From the www.SingleMotherForum.com
The first thing to do is actually make a list of things that the child will eat or does like. The important thing is variety and to cover as many of the nutrients as possible. For example, if the child likes ham or chicken, then a sandwich or wrap is a good start. Wholemeal bread, lightly buttered if at all, with a thick slice of lean ham or skinless chicken.
Fruit is probably a definite. Invest in some little food boxes so you can put in some grapes or apple slices. If your child will eat some types of veg then some carrot sticks or cherry tomatoes are great. Steer away from biscuits, crisps or potato chips, most are full of, sugar fat and salt. If they really want something sweet, there are a range of natural fruit yoghurts that come in easy to open tubes. Check the labels, look for ones that are low sugar and say they are live or bio yoghurts.
For a drink, maybe substitute squash or fizzy drinks for half fresh juice, half water.
The idea is, to ensure the kids don't load up on refined sugar and processed food at lunch, otherwise blood sugar levels spike, and fall in the afternoon, causing lack of concentration and tiredness. By having a balance of carbohydrate (wholemeal bread), protein (ham or chicken) with fibre (again wholemeal bread and veg/fruit), the child should stay fuller for longer and have a balanced blood sugar level to stop hunger later in the afternoon.
For exceptionally fussy children, you may need to take your time and really assess what the child will eat. There are many healthy substitutions for poor choices out there. Encourage the kids to try new things, a star or reward chart is perfect for this (as long as the reward isn't sweets). As well as this, get them to help prepare the food, cutting the veg sticks, washing the grapes and spreading the butter and cutting the sandwich into triangles. This worked for me - Dan
Dan Davis for SingleMum.com.au | February 17, 2011
Iím a huge fan of anyoneís valiant efforts to get our kids eating healthier. Its no secret that the nations young are getting bigger, are less active and are more at risk of preventable diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and stroke than ever before. But in addition to the strong efforts, it is my honest opinion that we need to step one generation back and lead by example.
I have raised my son as a single dad for nearly eight years, since before he turned one. Through one reason or another I piled on an extra life threatening 60 kilos reaching a peak of about 165 kilos. My own diet was a gluttonous mix of take away and convenience food, from gas stations and mini marts. But in all the time I was eating chinese take out banquets for two on my own or family sized slabs of ready meal lasagna, with a side order of roasted potato and garlic bread, I would do my best to make sure my baby son was eating as best as I could. When I stop and think about these times, I realise that I, as any decent father will do, was putting my sonís wellbeing before mine. But heres the reasoning that woke me up to making the life changes that bring me here today. If Iíd carried on the way I was going, which I have no doubt was an early death, I wouldnít be around to care for my boy in any case. In fact, it was his comparison of me to a fat insect on a disney film that shocked me into taking my life back. He actually asked me when he would get a belly like mine. So there is my point. We lead by example, and if done early enough, we can install these examples into a permanent lifestyle.
Iím not here to tell anyone theyíre doing anything wrong. What Iíd like to be able to do is tell you about some of the changes Iíve made, little ďtricksĒ Iíve used and recipes that my son and I follow together in our own kitchen, in hope that you find it useful. Iíll tell you of scenarios and situations that Iíve heard from other single parents. Some that are very common and some you may recognise yourselves. And iíll pass on the same advice I gave to these mumís and dadís too.
So where shall we start? I think the best sentence I can open up with is, donít make food an issue. By which I mean, avoid using food as a punishment. I remember so many times as a kid being told I wasnít allowed to leave the table until Iíd finished my greens, especially if iíd misbehaved that day. Itís hardly surprising that greens werenít high on my list of favorites if I only had to finish them when Iíd been bad. The same can be said for using food as a treat constantly. Iím not saying that we canít give the odd surprise now and then, but if constant, it seems to install a routine. And when you donít treat with food, our kids might start to think they havenít behaved well enough or maybe worse start to associate sweets and treats with love. Insisting on cleaning their plate before leaving the table, Iíve heard this a lot. ďMy son doesnít ever finish his dinnerĒ. When I ask them to tell me what was on the plate, I realise that maybe Iíd even struggle to eat it all. Portion size is very important, it might take some fine tuning but you need to figure out how much your kids can actually eat. You can always give a little more if they polish it off, not too much mind, but rather this than constantly throwing food away and getting frustrated yourself. Lastly, get out of the habit of cooking two meals, one for you and one for the children. Eating the same as each other encourages a wider variety of foods to both adults and kids alike, and also may push the youngsters to try new things. This is where a star or reward chart really comes into its own. Iíll explain more about this next time.
Hereís a very simple recipe, if you can even call this one a recipe. Fruit kebabs make a simple desert or snack. Thread chunks of apple, pineapple, mango, red grapes and kiwi fruit onto some skewers and let the kids, or yourselves, dip them into plain natural yoghurt with a little honey stirred in. As well as being tasty, the kiwi is packed with vitamin C, the red grape skins are loaded with immunity boosting anti-oxidants, pineapple has compounds that aid digestion and inflammation from sinus problems and sore throats, mango contains nutrients important for skin, lung and gut health and apples are a great source of fibre and pectin to help keep a smooth and regular digestive path. All this plus a host of other important vitamins and minerals. Make them fresh and get the kids involved with making the kebabs up. Dan
Dan Davis is a Nutritional Therapist based in London and Kent in the UK and a member of the SingleMum.com.au Expert Panel. To learn more about Dan, please go to his Biography page here