BETTINA’S FIVE TIPS FOR FEEDING THE KIDS
Spanish chef, Bettina Campolucci Bordi reveals her top five tips for making sure that children eat healthy
1. HAVE PLENTY OF FAIL SAFE TRICKS UP YOUR SLEEVE
To make sure that Ayla eats wholesome ingredients, I blend hemp seeds, nuts, fruits and vegetables into smoothies and pasta sauces. I also use good, raw pressed oils and drizzle them on her toast without her even realising! She doesn’t eat fish or meat so I have to make sure that she gets her Omega 3’s (brain food) and I use a liquid vitamin and mineral supplement in her porridge every morning. That way, I know that her diet is right from the start of the day.
2. DON’T BE DISCOURAGED BY FOODIE FADS
Children should be allowed to go through periods of likes and dislikes and develop in their own rhythm. My daughter started off as a big eater – from 12 months to 2 years old she ate everything I made to the point that her nursery teachers were always intrigued to see whether I was going to give her chia-seed pudding or beetroot puree in her lunch pack the next day – but now she is much fussier and often won’t even try something if she doesn’t like the look of it. I don’t stress about eating at all; I just feed her what i know she likes even if that means eating avocado, tomato and olive oil on toast everyday of the week! Nowadays, there is so much information out there telling us what they should or should not be doing at certain stages of their development; we should just take a backseat and let them grow in their own time.
3. IT’S OK TO BREAK THE RULES SOMETIMES
At children’s parties I let her loose to eat what she wants, but because we don’t eat certain kinda of food at home (chicken nuggets for example), she naturally steers away from them. She’ll often try a sweet, chew it a little and end up giving them to me. Crisps are a whole different ball game, but I also believe in not being too strict because in the end, when she is old enough, she will make decisions for herself. As a parent, we can only set a good example now, as our children are growing up.
4. TEACH YOUR CHILDREN WHY EATING HEALTHY IS IMPORTANT
I think it is important to show children where food comes from by taking them to markets where they can choose their own fruits and veggies. That way they are a part of and in control of what they put into their bodies from a very early age. It’s hard to touch, smell and feel when you are in a supermarket and everything is wrapped in plastic. I know that parents don’t have much time, but a trip to a market can be turned into a fun, family weekend outing. I remember summers in Sweden when my grandmother took me to strawberry fields and we picked and ate the until we burst!
5. BE CAREFUL WITH USING FOOD AS A REWARD
I think we have to be very careful what we reward our children with and what we use as ‘treats’. I don’t keep anything in the house that i don’t want my daughter to have: there’s no secret sweetie compartment drawer , so when Ayla gets hold of a jelly rat she think s it’s a toy because she doesn’t comprehend that it can be eaten. I don’t applaud or compliment her if she has finished a plate of food. If she ha food left and says she is full, I leave it at that or sometimes finish it for her. It’s important that we let our children trust their own body signals – being full when their body tells them and eating when they are hungry.
Since having my daughter, I have realised that we dictate when, how and how much our children eat from the minute that they are born. We are told the exact time we should breast feed, the exact hours between every feed and when we should stop. We mess with our body signals from such an early stage that when we grow up, some of us lose that connection to ourselves. That’s why we search to regain that connection between our bodies and our minds through yoga, meditation, retreats, detoxes and diets. We need to try and make a shift so we support and nurture our ‘perfect being’ (children) in food patterns, and as mothers remember that all we can do is our best.