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The Good Parenting Food Guide: Managing What Children Eat Without Making Food a Problem by Jane Ogden

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9

“I don't have time to cook”

On my shelf at home are several cookery books designed for mums with endless recipes for pasta dishes, pizzas, casseroles, or sandwiches presented as hedgehogs, cats, clowns, and smiley faces. They are all unused with no evidence of splashed food anywhere! Mums are busy people. Many work as well as having children, and those who stay at home are busy managing the home and seeing to the children. Time is precious. I am not a chef, nor am I a nutritionist or dietician. But I am a psychologist who is bringing up two children and trying my best to put my own theories into practice. Here are some of my own rules of thumb for making your child's diet as healthy as possible and keeping your own sanity.
What do we know: diet and health
  • Home-cooked food is nearly always better than ready meals or takeaways.
  • Simple meals can take very little time and effort (such as pasta pesto or sausage and mash and peas).
  • It takes as much time to boil pasta as to reheat a TV dinner or order in a pizza.
  • Eating as a family at the table protects against obesity and encourages healthy eating.

Cook Whenever You Can

Home-cooked food is pretty much always healthier than eating out or eating takeaways, so try to cook as often as you can. Processed foods, pre-prepared foods, takeaways, and TV dinners may be labeled “low fat,” “healthy eating,” “low calorie,” or “low sugar” but the chances are they are higher in all these ingredients than the food you can cook at home. I ...

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