Wholesome Child : Wholesome Child full
203 202 step 6: balance fruit f there’s ever a food group battle that most parents don’t have to fight, it’s getting their children to eat enough fruit. Thanks to the sweetness inherent in many fruits, most children are fans. But while fruit is packed full of vitamins and antioxidants, there is such a thing as eating too much of it, especially if it starts to replace other foods in the diet. One client of mine, aged four, loved fruit almost to the exclusion of everything else. This petite little girl nagged her mother throughout the day for fruit. She could easily eat a punnet of blueberries, an apple and a banana in one sitting. And while that may sound healthy it isn’t, especially when replacing other important food choices. While fruit is a great source of carbohydrates, fibre, minerals and vitamins A, B and C, unfortunately it has little protein and virtually no fat, both essential for a growing child. Eating fruit will: ✓ add fibre to your child’s diet, keeping him fuller for longer and keeping him regular. ✓ build the immune system thanks to antioxidants. ✓ help fight off high blood pressure and heart disease in later life. ✓ prevent some types of cancer. ✓ lower the risk of eye and digestive problems. ✓ have a positive effect on your child’s brain and memory helping him recall information easier and faster. So what’s the deal with fruit? Thanks to the anti-sugar crowd, fruit often gets lumped with other high-sugar foods. It is true that fruit contains the intrinsic sugar fructose and that some fruits contain more fructose than others, yet many fruits have a low glycaemic index. When it comes to giving children fruit as a snack or dessert, I’m all for it – especially if replacing a refined sugar treat. When kids eat a lolly or a chocolate bar, they tend to immediately crave more. However, when they eat fruit, they ingest the fructose along with fibre and other nutrients which slow down sugar absorption and prevent spikes in insulin. In most cases it is very unlikely that a child will go completely overboard on the natural sugars that come from fruit, but like anything else it’s all about balance. Remember, it isn’t just abouthow much fruit your child eats, but what he eats it with. Pairing fruit with a protein and healthy fat will keep your child satiated longer. Try apple slices with some nut butter, berries with yogurt or ricotta cheese, or half a banana with a handful of sunflower seeds. Our bodies are designed to metabolise the amount of fructose contained in 2-3 serves of fruit a day but if your child has eaten a lot of foods containing added sugar, it may be wise to lower their fruit consumption on that day. 203 I Wholesome Child’s handy guide to fructose in fruit LOW IN FRUCTOSE Lemon, lime, grapefruit, raspberries, strawberries, nectarines, peaches , blackberries, cantaloupe, avocado, kiwi fruit, clementines. HIGH IN FRUCTOSE Mango, banana, lychee, dates, cherries, dried fruit (dates, figs, apricots), grapes, persimmon. Raspberry & Pear Muffins (see recipe on page 49) Consider this... Apples are a great fibre source if you don’t peel them. The skin contains quercetin, an antioxidant with antihistamine and anti- inflammatory power that may help protect us from heart disease and possibly allergic reactions.