Healthy and Joyful Celebrations with Young Children

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Celebrations often tie with parties, which are full of fun and food. Some of the popular party foods and drinks are loaded with fat, salt and/or sugar. Frequent consumption of such will increase the risk of obesity, diabetes, hypertension, etc. For the health of your beloved young children and family, don’t forget to follow the principles of balanced diet and “3 low 1 high” (i.e. low-fat, low sodium (salt), low-sugar and high-dietary fibre)! Here are some tips when planning party menus, foods and drinks :

 

Healthy party foods and drinks

  • Have a balanced combination of foods. Party feast should mainly be consisted of grains, with lots of vegetables and moderate amount of meat and alternatives. Some of the healthy choices are listed below.
    • Choose whole grains, e.g. brown rice, barley, wholewheat pasta, to boost the intake of dietary fibre and vitamin B complex.
    • Choose a wide variety and colourful vegetables, e.g. tomato, pumpkin, corn, sweet pepper, red cabbage, onion, to increase young children’s interest in eating more vegetables.
    • Choose lean meat and alternatives low in fat, e.g. leanpork chop, beef tenderloin, skinless chicken, fish filet, shrimp, egg, dry beans, to avoid extra intake of fat.
    • Prepare or choose dishes made with “less oil” cooking methods, e.g. steaming, baking, grilling, boiling or stewing, and seasoned with natural ingredients, spices or herbs, e.g. tomato, mushroom, lemon, garlic, parsley. Avoid dishes with deep-fried foods or lots of gravy.
  • Choose water as the main beverage. Other healthy drinks include low-fat or skimmed milk, calcium-fortified, low-sugar soymilk, lemon water without added sugar. Avoid drinks with caffeine or sweeteners such as lemon tea or diet drinks.
  • Serve fresh fruit as dessert. You may invite young children to make a mixed fruit cup together as a parent-child activity as well. Avoid dessert high in fat or sugar.

 

Eating tips

  • Serve the appropriate amount of food to young children. It is recommended to serve a larger portion of high-dietary fibre grains and vegetables and less meat and its alternatives.
  • Limit table salt or other condiments high in fat, salt and/or sugar on the table.
  • Let young children eat without playing or other distractions help them have a better sense of fullness to prevent overeating. Avoid force-feeding even if young children cannot finish their plate.

Besides, put the focus of parties on something else other than food such as games or activities. Do not simply rely on the provision of party foods to create a fun-filled atmosphere. Try these out in your upcoming parties!

 

For more healthy eating information, please refer to:

 

Thematic website of the “StartSmart@school.hk” Campaign https://www.startsmart.gov.hk/en/index.aspx