Swapping unhealthy favourites for healthier options can help you ensure that your child eats a well-balanced diet and gets all the vitamins and minerals they need.
Here are a few simple child-friendly food swops that you can try:
Opt for oven-baked potato over fried chips
First for the good news: Potatoes are a vegetable and they are rich in potassium and fibre as well as carbohydrates; which are good for your child in moderation. A healthy serving of potatoes has more carbohydrates in it than most diets will allow.
Now for the bad news: Even with all its benefits as a legitimate healthy food, deep-fried potatoes aren’t good for children.
If you are going to treat your child to chips, consider baking fresh homemade chips or wedges in the oven. This means you are in control of all the oil and seasoning that goes into your child’s savoury treat.
Top tip: Jicama looks like a potato, feels like a potato, tastes like a cross between a pear and a potato, but has fewer carbohydrates and more fibre. Air fried jicama is the go-to chip if you’re trying to get your children to eat more healthy carb options.
Ditch store-bought sauces and dips
Packaged sauces and dips are one way many parents unknowingly give their children more sugar than they bargained for. Making your own sauces and dips means you can track how much sugar and oil goes into it.
You are also able to control other ingredients that go into sauces, and leave out food that might contradict your child’s eating and health plan.
Using tomato relish in place of tomato sauce is another opportunity to sneak in some extra veg (blended into your relish) and experiment with different herbs and natural spices for flavour.
Dips like homemade hummus can be adapted and made out of beans, made to include veggies, and can also be made in different flavours.
Replace puffed rice for puffed millet
It might not snap, crackle, and pop when you add milk to it, but puffed millet is richer in fibre than puffed rice which means it keeps your child fuller for longer and makes for a more substantial breakfast.
Top tip: Using puffed millet is also an option when making treats and snacks.
Be aware of giving your child too much pap
Pap is an African staple some of us just can’t let go of. The problem with pap for most children is the number of carbs in it verus the number of other nutrients like iron, fibre, and protein. Try to serve your pap as a side dish to the main meal, and not as the main meal itself.