Healthy food is food that contains many nutrients that will benefit your health.
It is nutritious and nourishing providing the body with essential nutrients – vitamins, minerals, protein, carbohydrates, good fat, and water. These nutrients are necessary for life. Without them your body does not receive the proper fuel to function at its best. Your body will develop health problems – maybe minor at first like headaches, skin rashes, tiredness, but later develop into major health problems like diabetes, cancer or heart disease.
Healthy food is:
1. Fresh, fruit and vegetables, whole grains and legumes, raw nuts and seeds. Raw, unprocessed foods are live foods. They contain the greatest amount of vitamins, minerals and enzymes and provide the body with the greatest amount of nutrition.
2. Unprocessed or as close to its natural state as possible. Animal foods-eggs, poultry and meat-that are free range, grass fed and hormone and antibiotic free are definitely best.
3. Free from additives and preservatives. Check the ingredients list. If there are additives and preservatives they will be listed, so the shorter the ingredients list the better the product.
4. High in vitamins, minerals, protein, complex carbohydrates, fibre and low in fat, salt (sodium) and sugar. Check this out by reading the nutrition information panel on the packaging.
5. Not overcooked or over processed to the point of destroying all the beneficial nutrients. So by using quick cooking methods for vegetables you will be getting loads more nutrients from the food.
Warning – Even if the product is labelled ‘all natural,’ ‘low fat’ or any other statements implying that the product is healthy, it may still be unhealthy and contain harmful ingredients. The only way you will know for sure is if you read the list of ingredients and the nutrition information.
So now that you have selected healthy foods how do you get your kids to eat them?
There is a huge variety of healthy and very colourful foods to choose from. With the abundance of cooking shows and recipe websites and cookbooks it really is easy to find ways to prepare and present these foods to your kids. You can even get online videos showing you how to prepare them! Here’s just 7 quick tips on how to get your kids to eat healthy foods.
1. Take your kids to the fruit and vegetable market and slowly check out the different foods. Pick out three fruits and three vegetables that they like then get them to help you choose at least two new fruits and two new vegetables to try. Then in a few weeks take them again for more new foods to try.
2. Find new recipes for these new fruits and vegetables and serve them up confidently to your family.
3. Make small packages of fruit salad, cut up vegetables holistic approach (those bite-sized cherry tomatoes are ideal) with a slice of cheese, or a small bag of home made popcorn, or nuts and have them on hand for instant snacks or to put in the lunch box.
4. Try new, healthy foods more than once in at least three different ways. Discover different ways to prepare foods they may have tried but not liked before.
5. Make meals and snacks at home with the kids. Whatever the age, by getting them involved will get them more interested and excited about the food as well as having some control over what they eat.
6. Be an enthusiastic role model. Your children really do learn from you! You cannot expect them to do things you yourself are not prepared to do – so maybe you need to be more adventurous with your food choices.
7. Only have healthy food in the fridge and pantry. Get rid of foods you know are not healthy and do not continue to buy them! Replace them with healthier options to keep on hand. The kids will eat them when they are hungry and will get used to seeing them in the fridge and pantry.
You can make a difference to your kids’ food choices. It really is that simple!