The obesity rate amongst South African children is increasing at an alarming rate, largely due to unhealthy eating habits.
The World Health Organisation reported that approximately 13.3% of South African children under the age of five are overweight. Pick n Pay’s resident dietitian, Leanne Kiezer, says this is worrying as overweight children run a high risk of remaining overweight into adulthood, further fuelling the country’s already high obesity levels.
1. Add veggies to their favourite meal: Mix peas in mac and cheese, add shredded carrots to the spaghetti bolognaise sauce, or stir colourful beetroot and zucchini noodles into a regular spaghetti pasta. You could also make a deluxe pizza with a whole-wheat pita bread base and top it with vegetable toppings.
2. Make it interesting: Blitz or purée vegetables and add them to rice and mashed potato for extra colour on their plates.
3. “Fortify” all your saucy meals, such as soups, stews and casseroles, with extra vegetables or canned beans.
4. Offer raw finger foods: Children often prefer uncooked vegetables. They also love to dip them so choose a healthier dip options like tzatziki, hummus, salsa or even peanut butter.
5. Use bright colours: To keep veggies appealing, steam or microwave them in a small amount of water, or stir fry them in a little oil. The main goal is to keep the cooking time to a minimum to ensure you keep the vegetable colours bright and the nutrients intact.
6. Start a veggie club: Try to taste vegetables from A to Z, ticking off letters of the alphabet as you go. As you shop, ask your children to identify vegetables corresponding with each of the respective letters, allowing the veggie journey to become a family adventure!
7. Make it a fun: Find a children’s book which features vegetables as characters, then as you read the story together, also taste the vegetables.
To assist in promoting healthy food choices and instilling lifelong healthy eating habits, over 200 Pick n Pay stores across the country now offer free fruit to shoppers’ children under the age of 12.
You can visit http://www.picknpay.co.za/health-corner-articles for tips, articles, recipes and shopping lists to support your healthy eating journey.