We all want to do the very best we can for our children. By investing a little time, effort and patience we can create healthy eating habits that last a lifetime. Establishing good eating habits within a young family can be as simple as taking a few easy steps such as sitting down to eat with your children whenever possible and making food interesting or fun, children who are given the opportunity to help in the kitchen tend to be less fussy in their eating habits.
Eat meals without the distraction of the television and try not to give the impression that desert is the best part of the meal. When candy and sweets become the norm in a child’s diet, they are no longer a treat. In today’s snack and convenience culture, it’s very difficult to avoid the constant temptation with clever & appealing ads and packaging everywhere we look, but with a little determination, you can help your child develop good eating habits and knowledge for life – and that’s worth it! The difference between a child who is simply fed daily and one who is well nourished is immense. Mental alertness, sound sleep, energy without hyperactivity and a virtual absence of illness are the norm in children who are receiving the nutrition they need to blossom and flourish. For school aged children, foods to feed the brain are essential as are those that help to boost the immune system.
The ACE Vitamins Vitamins A, C and E are required on a daily basis as they are vital to the immune system. They work together in protecting the body from bacterial infections and viruses. As we can not store vitamin C, we must consume it every day. Good plant based sources of Vitamin A –, leafy green vegetables, carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, orange peppers, tomatoes, peaches, mangoes and papaya Vitamin C – Citrus and kiwi fruits, red berries, green leafy vegetables, peppers, potatoes, sweet potatoes, broccoli and cabbage. Vitamin E – Nuts & Nuts spreads, seeds and avocados.
Zinc This mineral is required for the development of the immune system. Children who suffer from regular coughs and other infections or who do not heal quickly from cuts and bruises may require more zinc in their diet. Good Sources Zinc – Oats, rye, buckwheat, brown rice, walnuts, almonds and sunflower seeds.
Iron is also vital for the immune system. It is best absorbed in the presence of folic acid and vitamin B12 and also vitamin C. Drinking caffeine based drinks such as tea, coffee or cola can hinder the absorption of iron by up to 60% if consumed within an hour before or after a meal. Good Sources include peaches, figs, apricots, cherries, bananas, avocados, spinach, lentils, whole-wheat and rye grains.
FOOD FOR THE BRAIN There is no question that optimum nutrition improves your child’s ability to learn and perform both physically and mentally at school. Studies show that academic performance and concentration are better when children have an optimum intake of nutrients. Vital for intellectual development are essential fatty acids. Research shows that essential fatty acid levels in infants correlates with their intellectual performance as children. A diet high in essential fatty acids improves attention and reduces anxiety and aggression. Many studies in recent years have shown that children who receive extra essential fatty acids both behave and learn better.
Good Sources. Flaxseed oil, pine nuts, pistachio nuts, olives, olive oil and evening primrose oil, nuts and seeds such as sesame, sunflower, pumpkin and flax seeds, walnuts, pecans, brazil nuts and also avocados.
TOP TIPS TO EAT WELL -
Provide healthy school snacks for children (ideas below)
Avoid foods and drinks containing sugar, look out for ingredients such as sucrose, glucose, high fructose corn syrup.
Avoid refined foods such as white bread, biscuits, cakes and processed sugary breakfast cereals.
Avoid foods high in saturated and hydrogenated fats.
Avoid artificial additives and preservatives and artificial & natural flavours (commonly used in sweets, crisps, biscuits, ready meals and soft drinks).
Energy drinks are absolutely not suitable for children.
Cut down on salt – often ‘hidden’ on processed foods.
Increase fresh fruit and vegetables. EAT A RAINBOW Ensure a wide and colourful selection everyday to provide a wide variety of nutrients
Choose wholegrain or spelt versions of bread, pasta, rice and cereals
Choose protein such as Legumes, beans and pulses.
Eat Natural food - organic when possible – look for foods with little added or take away.
HEALTHY BREAKFAST IDEAS -
The beany burrito from the now with wholegrain rice, roasted veggies and avocado.
The now’s breakfast bowl to sit in or to go.
Oat porridge – add a spoonful of ground seeds such as flax, linseeds or sunflower with some fresh fruit
Whole Grain toast with a nut spread such as peanut or almond and banana
Sugar free bran flakes, all bran or other
Whole Grain cereal with oat / almond milk or soy yogurt
Selection of fresh chopped fruit or frozen berries with plant based yoghurt
Fresh fruit smoothie – made with fruit such as berries, plums, apricots, apples, bananas, strawberries, the possibilities are endless, add ground seeds to increase beneficial fats and proteins. Dilute to taste with yoghurt or water
We have several smoothies on sale every day in the now which are made from only real, pure plant based ingredients. Thanks to www.thefitnutprogram.com for our smoothie recipes.
