Eating five different sorts of fruit and/or vegetables each day can be a little tricky for some parent and carers to administer but here is an idea to get the children enthusiastic about eating their five-a-day.
Slice some raw fruit and vegetables and place them in piles. Ask what colour each piece is and see if your child can name each type? Give them some help and keep practicing through the session to see if they can master the colours and names by the time they have finished.
Show them the plates and ask them to use the fruit and vegetables to make a funny face!
When you have made the faces, eat it all up! Tasty!
Toddlers can be surprisingly good at eating fruit and vegetables but as they only eat small portions, you can face a challenge keeping them fresh. Here are a few tips on keeping your fresh produce extra fresh so that your little ones can enjoy a healthy snack on demand:
Melons: they are delicious but can be fiddly to prepare. Cut the whole melon at once and put the chunks you don't eat straight away into an airtight container. Whenever you fancy a snack it's ready prepared for you and will keep for up to 5 days.
Peppers: if you only need a portion of lovely red, green, yellow or orange pepper, keep the seeds, stalk and inner membrane intact and the pepper will stay fresher for longer.
Spinach: if your spinach has gone a bit limp, refresh in ice cold water and it will revive.
Cool food: to cool food quickly, simply place on top of picnic ice blocks and you'll find it cools down much quicker.
Carrots: to stop them going mouldy, wrap in kitchen paper in the fridge and they will keep longer. The kitchen paper soaks up any condensation which is what make the vegetables turn mouldy.
Fruit: apples stay fresher in the fridge, so do tomatoes and broccoli.
Paper bag: keep a paper bag in the bottom of your fridge where you store your fruit and vegetables so any moisture will be soaked up.
Winter Wonderland has opened for the Christmas season in Hyde Park, London; take your little ones along for a festive spectacle of lights, sounds and the smells of Christmas foods!
Situated at Hyde Park Corner, Winter Wonderland offers a Christmas Market, Christmas themed fairground rides, a big wheel, ice skating and lots more! Winter Wonderland is full of sights and sounds that will trigger your little one's senses and bring that magic sparkle to Christmas.
Entry to Wonderland is free but you will need to buy tokens to enjoy the rides which typically cost between £2 and £4 per person. Babies and toddlers will love Santa Land where all the rides are suitable for even the youngest visitors and they can meet Santa for free. Kids will love the carousels, a train ride and many other fairground attractions.
Plenty of food stalls are scattered throughout, selling hearty fare including hog roasts, fish and chips, bratwurst, potatoes, soups and Belgian chips. For grown-ups, there's mulled wine and German beers. Food is a little on the pricey side for a family because you won't find children's portions, each food is priced at around £5, and with so many stalls around, everyone can choose a different meal.
The large attractions include a giant wheel with rides lasting around 15 minutes and Zippo's Circus. The ice rink isn't particularly good for younger children as there are no 'Penguins' to help children stay on their feet and build confidence on the ice. Keep an eye out for the talking tree, that will keep children engaged for hours. There are plenty of toilets on site, as well as baby changing facilities in two locations.
At the Angels Market you will find Christmas decorations, London memorabilia, traditional toys and craft, jewellery and other gifts.
Winter Wonderland is open daily now, from 10am to 10pm, until 3rd January 2012. Check out more information from the Winter Wonderland website.
More children than ever took to the streets this year to 'trick or treat' their neighbours and friends. Hoards of little witches and cute devils waved buckets at neighbours front doors in the hope of some lovely, bewitched sweeties being thrown in!
Going out trick or treating has become more and more popular over the years. It used to be something they did in America, not here in England, but it has gradually become part of our annual festivities. According to an ASDA survey reported in the Daily Telegraph, if you are dressed as a cute witch, skeleton or vampire you are likely to get more sweets than if you are dressed as someone like Freddie Kruger. Something to bear in mind!
Here are some other tips to bear in mind for next year:
If women eat low fat yoghurt during pregnancy they could be putting their unborn child at risk. Recent reports have suggested that babies born of women who ate low fat yoghurt during pregnancy are more likely to develop asthma and hayfever (allergic rhinitis).
The findings were presented at the European Respiratory Society's Annual Congress. They were looking at whether fatty acids found in some dairy products could protect against the development of allergic diseases in children.
70,000 Danish women and their eating habits were analysed and then they were followed and tested until the children were seven years old. The researchers assessed milk and dairy intake during pregnancy and monitored the occurance of asthma and hayfever in the children.
