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Share your tips for getting your children eating healthily with Little Yeos - £300 voucher to be won

(349 Posts)
EllieMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 01-Apr-19 10:32:19

Trying to get your children to eat healthily is a battle that many parents will inevitably face; from weaning onto solid foods, to dinner times through to pack lunches and beyond. There is a lot of information and recipes out there on what the best methods/techniques are to get your child to start eating healthily and how to incorporate nutritious food into their meals. With that being said Little Yeos would love to know any recommendations, recipes, techniques or experiences of getting your child to eat healthily.

Here’s what Little Yeos have to say: We’d love to hear your top tips for children’s healthy eating. Here are some examples to get you started:

Weaning:
What are your tips for weaning your child onto healthy food?
Do you find that your child prefers sweeter foods or more varied flavours?

Doing the weekly food shop:
Do you find it easy to find healthy snacks for your child?
Do you find nutrients labels on foods in supermarkets are clear?

Meal times:
Do you have any favourite healthy tips or recipes that work for your family?
What are your favourite healthy swaps?

Whatever your recommendations, thoughts or experiences when it comes to getting your child to eat healthily, share them on the thread below and you’ll be entered into a prize draw where one MNer will win a £300 voucher of their choice (from a list).

Thanks and good luck with the prize draw!
MNHQ

Standard Insight T&Cs Apply

lolly2010 Wed 24-Apr-19 14:24:02

Weaning:
What are your tips for weaning your child onto healthy food?
Encourage them try as many fruits and veg and meals as possible, cooking from scratch and batch cooking helps to ensure you know what is going in to the meals.

Do you find that your child prefers sweeter foods or more varied flavours? One of my children loved everything where as the other would only eat fruit

Doing the weekly food shop:
Do you find it easy to find healthy snacks for your child?
I find there are quite a few options for healthy snacks.
Do you find nutrients labels on foods in supermarkets are clear?
Not always

Meal times:
Do you have any favourite healthy tips or recipes that work for your family?
I encourage my children to help prepare the meals with me, try to pack as many vegetables as you can in.
What are your favourite healthy swaps?
Veg sticks, strawberries and soft fruit

Sierra259 Wed 24-Apr-19 18:16:27

Make unhealthy food the exception and a "special treat". Puddings here are usually fruit or plain yoghurt, with cake/ice cream etc only occasionally. We have an "eat whatever you want from the fruit bowl" if snacks requested, or things like oat cakes with peanut butter/cheese & tomato. We also only have squash with Sunday dinner or special occasions like eating out, as I've seen how easily it just becomes demanded all the time. Cooking from scratch is the easiest way to make sure meals are healthy, though am struggling with this at present as both DC are going through a really fussy stage! Letting them choose the veg they want with meals has been really useful in getting at least some into them!

sarat1 Wed 24-Apr-19 18:26:41

Always try some yourself and show enjoyment before offering to child as it will help build trust and make them want to at least try out grown up foods

alem17 Wed 24-Apr-19 21:28:31

No unhealthy treats in the house

alem17 Wed 24-Apr-19 21:29:23

No unhealthy treats in the house

bibolda Thu 25-Apr-19 08:12:17

My daughter loves your yogurts and I gave her a lot, because it is not as sweet. But kids get bored from tastes, so the eat it for a while and than refuse to eat the same. Need more flavors..

meow1989 Thu 25-Apr-19 08:40:35

My little boy is 10 months and we've always given textured food with added veg or fruit (chopped berries in porridge, handful of frozen peas in dinner etc). He loves his fruit and vegetables and getting messy with food!

I do think that if you ban all sugar foods they become more interesting so he will have some custard (admittedly low sugar) with fruit for pudding sometimes and I've let him have some of my icecream or chocolate for a taste.

I've never offered juice either and he loves his water- he doesn't know theres anything other than that or milkm

umar12 Thu 25-Apr-19 09:16:05

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Starlight2004 Thu 25-Apr-19 16:24:26

Simple things like eating evening meals together at the table were important when our kids were growing up. And trying to keeping snacks to fruit and none processed things. Keeping food colourful and fresh smile

SoftBlocks Thu 25-Apr-19 18:36:57

Avoid fizzy drinks and squashes. Make sure they are hungry before meals and offer carrot or cucumber sticks if the are hungry between meals. Don’t hand out biscuits at school pick up, or let them have sweet foods on an empty stomach - only let them eat sweets or ice cream after ‘real’ food.

