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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:

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!

Standard Insight T&Cs Apply

ItsHardToExplain Wed 03-Apr-19 21:53:10

Great ideas on this thread. I have picked up some tips for my family. I think the only one I could add is that we try to reduce sugar by not allowing fizzy drinks at all and only having sugary treats at Easter and birthdays etc. A healthy yogurt or fruit is a better ‘treat’ for everyday.

cannotmakemymindup Wed 03-Apr-19 22:39:43

My Dd does love fruit and vegetables but also chocolate so although probably easier than some to eat healthy we still have to make sure it is balanced.
I have tried to not concentrate on unhealthy/healthy food labels so much as this is the food we eat. Some is a treat we just have occasionally and the rest we can eat all the time, freely. She is aware due to nursery about unhealthy foods but I never want to set foods as bad. Follow the old mantra of everything in moderation.

Snacks tend to be dried fruit and nuts, sometimes a little chocolate with the raisins to. Drinking water at the same time or very watered down fruit juice is encouraged. I just try to never have crisps as the go to option for her. She has her own snack box with things she knows she's allowed to have.

We enjoy having vegetables in meals that sometimes people forget or think it has to be meat free not just less. So most currys we eat will include some peppers, broccoli and cauliflower in addition to chicken.
I make sure we make stock from all the peelings, and bits that arnt 109% anymore, then use in gravies, sauces and curries in place of the water.
We bake foods that maybe could be fried like bacon, breaded chicken strips etc. Also easier to just set timer and leave whilst cooking instead of watching frying.

Mummymummums Wed 03-Apr-19 22:42:23

I don't find healthy snacks easy to find as I find the sugar content too high in most snack/cereal bars. We tend to go with fruit (I know there's natural sugars) and recently have found some oat biscuits which are lower sugar and the DC love them.
DS10 is a very difficult eater. I've tried many many meals that he should like but doesn't. Yesterday I bought diced chicken breast and whizzed up wholemeal bread, garlic and Parmesan and dipped the chicken in. Home made nuggets. It went down really well. I am ridiculously pleased.

Halmo Wed 03-Apr-19 22:51:29

I think it’s important to wean onto real food and get them to try a wide variety of flavours. For older ones we’ve found that getting them involved in cooking and baking has helped them learn about healthy eating and got them interested in trying new recipes.

Valkarie Wed 03-Apr-19 22:54:51

After great success with weaning, ds1 ate practically anything, ate very little sugar and loved green vegetables. Then within 2 months it all went wrong and he was down to eating only around 10 foods. I went with giving him things I knew he would eat, while offering and encouraging other things. He ate a lot of beans, cheese and fruit!

Took 3 years, but out the other side now and he eats a wide variety again. Of course left to his own devices he would eat nothing but sugar and processed meat!

PickledChicory Wed 03-Apr-19 23:08:13

Offer variety. Processed food and snacks are a treat but I dont make things off limits. Shop with your kids, cook/prepare food with your kids and eat with your kids. I always put out veg (cooked or raw) with food and my kids always try and have at least a few veg and are getting better at eating more and trying new veg.

kateandme Wed 03-Apr-19 23:10:35

let them share whatever you have in most cases.let them feel and grab for little bit of your veggies or bread or scrambled eggs.this way they start off having proper unfussy all varied food choices.
lots of veggies mixed in with mash,ice or pasta.

get them excited about struggled so we had the vegggis raindbow chart where they would see how many colours they could get onto their plates each day and ticked off the chart.she loved doing it.

get them helping at the supermarket.ask them to choose the green veg or between broccoli or cabbage tday.make them feel important in choices.

let them help cooking.even just stirring or counting out with them how many spoonfuls.
get them to taste the food protending you need their advice.
making their own pizzas is great fun.
coating fruit with yoghurt and freezing in large ice cubs trays.
making smoothie ice creams.
salmon with brown rice and mushrooms and spring onions in one pan is a lovely loved dish
roasted veggies.
potato veggie burgers.

don't give up trying.sometimes their mood decides what they will be willing to at a meal time they might refuse just because its tantrum time and they don't actually not like something.give it time then tyr that food again

treat foods are good up to a point but its not we don't allow or not its more they can have their favourite and sometimes cant.

be very aware of how you are behaving around food and weight etc.
help them learn about the goodness in food and how they make them strong and energised.but this includes fat and carbs too!
don't ever make them feel guilty over food.
keep weight stigma out of the house.

