At Peach, we don’t have a children’s menu, as we believe kids should eat food as good as yours, but with the end of the school holidays in sight, we know how hard packing a well-balanced, healthy lunchbox can be.
Getting the kids to eat more of the good stuff can be quite the challenge in itself, and from the range of expert opinions, it can become unclear where to even begin. So, where do you start, and more importantly what can you try to get your kids to eat more of the stuff that’s good for them?
What should they be eating?
It’s all about balance. Despite all the recent advances and research in food development, it would appear that the core basis of what’s needed to grow and maintain healthy, is as it always was; a balance of carbs, protein, diary, fruit and veg. Ensuring children receive these nutrients isn’t as daunting as it might first appear. Try getting nutrients from untreated meats such as free-range chicken, grass-fed beef and wild caught fish; vegetables such as spinach, peppers, tomatoes, aubergine, squash and leeks; and healthy fats such as coconut, eggs, fish, seeds and nuts.
We all know how fussy some kids can be, so you may need to try a range of foods and bring some of these ingredients into their lunchbox slowly. Try mixing up what you pack and offer variety, introducing new ingredients slowly. Swap the sandwich for some pasta, or how about trying a ploughmans with cheese, crackers and grapes.
How do I get them to eat it?
So you’ve heard what the kids need and now you’re probably wondering how to get them to eat it? There’s always that one family whose kids love to experiment with food and will eat anything that’s put in front of them, but then there’s the kids who turn their nose up at even the idea of vegetable…aubergine? Game over. If your child is the latter, then this may be a bit of a challenge however, there’s a couple of ideas to help you along.
1.Educate. Explaining why eating these foods are important will help them understand. Educating will will also help them make the right choices. Also, show them where their food comes from too. Try asking where they think food comes from, you may be surprised to hear some of their answers. Take them to the supermarkets and talk about the different vegetables – which ones don’t they know? See if they will try a new one every week? You could even try growing veggies in your own garden (if you have the space).
2. Let them choose. Children enjoy the freedom of choice and it makes them feel that little bit more grown up. Guiding them into making these right choices may take a bit of training but if consistent, children love to take on this responsibility. Help them pack their own lunches – they might pick a different fruit from the fridge for once.
3. Be a role model. Eating the food yourself and showing them you enjoy it too can really show children a positive response to the food and make them intrigued to try the foods too. Also cooking different foods with children is not only fun for you but kids love cooking too. In doing this, children take ownership of their eating and you can also make the foods look more exciting for them. Children are likely to be more willing to try the foods they have cooked as they have been involved. So give some of these ideas a go, and let us know what worked and what didn’t. Talk to other parents, or have a look online – there’s tonnes of ideas out there. Good luck!