Do you give your children morning or afternoon tea? If so have you ever struggled with what to give so they don’t get too full and eat all their dinner?
I have many times, so I asked a fabulous expert to share with us some of her great advice – Eve Reed is a leading paediatric dietitian. She started Familyfoodworks to support parents to take the stress out of feeding their children.
Children from about one year of age need to be offered the opportunity to eat five times a day, with nothing in between these times, apart from water. Parents need to offer children breakfast, morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner.
To ensure your child gets the nutrition they need, morning and afternoon tea should be offered as part of regular meal times along with breakfast, lunch and dinner,
In order for your child to feel satisfied at each meal, include foods that contain protein, fat and carbohydrate. They may not eat all of what you have offered but you have given the chance to get the nutrients they need and to satisfy their appetite. Appetite varies from meal to meal, so you can’t expect your child to eat the same amount at every meal. However, it is important they you trust that they will eat as much or as little as they want at each meal. You can always keep what they haven’t eaten for another meal rather than throwing uneaten food out.
It’s tempting to give your child food when they ask for it. However if they are ‘snacking’ between mealtimes they will not be hungry for the next meal that you have planned. Even if they haven’t eaten much at the previous meal it is OK to say ‘we’ll be having afternoon tea soon’ rather than giving them a ‘snack’ such as crackers or some other ‘easy’ food. You want them to come to the next meal hungry so that they are more likely to eat the foods that you know they need such as meat, vegetables, and fruit.
It’s quite remarkable that children know how much food energy (calories or kilojoules) they need. Many studies have shown that this is the case. Of course, like you and me, as they get older, they will eat more than they need from the ‘extra’ foods like biscuits, ice cream, sweets. So if they have eaten all the calories they need by afternoon tea, they are not going to want to eat much at dinner.
Here are some suggestions to try for morning and afternoon tea
- pikelets and yogurt
- fruit smoothie
- melted cheese on toast
- vegetable sticks and hummus or cottage cheese
- crackers and cheese
- fresh or canned fruit and custard
- raisin toast and milk
- fruit and yogurt
- celery filled with peanut butter or cream cheese and milk
- pizza sauce and cheese on English muffins
- scones and a glass of milk with Milo
- crackers with dip such as hummus, cottage cheese, avocado mashed with lemon juice and yogurt
- bowl of soup and bread
- fried rice and a glass of milk
- leftover pasta with cheese
- baked beans on toast
Each of these meals includes protein, fat and carbohydrate. Remember that children have small tummies, so offer small amounts – you can always add more if they want more.
For more information about Eve Reed and Familyfoodworks, please visit familyfoodworks.com.au