Making healthy food fun for kids is the secret to encouraging positive food habits. Paediatric nutritionist Mandy Sacher shares some favourites.

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Every family is unique, with their own set of nutrition challenges. Preparing healthy meals, especially when there are fussier family members, can seem daunting and overwhelming for time-poor families.

I’m a strong advocate for making whole food nutrition as simple and achievable as possible, for the entire family. I’m keen to debunk the myth that healthy has to mean expensive, time-consuming and tasteless. Simple choices – like swapping to whole grains, using healthy fats when cooking, replacing processed sugars with healthier options, and incorporating more nutritious protein sources – can have a huge overall impact.

Training children’s taste buds to enjoy natural, whole food from an early an age is one of my key pieces of advice. Equipping our children with a genuine enjoyment of nutritious food sets them on the right track for the future.

Healthy snacks for kids

Making food engaging for children is a great way to get them excited about what’s on offer, and it’s also a successful way to manage and overcome fussy eating. Thankfully, making healthy food fun can be incredibly simple – from arranging food on a plate into shapes and pictures (my daughter loves a smiley face), to using colour and design.

Getting children involved is a key element, whether it’s choosing what they’d like to eat (from two or three nutritious options), or helping to make snacks, or even growing and picking their own herbs or veggies.

Here are some fun and nutritious ideas that are easy to make – and that your child can help out with preparing:

  1. Boiled eggs in fun, shaped moulds
  2. Rainbow veggie sticks with homemade dips, like pumpkin or beetroot hummus
  3. Seaweed wraps with shredded veggies and chicken
  4. Natural yoghurt with your child’s selection of varied and vibrant mixed fruit
  5. Cheese, tomato and cucumber salads (cut into fun shapes)
  6. Fruit, veggie and cheese skewers
  7. Trail mixes, made up of things like sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sultanas, popcorn, coconut flakes and carob nibs
  8. Sourdough toast fingers with easy homemade spread or 100% peanut or almond butter
  9. Popcorn with coconut oil, cinnamon and sea salt
  10. Wholegrain crackers with protein based spreads like ricotta or tzatziki
  11. Beef and veggie meatballs on a skewer
  12. Healthy homemade pizza, with veggies like cauliflower or sweet potato
  13. Veggie muffins – marvellously versatile with a delicious cheesy twist
  14. Brown rice sushi with salmon and avocado
  15. Healthy low-sugar wholemeal banana bread

Get more simple, nutritious and delicious ideas from Mandy at wholesomechild.com or check out her book, Wholesome Child: A Complete Nutrition Guide and Cookbook.

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