A recent study (a secondary analysis of the 1999 National Food Consumption Survey) shows that South African children across the board (even wealthy kids) are not getting enough of these power foods!
So why is this a concern? Well, the facts from well conducted studies are that the more fruit and veg you eat, the lower your risk of developing cancer of the oral cavity, pharynx, oesophagus, stomach, colon, pancreas, lung and uterine lining. There is also good evidence to prove that increasing your intake of fruit and veggies reverses trends toward hypertension, diabetes and obesity. It has also shown to reduce medical bills significantly (now that’s something I am interested in!).
In children there is more and more proof that a good diet, full of colour, protects against childhood illness including the usual coughs and colds. What really hits home for me is that children with poor dietary intake have a higher chance of becoming obese as adults and are more sensitive to the negative health effects of the ‘ affluent lifestyle’ as adults. So there is enough backing to say that you are doing the best for your kids by putting that veg on the plate.
It’s important to note that giving your kids supplements does not make up for the deficits in our diets. These positive effects cannot be attributed to any one nutrient but rather to the synergy between phytochemicals and non-nutritive compounds found in food - things we just can’t put in a bottle.
Now nobody wants dinner time warfare in their house, so there have to be better ways to get the good stuff down. There are two aspects to it, one is sneaking it in, but ultimately you want your kids to develop good habits and taste preferences, so the other important aspect is behavioural.
Aim to give your 1-3 year-old at least 1 cup of fruit and 1 cup of veg daily, 4-8 year-olds should get 1 ½ cups of each.
Lastly, the most significant way to affect your child’s eating habits is to be a good role model, so you need to “eat your greens” too!
Have you tried the Nubabi Free Trial?
Get unlimited access to Your Parenting Toolkit for 2 weeks for free!
Track, Boost, Explore and Capture your child's growth and development.
Available on both mobile and web.