How to: Get your kids off white bread

Do your kids love white bread? Do you wish they would eat a healthier version but are tired of battling over it? Well, read on.

We used to all be white bread eaters in our family. It was cheap, everyone loved it and it was easy – stick anything in white bread, top it with sauce, and the kids would gobble it up.

But over time I realised that white bread wasn’t the healthiest thing to eat due to being highly processed, containing ingredients like emulsifiers and preservatives, and pretty much being devoid of any goodness. I knew I needed to move my children (and us) off it. However, switching straight to a brown bread overnight just wasn’t going to happen. So, I had to do it slowly, but surely.

If your child is in the same white-bread-loving phase that my kids were, here are some tips to get you started on leading them to a healthier option:

1. Talking

First of all, talk to them about white bread and how it really isn’t very good for them. Relate it to something that they are interested in, like “I know you want to run really fast when you’re playing soccer, so filling your body with good foods is really important. So, I think we need to look at some different types of bread to help fuel your muscles so you’re a speed demon.” It’s really easy to just push our food ideas onto children without getting them involved. So, make sure you have a talk to them about the food and better options that are going to help them achieve their goals.

2. Let them pick

Take them to the supermarket and let them look at the different types of breads on offer. Tell them they can pick one out to try and the ones with more colour and seed have extra “magic” goodness in them. Go with what they pick – even if it’s not the healthiest one. Children are so much more accepting of change if they feel they have some input into it.

3. Make a healthy date

When you make them a sandwich, do one side white and the other side with something they have chosen or something a little “healthier”. At first, this may be one slice of multigrain or wholemeal bread. You could even make a “triple” sandwich, with the two outer breads white, and the inner slice multigrain or wholemeal.

4. Switch it up

Once they are happily eating this, try mixing it up again. One side multigrain/wholemeal and the other side Vogels or Burgen etc, then keep switching until they are at a bread you are happy with

5.  Alternate

If partnering with different breads is an issue, try doing white bread on Day 1, then Day 2 do the partnering up with a different bread on the other side, then Day 3 back to white bread only, then Day 4 partner up again, and so on. They key is working to change their taste buds and getting them used to the new type of bread, which takes time.

6. Breadless days

Another option is to have days where bread isn’t in their lunchbox. I know this can feel overwhelming at first, but there are plenty of other options out there. Cold chicken wings, boiled eggs, plain rice cakes with topping, homemade rice pudding, roasted vegetables, homemade guacamole, cold meatballs or sausages, raw vegetables, nuts and seeds etc. Aiming for high good fats and proteins will help full them up.

Remember to keep talking to them about the benefits of eating healthier bread and reminding them how it’s going to benefit them both physically and mentally. Ultimately, the best types of bread are properly fermented sourdough, or the highly seeded breads. When you are choosing, aim to get as close to these as possible, and always read the ingredients lists on the back of the package before buying, as many options in the supermarket (even gluten-free) contain a lot of lab-created ingredients which you want to avoid.

Instead of white bread, trying working towards Burgen, MacKenzie or Vogels breads. But, as mentioned, aiming for sourdough or Paleo breads are the better choice as these contain way less lab-created ingredients for your children’s growing bodies.

Buying organic breads online (like Purebread) or sourdough at a Farmers’ Market are other great options – but again, remember to ask/look at ingredients first.

Good Luck!

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