the fun in it, which makes a huge difference,” she says.
She also says putting food out on a platter is an effective technique to get the kids eating the good stuff.
“Present the food beautifully and then get everybody around to pick and choose different things they like,” Bianca says. “Having them involved in the picking process can really get them excited about what they’re eating,” Bianca says.
Getting kids eating well is one of the best ways to combat the growing reliance we have on ultra-processed foods. Our obsession with highly-processed foods is one of the biggest drivers of the obesity epidemic, with the Australian Bureau of Statistics revealing that 67% of Aussies are overweight or obese, an alarming increase of nearly 4% since 2015. Ingredients like refined, hydrogenated oils manage to find their way into all manner of household staples, from bread and other baked goods to crackers, granola bars and even some dairy products. The production process of these oils renders their nutrients nearly void, along with the heating process causing the oil to oxidise. This then releases a number of toxic, inflammatory chemicals, which research shows may lead to the development of cancer, diabetes, obesity, autoimmune conditions and obesity. But that’s not all you have to worry about with processed foods – there’s also an excess of sugar and trans fats, contributing to our declining health and growing waistlines. Studies have found a link between our consumption of these processed foods and our skyrocketing rates of obesity – this is why prioritising whole foods, including fruits and veggies, is so important. Helping your kids make nutritious choices from a young age will set them up for a lifetime of health!
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