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All That Fuss

healthy-baby-food

By Lucy Marinelli.

Setting up children’s healthy eating habits early – right from their very first bites, through their toddler years is the most important thing we can do for their health. Because adolescents and adults tend to be drawn to those foods that featured heavily in their early diets, it’s important to start them healthy now and keep them healthy for life. While this ensures their vitamin and mineral intake is sufficient to sustain their busy lives, it also gives them a better chance against eating disorders and obesity later in life.

Young children are considered fussy eaters. Aim to keep foods and meals varied and remember to introduce children to foods that you yourself may not like. They may have different tastes to you and they may prefer other foods. Parents tend to give up after two or three times when their child rejects a new food, but don’t be put off. Research shows that it can in fact take up to ten attempts before a food is accepted into the diet.

Lumpy foods and foods with a little texture need to be introduced early. Again, research shows that introducing more textured food later can lead to children becoming fussy. So don’t purée all those lumps out to achieve that ultra-smooth finish; just simply mash the food with a fork or leave some soft lumps in there.

Don’t stress that your child is not eating enough. If your child seems healthy and has no trouble running around energetically and driving you mad, then they are eating enough! Remember too that as they go through their toddler years, their growth rate begins to slow and this may affect how much food they need.

Make mealtimes enjoyable, not a struggle over food and don’t use food treats as a bribe to get them to eat meals. This sets up bad eating patterns for life. Regulate eating times and patterns and involve children who are old enough in the preparation of their meals. Include a range of colourful foods and allow the kids to choose from them. Encourage self-feeding as much as possible. Remember that children’s stomachs are small and ensure that they are not filling up on juice or other fluids before their meals. Try not to eat too late in the evening when they simply may be too tired.

A quick, easy, lumpy custard recipe Banana custard made straight from your fruit bowl is a very yummy and natural alternative to the highly processed, laden with-sugar version you can get in supermarkets. Blend a small banana with a couple of chunks of celery. Ensure that you blend until the celery is completely smooth. Mash another banana and mix it gently into the puree to create a more custard-like consistency. I find bananas puréed on their own can be a little too sweet and the celery cuts the sweetness without taking over the taste. Bananas provide plenty of vitamin C, some of the B vitamins, potassium, magnesium, manganese and even the omegas 3 and 6, while celery adds sodium, vitamin A, K and folate. A lovely little vitamin and mineral meal that tastes great too. Give it a try with those delicious Lady Finger bananas in season now.

You can also introduce children to the more exotic fruits and vegetables when they are in season such as the ultra colourful dragon fruit.

This article was written by Lucy Marinelli and kindly submitted by our friends at Alfalfa House who first published it into their  e-news in 2008. Alfalfa House is a Sydney organic food co-op located in Newtown. To find out more about Alfalfa House and their delicious range of fresh organic produce and other minimally packaged and processed food visit www.alfalfahouse.org

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Sep 13, 2010 | Category: Food and Nutrition, Health and Beauty | Comments: none | Tags: , , ,

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