MarshaBradyo Thu 04-Apr-19 03:35:18

Wean on bitter taste, broccoli is good, tomatoes, fish and avoid (sweetened) yoghurt

15 months eats everything, single food no processed, water or milk and pretty much no sugar

Cheese is a good snack or grated carrot

The healthiest of the three dc, maybe because the others weaned on yoghurt

Calixtine Thu 04-Apr-19 07:25:05

I have three children and the eldest (3.5) is a very fussy eater.

My top tip for encouraging a fussy eater to eat: let them help cook/prepare the food with you. Make it a fun activity to do together, you’ll find they try (and like) things they would otherwise have rejected without tasting. Even better, try growing a few simple things (radishes, carrots, tomatoes in a growbag with your child, they love it!

Also, I found weaning so much calmer and easier second time round, when we skipped the purées and went straight to giving DS little bits of whatever we were having. It got him used to all different flavours from the start, it was no extra effort or expense to prepare, and therefore I was less upset when most of it ended up on his face/the floor.

shaddai88 Thu 04-Apr-19 09:52:47

I buy a variety of vegetable and fruits and cook different colourful meals. I do use a steamer a lot. I would mashed sweet potatoes, carrots and parsnip together and add sesame seeds and cut up chives (cooked at the bottom of the steamer) with it with a serving of either a fish/chicken steamed with goji berries,pepper and finely chopped ginger ( cook on the steamer).I offer the water from the cooked vegetable in small cups as a drink after he meal. Hence the whole meal is cooked in the steamer which makes life very easy. I add a bit of sesame oil on the meat just before I serve it.

I cooked chopped up beetroot in small chunks, carrots in a different shape, celery in half inch and cook it in a steamer. I add sweet corn or runner beans so there a variety of colours.All the water from cooking the vegetables are offered a drink in fun size cups.

Another day, I would cook rice, pasta and fried noodles.

For fried noodles and often with pasta if you are using dried noodles or past need to cook them first before frying the sliced seasoned meat.. I shallow fry the fried onions of garlic with the seasons sliced lean pork, chicken breast and chicken liver with kale, finely cut carrots, spring cabbage or white cabbage or Chinese cabbage and bean sprouts. For the dried noodles and pasta you need to cook the it first if they are the dried ones, Serve it with a chopped up spring onions.

With pasta I often make lasagna, or spaghetti bolognise. Another easy meal I like is shepherds pie using lean meat with lots of finely chopped carrots, onions, parsnip, celery, spinach and tomatoes.

If I am cooking rice or couscous, I either steam or stir fry the vegetables, carrots, broccoli, celery, kale, colourful peppers, beans or any vegetables that is in season.

With meat I either grill, shallow pan fry, steam or roast the meat and use very low heat so the meat is very tender. Occasionally during holidays I would cook chips and fish.

When I am shopping and the children I get them to pick their favourite vegetables and we try new ones like celeriac which I use a lot for casserole and for steaming. I introduce new vegetable to them like aubegines which I often add to the shepherds pie or stir fry vegetables or steam it whole and serve it with some sesame oil.

Offering the children raspberry, blue berries bananas, apple, clementines or yogurt or cut up finger size celeray as snacks and deserts.

JC4PMPLZ Thu 04-Apr-19 10:12:24

Just have lots of attractively cut carrots, radishes, tomato and so on available - nice homemade dips too. Eat them as well. Stupid to present things as separate adult and child food. Get them involved in cooking as soon as you can.