HEALTHY SNACK IDEAS -
A healthy snack can provide your child with the energy they need just when they need it. Unhealthy snacking can back your child up with highly processed chemicals which are loaded with salt, sugar and fat to make them very tasty
If your kids have a busy social life with lots of after school clubs and activities, after school snacking has to happen, they have run their batteries down and need a quick re-fuel which often happens on the go, in the car. While this can be the most common time for unhealthy snacking to happen, it is the ideal opportunity when kids are literally desperate to consume anything to offer a rainbow of healthy choices such as:
A tasty very berry bowl (as served in the now) perfect to refuel.
A wholemeal sandwich, wrap or quesadilla with peanut or almond butter and banana, adding cinnamon to this is also tasty and cinnamon helps balance blood sugar levels.
Apples with peanut or almond butter dip (you may need to mix yoghurt into the dip to make it more dip-able)
Coco Energy Balls - recipe is below, you can make these no bake snacks at home with your child and have them roll them into shape. Super quick and super easy.
Mixed seeds or nuts with Fresh fruit or wholemeal crackers, grapes and olives
Raw Vegetable sticks (peppers, cucumbers, baby corn, celery, cherry tomatoes, carrots, sugar snap peas, broccoli, celery, whatever your child likes! Add some hummus dip to add protein for good brain power. A rainbow of colours is very appealing
A smoothie that tastes like ice-cream (but is full of body boosting berries, bananas, chia seeds and oat milk like the ‘pinky perfect’ in the now)
Plant based Yoghurt drink
Oat or rice cakes with a natural nut spread (there are lots of these available now in most supermarkets)
HEALTHY LUNCH IDEAS -
Wholemeal wrap or pitta pocket with falafels, hummus, avocado and lettuce/tomato/cucumber - so many colourful options.
Wholemeal sandwich or bagel with vegan cream cheese, hummus or smashed avocado and topped with rainbow veggies
Wholegrain rice and mixed bean salad, add in some mixed seeds eg. sunflower, sesame or pumpkin
Wholegrain cold pasta salad – include all kinds of vegetables such as cherry tomatoes, sweet corn, pickled onions, broccoli, spring onion, cucumber, peppers, lettuce, sugar snap peas, mix with a good plant based pesto
If providing a desert, try making the no bake energy balls or a simple piece of fruit or make some food art together eg. fruit kebabs or fruity faces on homemade pancakes.
Water, water, water!!! Your child requires about 8 glasses a day! – and NOT all at once!!!! Water or smoothies are far superior to any fizzy sodas or energy drinks (which are totally unsuitable for young children). If your kids have already developed a taste for fizzy pop, try introducing sparkling water with sliced fruit or mixed with fresh orange juice to make a ‘healthy fanta’
ARTIFICIAL ADDITIVES & BEHAVIOUR
Regular snacking on refined carbohydrates, sweets, chocolate, fizzy soft drinks and juices cause children’s blood sugar levels to see saw continually and trigger wild fluctuations in their mood and levels of activity, concentration, focus and behavior. Processed foods and foods with low nutritional value tend to have many artificial ingredients. These foods are body breakers instead please GET REAL - build stronger, healthier & happier bodies by providing real, natural food.
How can we help In The Now
Eating out doesn't have to involve unhealthy food and should not mean you as a parent have to compromise. At the now we take children’s health very seriously. We offer a mini version of our lentil based cottage pies, homemade soups, roast veg or salad and hummus sandwiches and delicious, nutritious real fruit and veg smoothies, plant based milks and 100% fruit juices as well as water to all of our guests.
We also have ‘cluck-less’ chicken nuggets (made from wheat and potato protein), veggie sticks and of course our delicious berry bowl with oats, yoghurt, fruits and seeds.
We are proud to bring the FitNut ethos into our menu and to strive to make food that encourages positive reactions within our body. The FitNut goal is to inspire a whole generation to understand that they can live better in tune with their bodies.
The fitnut superstars are on a fitness and nutrition mission and want to share the healthy message with young people everywhere. We are delighted to serve Fitnut inspired smoothies in the now and to use the recipes from the fitnut program to create healthy soups and snacks for all of our guests. There are several FitNut books available for our little ones to read while they power up with the best ingredients.
And, there's plenty of space for prams and lots of high chairs, so the now is definitely the place to put a smile on everyone's face.
If you don’t have time to stop and haven’t managed to prepare a snack, pop into the now and grab a healthy snack to go, call us in advance if you are in a rush. We have free parking on site. Healthy fast food.
Energy Balls Ingredients:
1 cup (80 grams) of oats
1/3 cup (115 grams) of maple syrup
1/2 cup (125 grams) of almond butter
1/2 cup of ground flax seeds (55 grams) or whole chia seeds (110 grams)
1 teaspoon (5 ml) of vanilla
1/2 cup (80 grams) of desiccated coconut - you can also use dried fruit instead
Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl. Roll the mixture into small balls and refrigerate.