These tips are an extract of larger article available here.
Nutrition tips to help get you started at home:
- Make food rules. Parents without rules about things such as not skipping breakfast or eating in front of TV have adolescents with worse food habits than those with rules. A supportive home environment for nutrition means kids do eat better.
- Never give up encouraging your loved ones to eat more, and a bigger variety, of vegetables and fruit. People who increase their intake of vegetables and fruit also report increased life satisfaction, happiness and well-being.
- Show them which foods belong to the basic foods groups and which do not. Young children find it easy to recognise foods packed with essential nutrients, but harder to identify energy-dense, nutrient-poor foods or junk foods. Discretionary foods make up more than one-third (35 per cent) of what Australians eat, compared to the recommended maximum of 15 per cent. Most people need to cut their “discretionary foods” by more than half.
- Plan meals and snacks ahead of time. Base them around the five nutrient-rich core foods: vegetables, fruits, wholegrains, lean sources of protein (fish, chicken, meat, eggs, tofu, nuts, seeds, legumes, dried beans and lentils) and dairy products such as yoghurt, cheese and milk. Prepare school and work lunches the night before and refrigerate them.
- Try healthy fast food cooked at home. Instead of ordering in, spread a pizza base with tomato paste and top it with grated carrot and zucchini or other vegetables, some cooked chicken, meat or four-bean mix and grated cheese. Bake until crispy and serve with salad. People who cook more have healthier eating habits, better nutrient intakes and spend less money on takeaways.
Frequent family meals have added benefits, including better mental health, self-esteem and school success.