Lindy2 Thu 25-Apr-19 22:47:06

Aiming to keep a balanced diet works for us. Nothing is banned but sweet and fatty foods must be balanced out with fruit and vegetables.

Gazelda Fri 26-Apr-19 09:19:58

Encourage children to help cook the dinner. Find creative and imaginative (and quick) recipes that are balanced, colourful and interesting.

mummychezza Fri 26-Apr-19 09:51:02

I got my little ones growing our own fruit and veg from babys letting them pick,wash and try them all.also get them to help make their food making faces or pictures on our plates with a good variety of fresh food.they do have little yeo yoghurts as a snack but nothing beats homegrown fresh fruit and veg.

burwellmum Fri 26-Apr-19 10:02:23

It's about balance and diversity. Generally I gave what we had with no added salt/gravy liquidised.

Hopezibah Fri 26-Apr-19 11:33:09

anything that makes food fun - anything they can spread, dip, wrap or roll themselves, anything that can be made to look like a face or a shape or whatever that captures their imaginations!

Anything that gets them involved in understanding where food comes from - pick your own, grow your own veg etc, and 'helping' to cook however young they are.

all these things have helped in the past with fussy eating.

Mammatino Fri 26-Apr-19 13:16:26

I have a meal planner I fill in which helps me stick to a shopping list and also healthy snacks are factored into it. This takes away the whole eating rubbish because we can't make up our minds. I also have a relaxed attitude to sweets and treats and don't use them as a reward. My five year old has free access to sweets and crisps as well as fruits and yoghurt so makes his own choice. He chooses well most of the time and it's no big deal if he fancies a bag of crisps and a few sweets now and again.

Reubenandsophiasmum Fri 26-Apr-19 14:46:12

I try and buy a good selection of healthy organic foods and lead by example. I’m not perfect by any means but if my children see me making good choices then it helps them make good choices. My daughter is 8 months so we’re introducing solids we all make an effort to give praise and positive sounds even when it’s a food someone in the house may not like - we’re hardly going to encourage her by saying yuk !!

Jellybeansincognito Fri 26-Apr-19 16:55:30

Don’t ‘ban’ anything. I don’t ban anything and allow everything in moderation, nothing is healthy if eaten excessively.

I tend to make a lot of pasta because it’s easy to chop and cook veg with passata and blend for a sauce.

Homemade soups with cheese toast dippers are good too, it feels naughty when it isn’t at all.

I found my children started to eat more when I changed the presentation of the food, shaped plates and cutters for sandwiches and salad items makes the world of difference.

BraayTigger Fri 26-Apr-19 22:43:34

Smoothies...help ensure my kids get their 5-10/day

Cuzcospoison Sat 27-Apr-19 20:43:31

Always have fruit & veg snacks available and don't make eating healthily too much of a 'thing'.

I explain to my kids that it's important to nourish your body & my 4 year old knows what foods have protein, carbs, fats and vitamins and what those things help his body to do. He often tells me he can feel his muscles growing/his latest scab healing while he's eating his chicken...

MummyofTw0 Sat 27-Apr-19 23:14:09

We grate vegetables such as carrots and courguettes into meals like spag bols and casseroles or pasta sauces

Hidden veg goes down a treat

TellMeItsNotTrue Sat 27-Apr-19 23:45:11

Lead by example, no good moaning that your DC won't eat any veg etc when the parents don't

Everything in moderation, there is no bad food as long as the balance is right, stops them going mad when they encounter a plate of biscuits or something at a party

ItsHardToExplain Sun 28-Apr-19 18:22:21

I try to put various vegetables on their plates and hope they eat them! If we have a dessert it also includes fruit - like strawberries with a small spoon of ice cream.

