Brought to you by Good Health magazine
Get smart about the way you eat and drop the kilos by following in your child's footsteps, says Pip Harry.
We're always on the lookout for new and inventive ways to get children to eat healthier foods, but we're not nearly as vigilant with our own menu plans. Take these kid-sized cues to better nutrition and reap the benefits.
Kid tip: Peel & chop
Adults often tempt kids to eat their fruits and vegetables by peeling, chopping and arranging them appealingly. But as adults we can tend to bypass presentation for convenience. "We eat with all our senses, so colour and presentation of food is vital," explains Maria Packard, spokesperson for the Dietitians Association of Australia.
"Fruits and vegetables that take time to prepare, such as paw paw, cucumber, corn, fresh pineapple or melons, are not as tempting when you're short of time. The key is to cut it up the night before and store in airtight containers ready for work or for a snack at home.
"And try not to hide all your fruits and vegetables in the fridge. Make them readily available in a bowl and it will be easier to achieve the recommended two fruits and five serves of vegetables per day."
Get schooled: In a rush? Opt
for fruits that require little preparation, such as bananas, apples, mandarins or grapes. Time to spare? Prepare a fruit salad. "Slice up bite-sized pieces of seasonal fruits, with a squeeze of lemon to prevent browning," says dietitian Sonya Stanley. Also, try snacking on kid-friendly vegetables, such as sticks of cucumber and celery or cooked broccoli and green beans.
Kid tip: Hide your own vegetables
Clever cooks can get fussy kids to eat their fruit and vegetables by blending and 'hiding' them in their favourite meals. It's a diet trick that works for adults, too.
In studies from Pennsylvania State University, people who ate a meal made out of 25 percent pureed vegetables (for example, cauliflower blended into macaroni and cheese, or carrots whizzed through spaghetti sauce) sliced their kilojoule intake by 1500kJ a day. The reason? Adding vegetables bulks out the servings making food less kilojoule dense.
Get schooled: Feeding Fussy
Kids (ABC Books, $35) by nutritionist Julie Marie Wood and celebrity mum Antonia Kidman isn't just for the kindergarten set.
The book features nutritious recipes cleverly boosted
with superfoods, fruits and vegetables. Try chocolate cake blended with a cup of broccoli and a tomato sauce with five types of vegetables.
Check out their website at www.feedingfussykids.com.
Kid tip: Smaller cups & plates
Most adults are great at making sure children's meals are correctly portioned. However, it can be easy to upsize when it comes to our own meals. "We often call it portion distortion," says Packard. "Take a good look at the portion sizes you serve up at home and the plates you use. Dinner plates are about 30 per cent bigger than they were 50 years ago!"
Get schooled: There are plenty of ways to downsize your servings, says Packard. "Switching from a 30cm to a 25cm plate will help.
Keep a measuring cup with your breakfast cereal, so that you are
not tempted to over pour.
"Choose entree serves when eating out if you know the mains
are huge. Serve up a small portion of your meal, eat slowly, and go back for more if you're hungry rather than serving a large portion just in case. And portion out items that are easy to overeat, like dried fruit and nuts, so you are not tempted for more."
For the full story, see the January issue of Good Health.