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Getting kids to eat healthy: Make food fun

JAIME PHILIPS
Last updated 15:00 08/02/2013
Bento boxes for kids
Bento boxes are a great way to make food fun.

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For me, getting our son to eat healthy wasn't just about him, it was about the whole family.

If my husband and I set good examples about our eating habits, it would show him that it's great to eat healthy food. Since he was born, we set about changing our diets, how we eat and how we look at food.

For us, it's about making things fun for him. We looked at bento boxes for kids. They're pretty easy to find, a simple google search about kids' bento boxes and you'll find lots of ideas. 

We started out with a single lunch box and have built up a small collection from there. What kid wouldn't love a tomato balloon or a hard boiled egg shaped like a star/car/heart to eat for morning tea?

The best thing is it only takes about four minutes longer than if I was to make a normal sandwich. It isn't hard to roll a cream cheese and lettuce sandwich up and stick a toothpick in it, put your grapes in to a little container or cut up some watermelon and add a tiny fork. It looks fun and it isn't the same as everyone else.

It's also easy to get hidden veges into kids. Make mini muffins with grated up courgette and carrot. Add a little bit of cheese. Kids love them!

Home-baking also gives us the ability to control how much sugar our child eats. We bake banana bread, scones, biscuits, muffins and bread. I make my hummus out of a tin of chickpeas - no chemicals added. Our kindy also has a healthy eating policy which helps, but we do send our son with a cookie on Friday as a treat.

We also believe that it's important for children to know where their food comes from. We have gardens with peas, lettuce, tomatoes, corn, sunflowers, all our brassicas, radishes, beetroot, carrots etc. We have also taken him fruit picking and to farmers' markets. This shows him that food doesn't have to come from just a supermarket.

We still have our treat night once a week, but we opt for healthier options over the fast food giants. My son also gets kids' meals from the usual fast food giants occasionally but more often than not he is digging in the fruit/vege drawer of our fridge within 30 minutes because it hasn't filled him up and he is hungry again.

This might seem overwhelming but this hasn't been done over a short period.

We started bento boxes when he was about 18 months old. He now attends kindy and takes his morning tea ready to go.

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It's a commitment to him, to teach him good habits and in turn I am a healthier person for it too. That just rocks. 


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