As we know, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. As parents we need to make sure we are offering a variety of healthy choices. But what exactly are these healthy choices?
Convenience foods like breakfast bars and pre-made smoothies/milk drinks can be an easy option but are often low in fibre and contain large amounts of sugar.
Choosing wholegrain cereals and bread can help ensure that your child is consuming adequate fibre. Choose multigrain or wholegrain breads, if this is not an option chose a 'high fibre' white bread. When choosing cereals, opt for those that have at least 3 g of fibre per serve. If your child’s FAVOURITE cereal is non-negotiable, trial mixing their chosen cereal with oats or bran flakes to increase the fibre, and reduce the sugar content.
Make your own smoothies at home, this allows you to control the amount of sugar and other ingredients that goes into the drink. Opt for fresh fruits to sweeten where possible. Adding some rolled oats, un-toasted muesli or weet-bix to smoothies is also a great way to make a more complete meal that is going to provide enough energy to start the day.
For children who prefer savoury options, egg on toast is a great option. Scrambled, poached, fried, toad in a hole, egg soldiers, omelettes, the list goes on! Baked beans or grilled cheese on toast is also a firm favourite for fussy eaters.
Yogurt with cereal or fruit is also a quick and easy breakfast option. Try to choose yogurts that have less than 15 g of sugar per 100 g. Better yet, choose natural or unsweetened Greek yogurt and add your own fruit or honey to sweetened. Again, this put you in more charge of what goes into your kids breakfast!
Some children are not hungry at breakfast and refuse to eat but be patient. Parental influence and consistency are vital. Here are some tips for you to try:
Finally, never forget that it can take up to 6 months for food acceptance. CONSISTENCY must be a part of this plan.
Getting your children involved in shopping, preparing and cooking meals at home helps them to develop healthy eating habits from a young age. Involving children in the cooking process also encourages an interest and enjoyment in food, helping to overcome fussy eating habits. It can be as simple as asking them to pick a vegetable that they like the look of in the supermarket. Cooking with children also has the added benefit of aiding in the development of essential skills such as reading, following directions, measuring and fine motor skills.
With busy lifestyles, the practicality of having children in the kitchen can make this a challenge. However, taking the time to involve children in at least one components of the meal prep can help them feel involved and spark their interest in food. This is vital for development of adult life skills, independence, and to minimise fussy eating in children, so get cooking!