With obesity on the rise with our children, it is clear that families and schools can do a lot more to ensure these problems are kept at bay.
Here are a few simple steps to raise healthy children:
1. Switch sugar-rich foods with something more nutritious.
Research has shown us that breakfast is the most important meal of the day as it kickstarts the metabolism. Switch sugar-rich foods such as biscuits and cereal with something more nutritious like oats. Oats do not need to be in the form of a gooey mess that is not exactly palatable to children. It can be thrown in cookie mixes, pancake mixes and even pies and quiches. Replace sugary items with fruits high in fibre and vitamins such as bananas. Fruits can also be blended into muffin mixes to add sweetness in a manner healthier for the young ones.
2. Switch to whole grain options.
In Singapore, we are used to having white rice as a staple in our food. Switch to whole grain options like brown rice and explore other grains such as quinoa, barley, oats and couscous. These options make up the protein portion of meals instead of carbohydrates. Proteins are essential in helping cells in the body work optimally and they do not convert to fat when not used, unlike carbohydrates.
3. Introduce the concept of eating like a rainbow to the children.
Have a picky eater? Especially if the food items are green? Introduce the concept of eating like a rainbow to the children. “Let’s see, what colours do you see on your plate today? Now that is 3 out of 7 colours of a rainbow! I think you can do better than that!” Raw vegetables can be very daunting to young ones if they are not introduced or exposed to them early. Expose your child to a variety of dips and sauces, like carrots with humus. These tasty and healthy options expand their taste palettes, motivate them to be more adventurous with food and get them to have more vegetables!