The importance of Fibre and how to get your children to eat more Fruit and Vegetables

We are really excited to have Victoria from The Root Cause drop in as our guest this month and share some of her tips and tricks to help children eat a more balanced diet.

Why is fibre important? Fibre has many healthy benefits one of which keeps you fuller for longer! Who doesn’t want that? Put an end to the ‘Mum I’m hungry’ line from the kids!

Fibre can be split into two categories. Insoluble (found in wholegrains and vegetables) and Soluble (Found in oats, nuts and beans). Meaning soluble can be dissolved in water and Insoluble can’t. Both types are just as important for your health.

Insoluble helps speed up your digestion and keep you regular and Soluble slows down digestion in the stomach leaving you feel fuller for longer, which in turn helps keep your blood sugar levels stable. Fibre passes through our digestive system unabsorbed, meaning it can take with it toxins, waste, fat and cholesterol particles out of the gut.

Overall Fibre is great for heart health, digestion, detoxification and to keep blood sugar stable.

On that note here are my top 5 tips to get Kids to eat more Fruit and Veg

1-      Healthy Conversations:

Children need to understand why eating a rainbow of fruit and vegetables everyday is important. As apart of our Children’s Health Program we empower kids to eat a rainbow of fruit and vegetables by showing them that different colours help different parts of our body.

Eg. Red Fruits and Vegetables help our Heart.

2-      Children can’t eat what they can’t see:

Displaying fruits and vegetables is a great way for a child to eat more fruits and vegetables. This is a great way to avoid packet snacks at holiday time and to avoid children saying “I’m hungry, what can I eat?” Another great way to display fruit and vegetables is to offer pick plates at meal times. These can include a whole heap of cut up vegetables, let your children choose their own. You might be surprised by what they choose. Set this up as a consistent practice. Leftovers can be used for school lunchboxes, serve with dip and crackers or add into smoothies.

3-      Keep trying new foods:

In our Children’s Health Program we remind children to taste with their tongue (tastebuds) and not their eyes, as we often look at food and make up our mind whether we like it or not without even tasting it. It takes our tastebuds over 7 times to work out if it likes the taste of certain foods. Just because we don’t like the taste today, doesn’t mean we won’t like it next week. Encourage children to keep trying new foods.

4-      Be a role model:

If children witness you eating real foods consistently they will be more likely to try these foods. This could be something simple like carrot sticks with dip, a salad for lunch or a veggie packed quiche.

5-      The hidden gems:

Although I recommend all of the above tips first. I understand getting a child to eat 5 serves of vegetables in a day can be a challenge. I am often hiding vegetables in food. When I make a recipe I always think ‘how can I make this healthier’

Breakfast: Smoothies are a great option for fruit and vegetables. We use things like

Banana and Cooked Cauliflower, Mango and Carrot, Berries and Baby Spinach

Lunch: Meat Patties, Making your own meat patties loaded with vegetables and plenty of fibre this is a great way to make a healthy meal. Often we can add a fresh salad to a bread roll, or a wrap. We can add a meat patty to a pizza base or to a spaghetti mix. These are quick and easy to make and can be cooked in bulk and frozen for convenience.

Dinner: Veggie Sauce. I boil a whole heap of vegetables like zucchini, onion, carrot, spinach, capsicum, mushrooms, and pumpkin. I blend them into a puree and add tomato paste and herbs. This can be used as a pizza sauce, a base for spaghetti, in a toastie with cheese, lasagne filling and savoury mince. 

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