| Dubai, United Arab Emirates

New year, New kids

Trading in your tykes for new and improved models, however appealing, is not really an option

Awkward eaters

To say it’s challenging to get kids to eat healthily and regularly is like saying the Burj Dubai is ‘quite tall’. You spend hours in the supermarket, scouring the shelves for inspirational lunch box ideas, only for them to swap their healthy packed lunch for crisps and a chocolate bar. Then you run yourself ragged in the kitchen to create culinary masterpieces representing all the food groups, only to endure a silent stand-off as the ungrateful toe-rags refuse to eat a single mouthful. You’re so fed up you could cheerfully give stubborn Sam a cauliflower ear for his awkwardness.

Don’t give up. Kids need to be healthy from the inside and a good diet helps avoid obesity and diabetes later in life, as well as putting fuel in their engines to get through all that playing, mucking around and school work.

‘Making sure your kids get all the essential nutrients is vital for growth and development,’ says Sandra Mikhail, dietician and nutritionist at Dubai Physiotherapy and Family Medicine Clinic. ‘It’s important to set good, healthy eating habits at an early age, which they’ll take through into adulthood.’

A well-balanced, nutritious diet with a good mix of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals is key. And that means you too mums and dads (so no more forcing junior to eat his greens while you guzzle choccie bikkies). ‘I come across parents so worried about their child’s weight problem, they fail to take a closer look at their own lifestyle,’ says Rima Itani, dietician at Live’ly, a health and nutrition advice and catering company. ‘It’s important that parents are good role models and adopt healthy eating habits as a whole family.’

Remember, quality and variety are more important than quantity, so don’t get hung up about how much constitutes a portion. Your child’s tastes will change, he’ll go through fussy phases as his growth rate slows, and the amount he eats will depend on his activity levels. As long as he’s gaining weight and has a normal activity level, there’s little to worry about.

By Karen Iley
Time Out Dubai,

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