Results demonstrated that milk intake during pregnancy was not associated with increased risk of developing asthma. In fact, it actively protected against asthma development.
What did show up was the fact that women who ate low-fat yoghurt with fruit once a day were 1.6-times more likely to have children who developed asthma by age 7. These findings are compared to those women who reported no intake during their pregnancy.
The reasoning behind the findings suggest that non-fat related nutrients in yoghurt could in fact contribute to increasing the risk.
Research has shown that parents are not providing enough fruit and vegetable in their children's packed lunches; 3,500 children had their lunches examined and the findings showed that nearly half did not contain any fruit or vegetables at all. The School Food Trust said that at least 2 portions of fruit and veg should be included in everyone's lunch box in order to get the children towards their '5 a day' requirement.
Jamie Oliver did great work improving school dinners, and now school dinners are better than ever at helping to provide children with a balanced and healthy diet. But nutritionists fear that lunch boxes have been ignored and are very not nutritionally sound. Healthy packed lunches are a great way to help children reach their five a day requirement, they claimed it was a "missed opportunity".
The trust carried out their research two years ago, in 2009, so hopefully things are better now, but still of the 135 schools researched, so many children did not have a healthy, balanced meal to eat. Only 58% had a single item that could be counted towards their five a day - many had nothing fresh at all.
The World Cancer Research Fund has pointed out the value in eating fruit and veg from an early age and that not including fresh items in a lunch box is a missed opportunity. Healthy eating at school promotes a healthy living and parents should be provided with information helping them provide a healthy lunch for their children.
Here are some ideas to add fruit and vegetable to your children's packed lunches:-
According to recent research it has been discovered that babies who are still drinking from a bottle by the age of 2 are more likely to become obese. Researchers at Temple University in Pennsylvania studied the habits of nearly 7,000 children from the area and found that 22% were still using a bottle to drink at the age of two.
By the age of five, nearly a quarter of these children were obese. The researchers suggest the infants who are used to drinking a lot of high-calorie milk from bottles are more likely to grow up to eat a lot more fattening foods.
Other things that seems to contribute included:
People who are overweight are at greater risk of developing
General advice is that bottles should be given up by age one.
An ice cream cone full of lovely swirly ice cream can be an expensive treat for little ones when you are out, so why not save the money, invest in some treats and serve unique ice creams at home instead!
Get some ice cream cones and simple vanilla ice cream. Invite the children to use a spoon to ease out some ice cream and mash it down into the cone.
Put a selection of the following in some little dishes and let the children create!
Invite your little ones to be creative... look into the dishes and describe the shape and colour of what they see. Pink and yellow strands, brown round buttons etc. You could let them taste each one too and ask what it tastes like? Then, let them loose to decorate their ice creams
This activity is learning new words (as well as enjoying a tasty treat!) so for each bowl use and encourage words to describe what you are doing. "Sprinkle" the coloured sprinkles; "pop in" the chocolate buttons; "dip" in the fruit drops; "place" the berries; "dollop" the sauce etc.
Talk about the texture of the ice cream and the taste of the toppings. Use lovely descriptive words that describe the what your doing in a new and fun way.
All parents and childminders worry about what they feed to their children, and yet it can be surprisingly difficult to get a real idea of how healthy food products are. That's all set to change as the EU has agreed to enforce food labeling standards. There has been demand for the EU to enforce the 'traffic light' schemes helping consumers see at a glance how foods fare, but that isn't the route they are going. Instead the EU will require the breakdown of Calories, carbohydrates, sugars and fats.
Most foods already have these breakdowns, so what's new?
To date there hasn't been a standard in the way that labels are displayed. This has lead to various 'tricks' used by food manufacturers to hide certain facts about their food when they aren't entirely complimentary. For example:-
The new rules will also cover ALL packaged foods so you will start to see labels on products that you haven't seen them on before, such as prepackaged fruit and meat.
The more information we are given as consumers, the more informed are our choices. Of course we can have the odd treat, or we can choose to ignore healthy foods altogether, but at least we can make that choice. When it comes to feeding our children, we often go that little bit further, buying more organic produce or foods with established provenance. The more we know about our food, the easier it is to feed our children the way we choose to!
The new EU regulations have been established this month and large food manufacturers have 3 years to comply, smaller food producers have 5 years to comply. We won't see a massive change overnight, more a gentle evolution of current practices over the next few years.