MattFreisWeatherReport Mon 29-Apr-19 01:03:16

One of mine is on the autistic spectrum and has distinct likes and dislikes when it comes to food texture. He's particularly funny about the healthier carbs, like pasta and rice, whereas he'd happily eat bread and pizza type things all day if I'd let him. He's also picky with cooked vegetables but likes crunchier salads and fruit. Weirdly, he's happy with lasagne so now I turn all sorts of things into different types of lasagne, which is a good way of getting veg into him as well as a great way to use up leftovers. We have spring veg lasagne and mediterranean veg lasagne and chicken lasagne and leftover beef stew lasagne... I could go on and on. I only really learned to cook properly after I had kids. I used to be a real foodie and follow recipes slavishly, but now I can really cook like a mum!

Sb74 Mon 29-Apr-19 20:43:44

My children both say broccoli is their favourite food. They are 10 and 12.

The most important tip I can give is to all eat together at the same time and to give the children the same meals as you. So many people give their children meals at different times to them and “kiddy food”.

We have always given our children the same healthy meals we have and eat together. Ever since they were toddlers. By watching their parents eat the same food encourages the children to also eat it. They love salmon, salad all kinds of normal healthy food. I never use salt when cooking either, probably because the children have always eaten the same meals.

We have had comments when eating meals out that it’s nice to see children eating normal food.

We don’t give them disnosaur shaped chicken etc, they have normal chicken. Might sound boring but they eat all their veg and don’t think anything of it.

Very proud!!

Gatoadigrado Mon 29-Apr-19 22:18:48

Involve children in preparing meals from a young age. Not just making cakes or cookies as an ‘activity’ but doing all the day to day things... chopping veg, stirring soup for ordinary meals. Involve them in the whole process- preparation, eating and clearing away

Gatoadigrado Mon 29-Apr-19 22:19:00

Involve children in preparing meals from a young age. Not just making cakes or cookies as an ‘activity’ but doing all the day to day things... chopping veg, stirring soup for ordinary meals. Involve them in the whole process- preparation, eating and clearing away

nerysw Tue 30-Apr-19 16:15:43

Agree with everyone saying involve them in cooking and meal preparations at an early age. They can have lots of fun planning and making a picnic when they're really young and by making sure they understand how to make simple staples you're setting them to survive on their own later on in life.

Somersetlady Tue 30-Apr-19 19:05:14

Don’t have junk in the house and none of us can eat it! Parties and Grandparents are the exception.
Sweet foot comes in the form of fresh fruit and natural yogurt. If my boys are offered junk they don’t eat very much of it don’t even manage a whole ice cream - not sure why but I’m happy with it!

Mozarmstrong Tue 30-Apr-19 21:22:22

Fresh is best! I try always and it works. If we do get caught out we know it's not going to harm the children but I maybe pretend it's more fresh than not!!

Bumblebeans Tue 30-Apr-19 22:10:10

We did baby led weaning and right from the start we gave DD our meals. She's never had anything that we wouldn't eat, just healthy well balanced meals. Shes a great eater. She doesn't have pudding after every meal. Often will have a price of fruit after dinner. Has a couple of crackers / oatcakes for supper if she wants before bed. Sweet stuff is a very occasional treat.

expectingnumber3 Wed 01-May-19 13:30:36

We started weaning with veg, and only ever offer water to drink. Even now they prefer water or milk. All of them seem to prefer savoury flavours now, but is that luck or judgement?
I agree with getting them as involved with cooking as possible as they always seem to eat what they make. We are also lucky enough to have an allotment and access to my parents orchard. The children love growing, harvesting and cooking their own fruit and vegetables, it has made them much more willing to try new things.
Also agree with no junk in the house! Two of my children have allergies too which means lots of stuff is off limits so they can't have it anyway!
Love the veggie stick started idea! Stealing that!

Chocolate50 Fri 03-May-19 21:49:52

A good variety of veg, fruit as snacks as well as for main meals - don't be afraid of experimenting with different foids & EAT HEALTHILY & WELL YOURSELF!

goldenretriever1978 Sat 04-May-19 11:11:59

I think try and have balance. I do try and disguise vegetables in sauces, soups etc. but I think that sugary treats are just that, a treat and not to be expected as standard.

NerrSnerr Wed 08-May-19 13:22:50

I leave out a bowl of vegetables and fruit for the children to snack on. My children also need to eat enough vegetables with their meal before they have pudding.

UpOnDown Fri 10-May-19 19:00:08

I offer a range of healthy foods, and don't make yoghurt/fruit conditional on eating the rest first.

