It can be more than a little tough to get your kids away from their devices. With a little bit of creativity and a plan, though, healthy eating for adults and kids need not be equally difficult.
Siphesihle Mhlongo is a teen chef from Durban and believes that adding some flavour to healthy food gives it more life and makes it more enjoyable.
While she already has a bit of an advantage in the kitchen, she says adding fresh fruit to cereals porridges and a cheesy saucy vegetable can make a world of difference. “I would add things like strawberries in my oats or blueberries, and with my vegetables I love to have white sauce on the side or season them a bit for taste.”
Kids who love veggies
Meanwhile, Vannessa Manyika from Johannesburg knows the struggles of getting kids to eat healthy. She’s a mother of two who loves preparing healthy meals for her family. Being a working mom often means juggling meetings, busy toddlers, homework and being a house chef.
Kids who love vegetables are like hens’ teeth, but her babies, Zoe and Leo, cannot get enough of them, says Manyika.
Her trick lies in telling stories about the origins of the foods on their plate. “If you explain the goodness of the meal, they have better chances of eating it than forcing a meal on them by just saying it’s good for your body.”
According to the Healthy Living Alliance (HEALA) nutrition programme manager Angelika Peczak, early exposure to healthy foods is important for optimal growth and development of a child as well as creating lifelong healthy eating habits.
She adds that the 2020 Global Nutrition Report (GNR) highlights the need to intervene early to prevent the double burden of both undernutrition and being overweight and obese. This double burden of malnutrition contributes to diet-related non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Listen up, fussy adult
Eating healthy requires discipline and adults are not exempt.
Health activist Nosipho Msiza is an entrepreneur from Tsakane in Ekurhuleni. She is passionate about educating people about the benefits of living a healthy lifestyle.
To manage her hypertension, changing her diet was lifesaving. She eats a diet that is high in fresh, nutritious foods like whole grains, fruits and vegetables, lean proteins and low-fat and healthy fat sources such as nuts and avocados.
“We eat with our eyes before our mouth. Healthy food doesn’t have to be dull and boring. With the use of herbs and greens such as rocket, parsley, coriander and mint, these herbs bring life into a meal more especially those who are embarking on a healthy lifestyle journey.”
Msiza’s top tips for spicing up a plate of food
- Parboiled vegetables with a dash of herbs makes the meal to be enjoyable.
- Mix roasted vegetables with a little of olive oil. Add more spice into your eating plan such as ginger, cayenne pepper and black pepper.
- Turmeric brings more life into the meal and is also good for hypertension and type 2 diabete. The combination help reduce lengthy illnesses.
- People are encouraged to add more colour to make the plate more inviting such as bell peppers, sweet potatoes, squash. This helps maintain healthy skin and teeth and promotes good vision.
- For those who don’t like the taste of water, add black berries, strawberries, lemon, and mint for taste.
With schools now open, parents need to get creative when it comes to lunchbox ideas for their children. It is also important to substitute junk food with more healthier options like Popcorn instead of chips and water instead of juice.