The outbreak of a new and virulent strain of E coli in Germany serves to remind us the importance of food safety, especially with regard to preparing meals for preschool children. Usually when we think of food poisoning, we think of under-cooked meat or eggs - we don't consider that salad can kill.
The source of the E. coli outbreak has still not been traced. Suspicion initially fell on cucumbers supplied to the German market from Spain, but increasingly this is looking unlikely. Currently in Germany, advice is to avoid eating cucumber, lettuce and tomatoes.
How could foods as innocuous as cucumbers and tomatoes pick up deadly strains of E. coli in the first place? Researchers are focusing on the possibility that the deadly bacteria comes from manure used in growing organic crops.
The Health Protection Agency (HPA) in the UK gives the following advice:-
Be safe and make sure that you prepare food with care, whether you are preparing meat, fruit, vegetables or even salad!
Teaching your toddler some basic rituals when it comes to everyday livinhg is a great and easy way to introduce some good (and advisable!) habits into their lives. The more they get used to following these simple rules, the easier it will be to keep them safe and actually introduce them to some good practice.
The idea of cooking with children might fill you with horror, what with the mess, the organisation, the dangers and the unappetising results, but, with a little planning, careful thought and a bit of patience, you can all have a fulfilling and fun time in the kitchen.
Cooking actually covers various areas of the EYFS development programme and so it is a great focus activity.
While cooking: Show your children the recipe and get all the ingredients ready in advance. Guide and direct the children through the cooking and keep them engaged so they don't get distracted and do their own thing. Use tools and bowls that are the appropriate size so they feel in control and able to do the task. Allow them to do as much as you can themselves without endangering them. Talk about the dangers and hot areas to avoid (oven, hob etc). Encourage them to help clear up and taste the food afterwards.
Why should they cook?
According to research, some baby foods have been found to contain an "alarming" level of toxic contaminants including arsenic, lead and cadmium! Something as innocent as baby rice, or fruit baby porridge has been found to contain albeit low levels of these poisons.
The researchers claim that feeding infants twice a day on shop-bought baby foods such as rice porridge can increase the baby's exposure to arsenic by up to fifty times when compared to breast feeding alone.
Officials at the Food Standards Agency and the European Commission are conducting an urgent review of the baby foods. Products tested included brands such as Organix, Hipp and Nestlé - many of which are available in our supermarkets.
Parents all over the country trust these brands and are possibly unaware of this research and the implications. Just to be clear, none of the toxic levels exceeded official safety limits, but scientists believe they are still of concern if fed to very young children, suggesting that the guidelines themselves are too lenient.
New guidelines have been called for as well as an urgent review. Babies are particularly at risk because they develop so rapidly at a young age. The Sweedish researchers said the toxins come from the raw materials. And that all traces should be banned from baby food, not just levels reduced. One way would be to source the rice from different parts of the world. The rice, wheat and grains absorb the aresnic from the soil as they grow. Ambient levels vary across the world.
The World Health Organization recently changed the recommended levels of arsenic in our diet because fears that it can cause cancer even at very low levels. Is this another case where breast is best?
A London ice cream parlour in Covent Garden is selling breast milk ice cream to customers willing to pay £14 a scoop.
The ice cream is served in a tall cocktail glass with a rusk at the side, and dry ice (Liquid nitrogen) bellowing out of the top. The dish has been named Baby Gaga and is served by an outlandish, costumed waitress.
Women willing to donate their breast milk to the shop have been found and are paid £15 for every 10 ounces they hand over to the chefs. The chefs then blend vanilla and lemon and churn the milk into ice cream. Apparently, the women are screened for health problems and have a blood test similar to that given to blood donors.
The ice cream can be served with whisky or a cocktail of your choice. Some are saying it's a good way to get people to realise how tasty and nutritional breast milk is and it will encourage mothers to feed their babies. Others are condemning the ice cream as a bad thing.
Westminster Council seized samples of the ice cream for checks to be carried out but the owners are convinced it is safe and healthy. It sold out within hours of going on sale. Lady GaGa has also threatened legal action over the name of the dessert, claiming that they are preying on her name and image.
Having a child with a sweet tooth, is not necessarily a problem, if you handle it well; the secret is to handle sweets, chocolate and all things sugary not as a rare treat, a reward or something exciting, but instead treat it as something just like all the other food groups you offer your child.
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