Brown bread is a healthier option than white for both children and adults. It contains the whole wheat husk rather than just the grain, which is a good source of B vitamins and fibre, which are essential for health and digestion. It also releases its sugars slowly for a long-lasting supply of energy.
The best way to get your child to eat brown bread is to offer it from the start, rather than giving white bread initially and then changing to brown. Choose breads that have a fine, close texture rather than one which has lots of seeds, which may pose a risk of choking.
If you have already started giving your child white bread but want to move to wholemeal, there are a range of breads which are white in colour but contain some wholemeal flour. Try moving to these as an interim step, and then progress onto wholemeal bread. If you are making sandwiches you can use one slice of white bread and one of brown: the colour combination appeals to children, and this introduces wholemeal bread more gradually.
It’s important for your child to have some fibre to prevent constipation, but a high fibre diet is not recommended for babies and toddlers. If they eat too much fibre, which is filling but not rich in calories or nutrients, they may be too full for other foods and not take on enough variety. The best type of fibre for young children is soluble fibre, which is found in fruit, vegetables and oats. Although it’s fine to give your child wholemeal bread, avoid giving too many other wholemeal foods, such as brown rice or pasta, before the age of five.
Answered by: Ceri Morgan and Ann Souter, nutritional therapists, www.recipeforhealth.co.uk