Tips to get kids to eat healthy: It's not difficult or expensive

Last updated 05:00 26/02/2013
HEALTHY LUNCHBOX: Ditch the fizzy drinks and chips for your children.

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Eating healthily is about taking responsibility for what you and your children eat. It's not difficult or expensive to eat seasonably or learn some new recipes.

My family (myself, husband, daughter three, and son 21 months) maintain a healthy diet by eating seasonally and having meals that are made from scratch most nights.

I don't spend a lot; $150 a week sees us all fed and watered.

We eat red meat twice a week, chicken and/or fish twice weekly, and vegetarian for the rest of the week. I make my own pasta sauces, soups, dressings, etc. Not much comes out of a packet here.

Meals are based around either pasta, rice or potato, along with vegetables and salads. Favourites are pasta bakes with vege-packed sauces, fish cakes, quick rice and vege dishes with homemade Asian-style sauces, oven baked fish, homemade pizzas and burgers.

I enjoy cooking and actively look for new and interesting recipes to cook. I cook one meal which we all eat at the table together. I even do double batches to freeze and save for those lazy Sunday evenings.

Lunches and snacks for my children are varied and well-balanced with sandwiches, fruit, raw vegetables, cheese, yoghurts, plain popcorn, boiled eggs, and home baking. Water is the drink of choice, I don't buy fruit juices or flavoured milk.

Eating out happens about once a month and my children enjoy McDonalds or chips and nuggets at a restaurant.

I believe it is the parents' responsibility to model healthy eating habits, and provide healthy choices. Make your child aware of the benefits of eating healthy foods, and the potential draw backs of eating cake and lollies.

My three-year-old knows that fruit, brown bread sammies and water make her tummy feel "happy"and gives her energy. where as lollies and cake can give her a "yucky" tummy and not much energy.

My top tips:

- plan your meals to include vegetables and salads.

- eat less red meat, more fish and vegetarian meals.

- buy a recipe book, cook from scratch and don't eat anything out of a packet.

- keep cakes, biscuits, chips, fizzy drinks, chocolate, etc, for special occasions only.

- model healthy eating and talk to your children about food.

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