Children don't often respond well to being told what to do. If you’d like to adopt some healthier habits as a family, it’s important to get children involved in both shopping and cooking, helping them to have more control over what they eat.

Most people know that vegetables are better than unhealthy snacks like chips and chocolate but how can you help kids reach for fruit instead? Here are some top tips to guide them in the right direction.

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Give them more choice

Let kids choose the types of dips or dressings they want to try out. Eating veggie sticks may not sound appetising but by leaving kids to decide what they prefer and make on their own, they can gain more autonomy over food choices, encouraging them to enjoy the process.

  1. Mayo + Oyster sauce = 3:1
  2. Mayo + Ketchup = 2:1 (you may add lemon juice for additional flavour)
  3. Mayo + Miso + Honey = 3:3:1
  4. Sweet chilli + cream cheese
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Suggest a quirky alternative

Introduce them to snacks that aren’t as common but are a healthy alternative. Roasted peas are a good example. They can be bought in bulk and have a longer shelf-life. You can even add different spices to make the flavour anything they fancy.

Eg. Roasted Chana (Chickpeas)

It is a well-known snack in South Asia as well as East Asia. Technically, it is roasted chickpeas without any flavouring, although some people like to season it with some spices. Search for “Masala Chickpeas” or “Spicy roasted chickpeas” for recipes. You can get these from Indian grocery stores or even online!

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Shop and Save

Buy fruit in place of unhealthy snacks and keep them out on display so children are more likely to eat them. You can buy a pack of mandarin oranges for less than £1 in some low-cost supermarkets. They are much more nutritious, budget-friendly and count towards your 5-a-day.

Also, Sheffield is home to one of the best indoor markets. Moor Market in the city centre offers a variety of fruits and vegetables so it is worth checking it out. If you are lucky, you may be able to get 2 punnets of strawberries for just £1!

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Download a food scanner app

One of our favourite healthy eating apps is the NHS Change for Life Food Scanner. Kids will enjoy zapping food and drinks to find out if they’re good for their health. It gives children a chance to explore different products and learn as they play.

Download it here:

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Check for dehydration

Children often get craving for sweets when they are dehydrated. Try giving them plain water or fruit-infused water to drink to see if those cravings change. Lemons and limes are brilliant for adding to water to give it a zesty, fresh twist.

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Swap Sugary Drinks

One glass of Coke provides more than the recommended amount of sugar children should consume in a day! Limit the number of fizzy drinks they have to a maximum of two per week. Even better, why not make your own fizzy drinks with sparkling water and fruits or no-added sugar squash?

You’ll find lots of great recipes for low-sugar lunches and dinners and sugar swap ideas around the website.

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