Parents all over the world are facing the same challenge: How to get their little fussy eaters to eat wholesome, nutritious food (aka ‘real’ food). They know what they want their children to be eating… But the question is, how do they do it?
Helping children to eat real food can be incredibly tricky (to the exasperated parents out there we hear you!). This is made especially difficult given our children are growing up in a world where the fast food industry is luring kids in all directions; vending machines, food courts, television, radio… The list could go on! The bottom line is that escaping processed food is incredibly difficult, and it’s only going to continue. Our fussy little eater expert and health coach Sarah from Practise Glow shares her knowledge on how to get children of all ages glowing from the inside out!
Why is real food so important?
The amount of sugar, preservatives and other nasties in food children are eating (and often multiple times per day) is eye-wateringly scary. From muesli bars to ready-to-go smoothies, even breakfast cereals and fruit bars, children today are being exposed to ingredients that are far removed from ‘real food’. Numbers and words, which need a scientist to explain, aren’t food. It’s that simple.
Processed foods are difficult for the body to digest because many of the ingredients are ‘foreign’ to the body. This can result in a build up of toxic substances, which can lead to all sorts of complications including poor immunity, digestive issues, tooth decay, headaches and weight gain.
As food is an integral building block for our bodies, children are experiencing many other challenges relating to their health and wellness by eating processed food. Poor attention and concentration, anxiety, reduced energy and stamina, irritability, hyperactivity, restlessness, temper tantrums, disrupted sleep and mood swings, to name a few!
Food can either power a child’s ability to participate fully and wholeheartedly in their daily life or perpetuate a variety of health related issues.
The good news is that there are some fun and simple ways to encourage children to eat real food (for life!). But first up are the parents. Your role is very important so let’s try and lighten your load…
How can you help your child eat real food?
Set yourself a monthly challenge of using Sunday to get organised for the week ahead. Use your freezer to store meals, lunch box snacks, soups, stock… Endless options! Dive through the archive of recipes for some nourishing inspiration.
Be one step ahead.
Prepare breakfast or lunch boxes the night before (bonus points if you do both!). Not only will it save you time, but preparing the night before will allow you not to rush, and will assure plenty of love will go into what your child is eating.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Ask your husband or older children to help out by making sandwiches, packing lunchboxes or wrapping food. Strapped for time? Find a local fruit and vegetable box delivery service or do your grocery shopping online.
Remember to be patient and persistent. If you’re still feeling stuck or worried about your child’s nutrition or weight consult a professional who has specific skills working with children with food related difficulties.
Visit again next week for Part 2 where Sarah shares 6 more life saving strategies to help the kiddies eat & fall in love with real food!
Sarah Tamburrini, is a children’s Occupational Therapist + parent coach + writer who is passionate about helping children glow from both inside and out. Sarah is currently studying to become a holistic health coach through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Sarah’s coaching helps children to eat real food, beam out improved attention, ditch the tantrums, ace that spelling test and enjoy mealtimes with the family again.
Sarah is passionate about working with children who are picky eaters and children with food intolerances and gut sensitivities, which may or may not exist in the context of a disability or condition. Sarah has many years of experience supporting children’s development despite developmental delay, Autism and Attention Deficit Disorders.