Sports scientist and dietician Adrian Penzhorn answers some questions about this diet:
What are common mistakes parents make with their kids’ eating habits?
The are two extremes: Either being overly strict with a child’s intake or giving in completely to their every wish. Both can result in a poor relationship with food and unhealthy eating habits. Offer healthy food repeatedly – eventually your child will eat it.
How can parents set an example for their children?
Be present and active in preparing meals and eat well with and in front of your children. Don’t set a rule for your children that you don’t follow. Try not to talk about any weight issues you may have. Instead focus on topics about being healthy, active and making good choices.
What healthy snack ideas do you have for children?
Choose one or two items from the protein and fibre food groups below and combine them for healthy snacks or meals. The same can apply to adults, simply increase the portion size. Protein Meat, chicken, fish, milk, yoghurt, cheese, eggs, beans Fibre Fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, wholewheat bread or crackers For lunchboxes Try yoghurt, tuna sachets, boiled eggs, small blocks of cheese, crackers, dried fruit, nuts and seed bars – these are easy to pack and will stay fresh in a lunchbox. You can freeze a small bottle of water to add to the lunchbox to keep the snacks cool. In terms of snacks such as chips and
chocolate, a good rule is the less the better. They can have these once or twice a week. Instead they can have yoghurt and fruit, an oat biscuit or a milkshake. Opt for water instead of juice.
What are the best foods to help with concentration and to keep energy levels up?
Staying hydrated and balancing your blood-sugar levels is best for both concentration and energy. Judge your level of hydration by the colour of your urine – too dark means you’re drinking too little water and completely transparent urine is a sign of too much water. Aim for a light straw colour. Combine high-fibre food such as fruit and vegetables, nuts and seeds, as well as beans or wholegrains with protein from meat, chicken, dairy, eggs or fish to better balance your blood-glucose levels and avoid energy slumps. Try to eat smaller portions of starch and sugar, which can drain your energy.
How can the family be kept motivated?
Make the preparation and cooking of food exciting. You can invent a game to decide what to make for dinner. Or have a themed dinner with healthy ingredients, colours and shapes or have a party where everyone makes their own sandwich filling or pizza topping from a variety of colourful, healthy ingredients. Don’t use sweet treats as a reward. Make treats healthy: Make milkshakes with milk, yoghurt, ice and a fruit or peanut butter. Use a wrap as a pizza base, swop chips for popcorn and replace sugary cereals with oats and fruit.