KittyKat88 Fri 10-May-19 23:32:14

With DD1 I think I was stricter about the amount of fruit and veg she ate, and she does eat a wide variety, whereas DD2 is very fussy and has limited likes for fruit and veg. I have always insisted that they both eat the veg on their plates whether they like it or not, to earn their pudding. Easy for DD1 to do, but even DD2 get's there eventually as she hates to miss her pudding!

DinosApple Sat 11-May-19 08:49:39

A wide variety to try, preferably loads of colours, and make it look interesting (a face or something fun).

I tell mine that I didn't like certain things as a child and I love them now, so they do grow out of likes and dislikes. My DC found it quite reassuring and it took the pressure off a bit.

Irene1631 Sat 11-May-19 19:48:14

Don't have rubbish in the house. It's good for you and the little ones. If you put rubbish in you get rubbish results. We have no biscuits, crisps, chocolate, cake etc in the house. If it's not there you can't eat it.

michmum Mon 13-May-19 23:12:21

Get the kids to plan a meal. Shop with them for the ingredients. Get them to look at the colours of veg and encourage them to touch and feel them. Then get cooking together. They'll be so proud of their meal, they'll forget they are eating healthily. Try a pizza to start with then a funny face salad.

Bemystarlord Tue 14-May-19 10:55:14

I try to include vegetables with all meals and offer a different variety and type. They are also given fruit as a snack or desert and limit sweet treats to weekends and special occasions. When we go shopping i let them chose a new vegetable or fruit to try and try to find ones weve not had before.

beethebee Fri 17-May-19 03:57:13

Just don't keep loads of junk food in the house. I'll pop to the shop on a Friday to get the DC a treat (and me wine) for the weekend, but that's about it.

ASREE Thu 23-May-19 16:08:00

Get the children involved in food prep! My two love helping cook dinner, chopping the veggies -and generally being a pain in the arse- More often than not, they eat more than they chop so raw veggies = win!

PorridgeAgainAbney Fri 24-May-19 20:30:06

We don’t label food as good or bad. If we want chips one night then we have them but that would probably be once a fortnight and would still include veg on the side. I can’t stand the attitude I hear at work all day: “ooh I shouldn’t really” or “does carrot cake count as 1 of your 5 a day?” and that kind of crap. I never once heard my mum say the word “diet” and I’m so grateful she passed on a healthy attitude to food.

Having said that I do need to I still into DS the importance of a healthy, nutrient rich diet as he has food allergies. It takes effort to make sure he’s not missing out on what he needs and one day that will be his responsibility. He is 6 now so he gets involved with baking, and we talk about what nutrients are in ingredients, and how they help different areas of his body.

For us, it’s about cramming nutrients in where we can: ground almonds and cashews in flapjacks and curries, multi seed bread, oats and nuts in muffins, ice cream made with bananas, dates and cocoa powder, sauces made with more than one veg instead of only tomato, etc.

CopperPan Sun 26-May-19 02:54:34

Have lots of variety when weaning, and don't add fruit to everything to make it sweeter. We didn't offer fruit for a few months, just vegetables, and our dcs don't have a very sweet tooth now. At home we have lots of pre-prepped fruit and veg available every day as snacks, and we've taught the dcs to make themselves simple healthy snacks like toast or oatcakes. We tend not to keep sweet treats in the house at all, except ahead of birthdays etc.

SandAndSeals Sun 26-May-19 14:59:14

We always eat vegetables with every meal and fruit as a snack.

joggingrunning Sun 26-May-19 15:48:24

Giving them some fruits and julienning some vegetables with a nice dip, instead of junk food as snacks helps. I give them their snacks in the afternoon when they can become hungry for something.

SylvanianFrenemies Sun 26-May-19 16:00:53

Not pressuring them to eat any particular food is important.

Also the tip about avoiding them getting a taste for crap, but I think I let that ship sail!

HannahLI Thu 06-Jun-19 14:43:16

Right from when they are weaning offer them healthy choices and lots of variety and change it up regularly. I tried not to give them anything unhealthy to start off with so that was introduced later. My kids love fruit and veg and I just always keep redirecting back to it, but they like very different things.

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