What's on their menu?
Leni Smith (3)
Breakfast: Corn Flakes and All Bran, toast and a glass of milk
Snack: Fruit and sandwich
Lunch: Two lamb chops, one small potato, baby corn, carrots and sugar snap peas
Snack: Two biscuits, a bag of Tayto crisps and a Capri Sun
Supper: Home-made vegetable soup made with carrots, courgette, spinach, tomatoes and mixed beans, two slices of wholegrain bread.
Drinks: Milk, water
Emma’s notes: Leni gets her morning snack in playschool, usually a piece of fruit or sandwich or biscuit, with a glass of milk or water. The children have their dinner at lunchtime, mainly because they tend to fill up on sweets (courtesy of granny and gramps) in the afternoon.
Breakfast: Corn Flakes and All Bran
Lunch: Two servings of spaghetti bolognese
Snack: Granola bar
Supper: Fish fingers, wholegrain pasta, raw carrots and broccoli
Drinks: Milk, water.
Emma’s notes: Leni’s not great for eating breakfast. If she could, she’d just have some toast. The habitual “I’m hungry” as an excuse to stay up late leads to a bowl of Rice Krispies at bedtime.
Breakfast: Porridge, raisins and honey with a glass of milk.
Lunch: Sweet and sour pork with brown rice
Supper: Cracker and cheese with a yoghurt and an apple
Drinks: Milk, water
Emma’s notes: Sweet and sour pork is Leni’s favourite so she had two big bowls. When she likes something she eats a lot of it.
Breakfast: Porridge with raisins and honey. A glass of milk
Lunch: Salmon, green beans and pesto with brown rice
After-dinner treat courtesy of Granny: Maltesers
Snack: Rice cakes and hummus, treat-sized packet of jellies and a Capri Sun
Supper: Thursday is pizza night
Emma’s notes: I’d love to say Thursday’s pizza was home-made, but it was Goodfellas’ ham and pineapple.
Things start to get junky around Thursdays.
Breakfast: Yoghurt with strawberries and kiwi, slice of toast and jam, orange juice
Lunch: McDonald’s happy meal with chicken nuggets, fries and blackcurrant juice
Snack: Lots of sweets
Supper: Nothing due to aforementioned junk fest
Emma’s notes: We go to Carlow some weekends, and if the kids aren’t asleep by the time we’re passing McDonald’s, I usually give in and get a drive-thru. The excitement on their faces beats my guilt, hands down. When we arrive at my mum’s, Dad takes the kids to the local shop where they pick what they want and pig out for the afternoon. Friday night is also movie night, so even though Leni wasn’t hungry for dinner, she didn’t refuse popcorn and jellies.
Breakfast: Coco Pops, brown bread and jam and a glass of milk
Snack: Oat cakes and banana
Lunch: Chicken fajitas, fruit and jelly, water
Snack: Calippo ice pop
Supper: Omelette with cheese, spinach, garlic and tomatoes Late-night treat: blue MMs
Emma’s notes: We’re suckers for tradition. On Saturday and Sunday mornings the kids pick whatever cereal they like. Usually it’s Coco Pops or Cheerios.
Breakfast: Brown bread and marmalade, yoghurt, a glass of water
Snack: Bowl of blueberries, strawberries and apple
Lunch: Roast beef, potato, carrots and parsnip, broccoli and lots of gravy
Snack: More sweets (trip to the shop with grandad)
Supper: Egg and toast, cheese and a glass of milk
Emma’s notes: We possibly don’t vary her diet as much as we should. Leni’s brother Fursey is very fussy so we stick with what he likes, to save cooking two dinners. She has asthma so I try to limit her milk intake.
The routine of Leni’s meals and snacks is good. Her calcium needs are covered and iron needs are covered by her intake of lamb, pork, bolognese, chicken, fish and dried fruit. Mixing a wholegrain breakfast cereal with another is a good way of getting fibre in. Wholegrain pasta, brown rice and wholemeal breads are other good choices. Try to include oily fish twice a week.
It seems there’s a regular “treat”. Everyone deserves and needs a treat, but because these are usually foods that contain a lot of added saturated fat, sugar and salt it’s best to try to keep these to twice a week of “fun” or snack size.
There is a belief among some people that consuming dairy products increases the production of mucus in the respiratory system. This suspicion has recently been reviewed, by Brunello Wuthrich in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, and the conclusion is that milk consumption does not lead to mucus production or occurrence of asthma.
Taste preferences and dietary habits formed in the first few years can last a lifetime, so it’s important to sow the seeds of a healthy diet at a young age. The challenge is, what snacks do you give them?
Ideally, you want to make the snacks count nutritionally. Leni’s diet contains frequent snacks, but many are high-calorie treats. These can be high in fat, sugar and/or salt, but lacking in essential vitamins and minerals. Eating too many of these foods may contribute to the problem of childhood overweight and may cause health problems later on.