Mealtimes are "mad" in the Andre household, according to Peter Andre's wife Emily. The doctor and mum of two – who raises children Amelia, six, and Theo, four, as well as stepchildren Junior, 15, and Princess, 13, with Peter – revealed to HELLO! what her kids eat daily and how she ensures their diet is rich in vitamin D.
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Offering some insight into what evenings are like in their busy household, Emily said: "Generally the kids are not fussy at all – what we eat, they eat! At dinner time we all sit around as a family, not always at the table but sometimes up at the island unit in the kitchen and we have conversations about what we've been doing in the day, what might be going on at school or work."
It isn't always plain sailing, however. She explained: "Theo is four now, he takes so much encouragement to eat because he’s the slowest eater ever! So every single mealtime I have to keep encouraging him all the time with his food. I keep thinking, 'Oh my gosh, is this ever going to end!' Millie was so easy – at one year old she was feeding herself and it was absolutely fine."
Emily Andre is a doctor and mother of two
Although her youngest aren't fussy eaters, Emily – who has partnered with Kingsmill for their new campaign – says it's a struggle to make sure the little ones get enough vitamin D in their diet.
Read on to discover Emily's advice for making sure your children's food is as balanced and nutritious as possible…
Emily Andre's top tips for children who are fussy eaters:
Look out for foods rich in vitamin D
If you can, get them to eat food that is rich in vitamin D, with things such as oily fish. My kids luckily really like salmon – but things like sardines or tuna might not be everyone’s favourite, though! Red meat is another one, we normally have spaghetti bolognaise once a week which is a favourite of ours. Eggs and particularly the egg yolk is another good option – sometimes for lunch I’ll do them a dippy egg and soldiers, which they really love, and you can add a fortified bread to that as an extra boost. Another option would be liver – I must admit we don’t eat liver, even though I love it, my kids won’t touch it!
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Fortified foods are your friend
Fortified foods, such as bread, cereals, some varieties of cow’s and plant-based milk, and low fat spreads are all easy swaps you can make on the weekly shop to top up the amount of Vitamin D you and your family are eating. These are really helpful, available and affordable solutions out there on supermarket shelves, such as fortified bread by the likes of Kingsmill, to help families easily get more vitamin D into mealtimes as part of a balanced, healthy lifestyle. I was really excited to hear about the fortified products, such as the Kingsmill 50/50 Vitamin Boost loaf.
Emily says family mealtimes with son Theo, four, and daughter Amelia, six, are "mad"
Don't be scared of supplements
There are supplements available too, as sometimes it can be difficult to get all of your recommended daily intake from diet alone. It's a good idea to use a combination of Vitamin D rich or fortified foods in combination with supplements. Don't worry if your kids aren’t keen on taking tablets or chews because if you make an effort to eat foods high in Vitamin D, then a diet-first approach can be enough!
Get plenty of fresh air
During the summer months, make sure your kids are spending time outside. It's a difficult balance because we are told a lot about UV rays and the damage it can do to our skin, which is absolutely true, so we need to have a balance between getting enough UV to get vitamin D, and not getting too much and getting sunburnt. It's really important to make sure your kids don’t get burnt, but also to encourage them to spend time outside so that they can get some UV light and make vitamin D in their body.
Maybe consider walking to school rather than going in the car if you live nearby; we sometimes will just decide that if it’s not raining we'll make the effort to walk to do the 15 minute walk to school in the morning, which is also great exercise. In the winter it's difficult in the UK as we don’t get much sun, so you really need to supplement your intake in other ways, with their diets or supplements.
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Emily tries to get as much vitamin D into her kids' diets as possible
Do your homework
Know how much you need! 64% percent of Brits don’t know how much Vitamin D they need, according to research by Kingsmill. It varies depending on the age of the child, but luckily it’s quite straightforward. Babies up to the age of one need 8.5-10 micrograms of Vitamin D a day, and from the age of one and upwards (right through to adulthood) need 10 micrograms a day.
As well as children, that also includes pregnant women, breastfeeding women and people who are at risk of a deficiency such as those that spend a lot of time indoors and those with darker skin as they are not able to absorb as much from the sun. I do think sometimes food labelling doesn’t make it that easy to work out how much you’re eating, and 33 percent of us check calories but not vitamins and minerals, but if you’re not sure, have a look online as there are lots of resources to help you work out roughly how much your children are getting in each meal you make them.
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Emily Andre is working with Kingsmill to help families get to know vitamin D, its importance and how to squeeze more of into mealtimes. Kingsmill 50/50 Vitamin Boost, complete with seven vitamins and minerals, is available from Sainsury’s, Tesco, Asda and Co-Op nationwide. RRP from £1.