Smart food swaps for kids

Friday, November 21, 2003
Childhood obesity is on the rise in Australia and establishing smart eating habits can make a lifetime of difference. In the October 2003 edition of Good Medicine dietitian Jill MacGregor looks at the habits you should instil, and smart alternatives for fatty foods.

"Most children don’t become nutritionally independent until the ages of 13 to 15," notes MacGregor.

"Until that time they'll usually follow your lead, allowing you to set a healthy example."

The report details the healthy habits you can establish, such as eating three evenly sized meals a day; drinking plain water when thirsty; enjoying takeaway just once a week; and, making mealtimes pleasurable.

There is also a list of 'kid friendly' food swaps, for the occasions when your child asks for foods you don't approve of.

Smart diet swaps for kids include:

  •   Iced water instead of fruit juice
  •   Ice-cream instead of lollies
  •   Custard instead of cake
  •   Cheese and fruit instead of biscuits
  •   Milk with Milo instead of flavoured milk
  •   Shish Kebabs instead of sausage rolls
  •   Hamburgers instead of chicken nuggets
  •   Dips and vegetables instead of corn chips
  •   Scrambled eggs for cereal
  •   Drumsticks instead of sandwiches
  •   Nachos instead of pizza
  •   Baked beans instead of two-minute noodles
  •   Popcorn instead of potato chips
  •   Muesli bars instead of chocolate bars
  •   Jellied fruit instead of apple pie
  •   Hot dogs instead of meat pies

    The report details why each of these 'swaps' has more nutritional value than its alternative. "Being your family's nutrition provider is an extremely big responsibility," adds MacGregor. "So knowledge of good nutrition can be very empowering."

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