Who says healthy eating is difficult? As we welcome the new year after all the feasts and celebrations we had in December, let’s explore some sneaky swaps or hacks to introduce healthier meals to your children!
In line with Kiddiwinkie’s healthy eating and the joy of being awarded platinum tier in the Healthy Eating Programme by Health Promotion Board last year*, here are 6 simple food swaps to make your children’s foods healthier.
Whole grain products instead of white rice/bread
Living in Singapore, we are always surrounded by all variety of food options but they are commonly grain-products – from rice, oats, bread to pasta. If you’re currently cooking rice with white grains or making sandwich with white bread, it’s time for a change.
Swap your children’s white rice or white bread into whole grains to increase their fibre intake! Worried that your child may not like it? A sneaky hack: start slowly by mixing them up – adding brown rice into your white rice – and gradually doing a full swap.
Make eating fruits and vegetable fun!
Increase their fibre intake by introducing more fruits and vegetable into your kid’s meal. Gamified the process by making it fun for your children! Try cutting up fruits into shapes that they love. For example, cut up your watermelon into a Christmas tree.
Keep snacks and sweets away
As the saying goes, “out of sight, out of mind”. Avoid having to go through the struggles of saying ‘no’ to your children and their crying by keeping unhealthy food away from them. Stay away from fast food when bringing your children out. Carry their favourite snacks with you to distract them as well.
Flavoured water instead of sodas
Since young, even our parents nag at us to drink more water and cut back on sodas. Children’s bodies have up to 65% of water, while adult bodies are made up of 60% of water. We need sufficient water to keep our body hydrated. But sadly, most of us don’t like drinking water for the lack of taste. So why don’t you add in fresh fruits to flavour-up the plain ol’ water and give it a tinge of flavour and sweetness to it!
Not only will it create more benefits for your water – the goodness of water and vitamins from the fruits – it can also increase the willingness to drink up! Or try making that refreshing cucumber mint infused water with your children at home!
Healthy proteins and meat source
Indeed, it is important for us to have a balanced diet, and that includes our protein intake. Most parents tend to use lunch meats – precooked or cured meat – such as sausages, luncheon meats or cold cuts in sandwiches and meals. However, these lunch meats are loaded with sodium and saturated fats, and not to forget various artificial ingredients that we may be unaware of their harmful effects. Make a healthier choice; replace with lean protein like grilled chicken breast meat or even tofu!
Natural yoghurt with fresh berries instead of flavoured yoghurt
Yoghurts are jam pack with probiotics that stimulate the healthy digestive system and help produce vitamin B12 and K. However, not all yoghurts are really that healthy; flavoured yoghurt actually contains a heap of sugar! Go for the healthier option of eating natural yoghurt and mixing them up with your favourite berries for the extra punch of goodness!
At the end of the day, all it takes is for your children to get used to it. And it helps if the whole family is doing it together! Try it for yourself and you can even make it a family activity together. As we all know, our children observe and learn from adults – so if you’re also enjoying your healthy meals, it will pique their interests as well.