Sugarhouse Thu 04-Apr-19 10:45:24

I think starting off on healthy and homemade where possible is a good start. Eventually the odd treat doesn’t hurt though everything in moderation. Completely banning unhealthy stuff will make them want it more

starlight36 Thu 04-Apr-19 12:08:42

Getting them to like the taste of healthier food is a big win. Another big help is if you / they have friends who also serve up healthy snacks and food. It helps to normalise eating healthy fresh food.

scarfattack Thu 04-Apr-19 12:55:51

Firstly I am not going on about food, talking about eating it or not eating or being good or treats etc. Kids don't have free access to junk but they are allowed it without a, 'oooh, you can have a treat' approach. If it's being offered somewhere then whatever or at home if we have it but I don't buy it regularly. At dinner times over the years I've just made the food without overly catering to specific likes and dislikes. Almost every meal there's salad of some form and the 6 and 4 year old just eat it now. The little one still flings it about but hopefully will just start eating it too because we all do. There's no wheedling to them to eat their greens or eat healthy food. There is reminders to concentrate and get on with eating though!
I'm sure I'm not doing it perfectly but I am encouraged by my 6 year old and that she was a very picky eater as a toddler and now eats most of what's given to her. I just tried to create no drama at meal times and for her I think is worked.

sharond101 Thu 04-Apr-19 13:09:14

We don't differentiate with healthy or unhealthy and offer a selection of fruit and vegetables for snacks and with all meals.

queenoftheschoolrun Thu 04-Apr-19 14:16:54

We don't buy sweets or biscuits and we only occasionally eat dessert. DD didn't even like sweets until she went to school and the teachers started dishing them out as rewards!
Lots of fresh fruit available as snacks or after meal times.

SillyMoomin Thu 04-Apr-19 14:49:11

Well it's quite simple really - don't buy junk food! Kids don't miss what they haven't had!

Same as I don't keep chocolate in the house as I can't trust my willpower!

GooodMythicalMorning Thu 04-Apr-19 16:59:15

Kids tend to copy so healthy eating yourself helps but it doesnt work with all kids, my ds who has aspergers will not eat healthily so I have to limit his junk food intake otherwise he'd eat it all day. I encourage him but not force him as there isnt much point as I know he will try it when he is ready and would just upset everyone to constantly battle about it.

whatthefoxsaid Thu 04-Apr-19 18:01:40

My DD is only young (18m) so I'm fairly new to this but I think my best advice is not to get too hung up on it at this age.
For weaning, keep trying new things but at the side of something you're confident they like.
We don't really do snacks as a rule but I try to offer vegetables or a banana. Rice cakes or a homemade oaty bar in a pinch.
I think it's important to lead by example and always try to eat with her and we share lunch more often than not. When she sees me eating something, she's more likely to try it.
At mealtimes, I offer a balance of carbs/protein and veg or fruit.
We don't really have puddings and at the moment she doesn't have a sweet tooth for biscuits etc. Allergic to dairy so no battles with chocolate!

Fleabagging Thu 04-Apr-19 18:39:17

Proper home cooked food with processed food at a minimum where possible and involve children in cooking. My kids are older now and did go through fussy/unhealthy phases but now love experimenting with cooking from scratch themselves.

Cotswoldmama Thu 04-Apr-19 18:51:09

My sons are awful sometimes they’ll eat something and live it and I’ll think yes at last. Then a week later they’ll hate it! I find cottage pie is a good thing to sneak veg into. I get canned carrots which are so soft you can just mash them with a fork and mix them with the mince and very finely chopped mushrooms can also be added as well as tomato purée ( one table spoon counts as one of your 5 a day) I also add mashed parsnips to the mash!

Tuesday2ndApril Thu 04-Apr-19 19:06:35

Yoghurt is a good example of junk food marketed to parents/kids as healthy, when it plainly isn't.

gemmie797 Thu 04-Apr-19 19:07:50

I only offer sweet treats if my boys finish their meals. They love rice based foods, including pudding rices, which I don't add sugar too, just berries

CallmeBadJanet Thu 04-Apr-19 19:12:30

Keep offering a variety of fruit and veg and encourage and praise them for trying it, even if they dont eat it all. Eventually after many tries new foods become normal for them.

CMOTDibbler Thu 04-Apr-19 19:49:53

Honestly, we just shared our food with ds from day1 - he sat on our laps and ate bits off our plates some of the time, and in a high chair at the table being given bits the rest. No routine puddings (we don't have them). Snacks were (and still are) fruit or veg.

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