Want to get your child eating a healthier diet but not sure how to go about it? Our child nutritionist suggests how to swap fatty food for a healthy alternative
Kids love sausage rolls, but they’re high in saturated fat and salt. A tasty alternative is sardines on toast – packed full of calcium and Omega-3, and only 3% fat. If your little ones aren’t keen, try mashing them up with some tomato sauce or lemon.
Little ones enjoy something sweet in the afternoon, but it doesn’t have to be unhealthy. Instead of sugary buns, mash a banana on wholemeal toast. This tasty snack will help towards their five-a-day and provide fibre, potassium and vitamins B1 and E.
As the party season approaches, extra treats are inevitable. But while the odd jelly baby is fine, a handful could make your little one too full for her meal. Fruity sweets are also up to 80 per cent sugar, providing calories but little else. Try fruit bars instead, as although they do contain sugar, they also have nutrients like potassium, iron and calcium. Choose bars with dried fruit rather than concentrated juice – they’re better for teeth and provide fibre, too.
Croissants may seem a good on-the-go choice for breakfast. However, they’re 25 to 30 per cent fat and a lot of that is unhealthy saturated fat, because most are made with butter. Cereal is a far healthier option, as it usually has added vitamins and minerals including iron, B2 and D. Try a snack pot cereal pack if you’re out and about.
Apple pie is a traditional favourite. Made in the right way it can be quite healthy. The trouble is, shop-bought ones are mainly pastry, and so they contain lots of white flour, sugar and fat, but few vitamins and minerals. Some are made with real Bramley apples, but the apple content can be as low as 6%.Baking your own apple crumble means you can make it half or even two thirds apple. You can also add blackberries or plums for a bit of variety.
Sausages and fish fingers are both favourites with busy mums – but the difference in saturated fat content between the two is startling.
Sausages contain 10 per cent, against just one per cent in fish fingers, while the former have more salt. Fish fingers are also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, helping brain and eye development. Gluten-free varieties are now available for those who need them, too, as well as salmon fingers.
Little biscuits and treats in trendy tubs are irresistible to kids (and mums!). But ‘mini’ biscuits are no better for children than full-size ones. They still contain white flour, sugar and salt, rather than the vitamins and minerals children need. Harness the appeal of ‘mini’ foods by giving your tot his own pot of fruit instead. Supermarkets all sell individual chopped up fruit servings, often with a spoon for easy eating.
Most ice creams contain cream, sugar and additives. A good alternative is natural yogurt with a dollop of fruit purée. To make it fun, buy a fruit pouch and squirt a spiral onto the yogurt.
It your tot’s got a sweet tooth, stock up on chocolate-covered raisins, for a treat with added fibre. You’ll halve the amount of chocolate your little one is getting without him or her even noticing. Raisins also provide a healthy dose of iron and potassium, so it’s a sneaky way to pack your family’s diet with added goodness. Buy a cheap airtight plastic box and fill it with the raisins so you’ve always got them in the house when hunger strikes.
Next time you’re rustling up a salad, instead of topping your leaves with croutons, pop a few walnuts into a dry (no oil) pan and toast on a low heat for a minute until they start to brown. Walnuts are rich in Omega-3, fatty acids and antioxidants, and, for the adults in the family, munching on them can help lower your cholesterol levels a treat. Try adding the toasted nuts to salads with chopped celery and apple for hint of the classic Waldorf dish.
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