In my first post on ‘healthy eating for rubbish cooks‘, I gave you the top 15 rules to aim for 5 fruit and vegetables a day and suggested mixing up the colours? (The science behind the colours is to make sure that you are getting a mixture of vitamins and nutrients). Well as I know it’s not always as easy as it sounds, I thought I’d give you some pointers. Feel free to add yours and help out other Mums too!
1) Take it step by step and don’t aim straight for 5 a day straight away if you are nowhere near it. Start with an objective of 3 or 4 and work up over a couple of months. After a while it becomes a habit and it’s no longer something you have to work at and you’ll find that when they start school, they’ll get told all about how important 5 a day is too.
3) Add stars/stickers for success; There are some lovely charts that you can make or buy to help you out
4) Have a fruit snack for morning snack, and save the treats for the afternoon (i.e. relatively healthy biscuit) and make it a ‘rule’. Because it’s a ‘rule’ it has eventually been accepted as gospel in our house, plus it means I can save all potential forms of bribery until later in the day (yep, I am a sneaky mummy!).
5) Maybe this is a big change in the way your household works, but you’re the parent, so you have the right to change it. Explain why it’s important to you that everyone in the house is healthy, and how it will help them with their concentration/fitness/sport/health/skin/parents health. Then make sure that you are certain and confident as you tell them that it’s going to change, and from then on STICK to it, and be CONSISTENT!
6) If each meal has some kind of 5 a day aspect to it, and you have a snack that is fruit based as well, then you only have to add 1 more portion in to one of the meals.
7) Make Dessert always fruit based at dinner time. If you don’t have dessert, consider doing so because it helps reduce your adult portions of a main meal, and gives a chance to eat a little more until you are full. It also helps kids that are easily bored by food. If you tend to have sweet desserts as in cakes, pies or puddings every night, then this might be a big change, but really those should only be treats once a week or less, not every night. Your kids are very likely to grow up with a weight problem if they get into a habit like that.
10 Top Ideas On Where To Eat The 5 A Day
1) Different types of the same fruit or vegetable can taste very different; make sure that you explain this to a child, and for their first taste get the best option. For instance the hairy northern one didn’t like broccoli, but when I got him eating tender stream broccoli he started to be interested in the plain stuff. Berries are notoriously bland or sharp sometimes, so it’s worth first of all buying the expensive ones and then risking a cheaper version. Apples and oranges come in amazingly different tastes and sizes.
2) Don’t get put off by an initial refusal, just keep trying or try alternative presentation or cooking methods. E.g. Roasted vegetables are much tastier than boiled, and my son will only eat uncooked carrots.
3) Breakfast on the run: school runs argggh! I don’t like food in the morning, so my top tip is to switch breakfast and fruit snack around if you feel the same. So I’ll have an apple or banana for breakfast and toast later as a snack. Teenagers might prefer this too; just give them something larger for snack, like a healthy granola bar (see the post on snacks coming soon!)
4) Fruit Juice: not from concentrate is an easy way to start the day for the whole family and is an immediate tick. If you are struggling it can be another tick later on, just make sure it is a different fruit.
5) Uncooked is fine: I always have cucumber and carrots in the house, so that on a busy night I can be sure they have some vegetables; even pizza night
6) Tinned is a good back up plan: Tinned sweetcorn (with no added sugar or salt if possible), is another tip as my kids will eat it cold or hot and it can be added to pretty much any meal.
7) Frozen favourites: Adding peas or sweetcorn to pasta or rice in the last few minutes is a great way to quickly include vegetables
8) Clever Sauces: Better cooks than me just whizz up the vegetables into a sauce so that the kids don’t know they are eating it. My option is to use tinned tomatoes as the base for a sauce.
9) Fun drinks: Fruit can be added to milkshakes or you can make your own juices if you are feeling creative and imaginative and the kids will probably really enjoy getting involved.
10) Add something to it: To make fruit for Dessert more tasty add a good probiotic yogurt with no or little added sugar. Use honey or manuka honey to sweeten if needed.
It can be done. It’s just about taking it day by day, some determination, a bit of subtlety, imagination and a degree of sneakiness! But to keep you going, just remember that you are investing in your future with your kids and their future health; that kind of makes it worth while. The great thing is that as a side-effect you will feel healthier and have more energy, especially if there were a lot of less healthy snacks in there beforehand. Any questions let me know. Any ideas, feel free to share!