parents

Dear parents of fussy eaters. This one is for you.

Have you ever had a fussy child? I’m not sure you could beat my four-year-old. He eats eggs, bananas, toast, carrots, milk and lasagna.

That’s all.

And it can’t touch other things on his plate. And it can’t be “speckled”. And the toast must be soft. And the carrots must be peeled to perfection.

In a busy household with three kids, he’s definitely the most difficult, diet-wise. (Or the easiest really if I just stick to his way of eating.)

But it can be a little stressful, can’t it? Ensuring our children get the best diet they possibly can.

Just as an FYI, you should know that this post is sponsored by Devondale Smoothies. But all opinions expressed by the author are 100 per cent authentic and written in their own words. To see what other readers think of the new Devondale Smoothies range click here.

My latest strategy has been to try and tempt him through snacks. I am hoping that by providing a variety of new and varied snacks throughout the day he might start to like new foods.

Accredited Practicing Dietitian Amber Beaumont from Dairy Australia advised that using foods children already like is a good way to disguise the foods they won’t eat.

It seems that our children’s diets can rank number one in the concerns we have about raising our kids.

She said, “Some kids may not like fruit, so popping fruit into milk to make a smoothie is just as good with the added benefit of the nutrients in milk. Similarly, cheese sauce poured over veggies is a great way to get kids to eat them. Kids’ food preferences are often changing so keep offering them new foods and they might surprise you.”

It seems that our children’s diets can rank number one in the concerns we have about raising our kids.

According to Amber Beaumont, the number one worry we have is there being too much sugar in our kids’ diets and with one in four children aged 5 – 17 being overweight or obese, it is a massive issue.

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Snacks make up to one-third of our child’s daily energy intake so it is important to get it right. They not just prop up our kids’ physical activity but are important for their mental functioning during the day.

Thirty-five per cent of Aussie kids’ energy currently comes from junk foods like hot chips, cakes, muffins, potato crisps, chocolate and soft drinks.

For many mums, the ease at which unhealthy snack foods are available makes them a convenient choice. Life is busy enough without chopping and scraping and grinding and baking just to get a quick snack food prepared for your child.

Snacks make up to one third of our child’s daily energy intake so it is important to get it right.

We all start off with the best of intentions but over time your life gets busy and your standards slip, don’t they?

My first-born son was NEVER going to eat sugar or salty crackers or (gasp horror) pre-packaged foods.

But my third born can debate the pros and cons of salt-and-vinegar versus BBQ chips at length with her older brothers.

Amber said that you should try doing a trade with your kids. If they ask for a soft drink, suggest they grab a milk smoothie. If they ask for a bag of chips, try suggesting flavoured rice crackers. But once in a while we all have to give in and relax our standards, especially on special occasions. Who wants to get a party bag filled with fruit?

There must be a simpler way, so I asked Amber Beaumont for her top four tips on getting snacks:

  • Choose foods from the five food groups. Foods based around fruit, vegetables, dairy foods, grain foods and lean meats will help ensure kids get the nutrients they need to be their best every day.
  • For packaged products, look on the label for familiar ingredients from these five food groups.
  • Parents don’t need to be afraid of food. They risk doing their child more harm than good. Different food groups have different nutrients to offer the body. For example, dairy foods contain protein for muscles and calcium for bones, grain foods provide B group vitamins for energy, fruit and vegetables contain antioxidant nutrients like vitamin C and A to support immune function and reduce risk of disease.
  • Plan ahead. A piece of fruit, a tub of yogurt, a ready-to-drink smoothie or cheese sticks are tasty and just as convenient as junk foods. A little bit of planning will ensure healthy snacks are on hand to give to your kids any time of the day. Look out for items that will fit easily into a school lunchbox or cooler pack for the car on the way to sport. I think my daughter could say “squeezy yoghurt” before mama or dada! Snacks like this can make life so much easier.

How do you keep your kids healthy while making sure they’re happy and energised?

Devondale is a dairy co-operative proudly owned and run by Aussie farmers. We’ve created NEW Devondale Smoothies, a nutritious and delicious beverage for children.

Devondale Smoothies is a blend of our Aussie milk and real fruit – simple! With no artificial additives and no cane sugar, they’re the snack you don’t have to worry about.

They’re also School Canteen Approved (Green)*, a source of calcium and Low GI*. Plus they’re delicious and available in four classic smoothie flavours: Berry Mix, Tropical, Strawberry & Banana and Banana & Honey. Find the three packs in the lunchbox beverages aisle of your local supermarket.

*Visit www.Devondale.com.au/Smoothies for more information

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