Does your kid eats a lot of standard cereal, sandwiches, pasta, pizza and pancakes? It may sound like they’re eating a varied diet, but in actual fact the the main ingredient in all the food they’re consuming is the same - refined wheat flour. Unfortunately, refined wheat flour (as with any refined food), is just about completely devoid of nutrients.
What we want to aim for in our diets - be it our children’s, or our own - is to eat a wide variety of food, including a wide variety of whole grains. Eating a varied diet helps ensure we hit our micronutrient requirements, it supports a healthier diversity of our gut microbiome, and whole grains are also far better at keeping our blood sugars stable than refined grains. (Which is better for regulating your kids mood!)
The easiest thing to do is simply swap a like for like, and give them a whole grain version of something that they already like to eat. Like, swapping out a regular refined flour pizza base for one made with alternative whole grains. (Harris Farm sells a great gluten free base made predominantly with quinoa flour), or swapping a refined wheat flour pasta for one made with whole grains (like the one pictured here). For extra fussy kids, play the long game and start by just adding small amounts of the whole grain food to the refined food they already like (ie white rice with some brown rice added to it) & increase it slowly so they get used to it.
These days, you’ll find just about all the whole grain swaps you need in your supermarket.
Easy Swap Ideas:
Standard pasta —> brown rice & amaranth pasta
Breakfast cereal—> wholegrain oats/buckwheat porridge
Standard wheat pizza base —> quinoa &
Standard pancakes —> buckwheat pancakes (or my recipe for green pikelets to also get a serve of green veggies!)
White rice —> brown rice
Supermarket sandwich loaf —> wholegrain sourdough
As always, get into the habit of reading the ingredients on anything you’re buying in a packet, and always choose the option with the least amount of additives