(Written by: Karen Bishop Dietician)

As a mom, the planning and preparation of meals for your family can be quite daunting for some. Especially if you’ve never had an interest in food or cooking. BUT, you don’t need to be a gourmet chef and prepare amazing, time-consuming meals every day (relief!). As long as you make sure that the meals you prepare for your family are healthy (80% of the time) you are doing a fantastic job!

What we teach our kids (about nutrition) and what we choose to feed them, will impact their health for the rest of their lives! If children grow up eating an unhealthy diet, the chances of them developing heart disease, Type 2 Diabetes or even cancer later on in their life is almost guaranteed (unless they themselves choose to go on a health kick when they are older).

The great news is that all of these lifestyle diseases can be prevented through implementing a healthy diet in your home. So think about these 6 Nutritional Goals the next time you’re doing your grocery shop.

  1. Fruit and Vegetables: Make sure your kids eat a variety of fruit and vegetables. Aim for 5 a day (2 fruit and 3 vegetables).
    Tip: Encourage your kids to ‘eat a rainbow’ everyday (or on most days of the week).
    *See loads more tips on how to get your kids to eat fruit and vegetables in my book ‘Charlie Eats a Rainbow’ (see below)
  2. Protein: Avoid processed proteins as much as possible e.g. chicken nuggets, fish fingers, burger patties, Vienna’s. Rather choose proteins in their natural form e.g. chicken, fish, beef, lamb, pork, legumes, eggs. The quality of protein in its natural form is a thousand times better. It also has less additives, preservatives, salt and hydrogenated vegetable oil. Keep processed proteins as ‘treats’ only (not every day foods!).
    : Cook more roasts in the evenings so that you have left over unprocessed meat for lunches. Cook chicken strips instead of nuggets (sprinkle with chicken spice and cook them in an air fryer or in a little extra virgin olive oil).
  3. Omega -3: Make sure your kids consume omega-3 rich foods 3 times a week e.g. fish (salmon, sardines, pilchards), flaxseeds, walnuts. Omega-3 fatty acids are vital in the structure of every cell membrane. This will ensure that your child’s body is functioning optimally at cellular level. Omega-3 fatty acids are also great for concentration.
    Add flaxseeds or walnuts to oats, yoghurt or a smoothie.
  4. Junk food: Junk food needs to be limited. It is fine to allow small amounts every now and then but the trick is portion control. Don’t allow your kids to eat a whole 100g packet of sweets at one time (equivalent to 12tsp sugar!). Rather give them 25g at a time (equivalent to 3 tsp sugar).
    : Never allow your kids to eat junk when they are really hungry because once they start they won’t stop! Encourage them to eat something healthy first.
  5. Carbohydrates: Wholegrain, high fiber, low GI carbohydrates are best. Choose these rather than refined carbohydrates. Avoid white bread and sugary breakfast cereals.
    : If you give your kids breakfast cereals choose the ones that are Low GI and higher in fiber e.g. All bran flakes (I call them chocolate flakes- my kids have no idea that they are not actually chocolate!), whole wheat Pronutro (Superman food), low GI muesli or Futurelife.
  6. Milk and yoghurt: Make sure your kids consume milk/yoghurt but just be aware that 125ml of sweetened yoghurt contains 4tsp of sugar! Plain yoghurt with a small drizzle of honey is better.
    If your kids are under weight or normal weight they can have full cream milk but if they are overweight then rather give them low fat milk.

Educate your kids about healthy eating through my story books

Charlie Eats a Rainbow- A story which encourages kids to eat more fruit and vegetables

‘Charlie Eats a Rainbow’ by Dietician Karen Bishop

‘Charlie Eats a Rainbow’ is about a young boy who loves mountain biking with his friends.
He enters into a race, but gets sick a few days before. He doesn’t want to go to the doctor and so his mum suggests that he ‘eats a rainbow’ every day to boost his immune system and fight off his infection. Does it work? Is he able to race?

Or call: 083 494 2898 (Karen)

Charlie and Grizzly- A story which encourages kids to eat more omega-3 rich foods for concentration

‘Charlie and Grizzly’ by Dietician Karen Bishop

‘Charlie and Grizzly’ is about a young boy called Charlie who isn’t doing so well at school. One day Charlie befriends a Grizzly bear who lives in the forest close to his home. Find out what Charlie and Grizzly get up to. Surprisingly, it has a positive effect on Charlie’s ability to concentrate and his school marks improve.

Or call: 083 494 2898 (Karen)

Mighty Max- A story which encourages kids to eat less junk

‘Mighty Max’ by Dietician Karen Bishop

‘Mighty Max’ is about a little mouse that lives in a hole inside Charlie’s house. Every night, after Charlie’s family goes to bed, Mighty Max scurries out into the kitchen and eats all junk food in sight. One night, after Mighty Max gets a very big fright, he runs for his hole, only to find it too tight for comfort! Learn how Might Max loses weight (the healthy way) and is able to fit back inside his front door.

Or call: 083 494 2898 (Karen)

Order the books online or download the apps onto your ipad or iphone

Hard copy books are only available in South Africa. Apps can be purchased internationally.