It’s dinner time, and you’ve prepared a hearty meal filled with nutritious greens and whole grains. Your hangry child squirms at the sight of it and refuses to take a bite. As a last resort, you turn to a frozen pack of chips and nuggets, deep fry it and serve them on a platter, only to have your child thoroughly enjoy the oil and salt-laden meal.
It is a fact that good nutrition plays an important role in a child’s development and supports optimal growth. Whether picky eating or mealtimes transforming into battle zones, overcoming challenges to get children to eat proper meals is common amongst families. Gaining a full understanding of healthy eating habits can at times be a feat even for adults. But fret not! We cover the ways you can tap into various powerful opportunities to teach your child about nutrition and get them to appreciate wholesome foods.
The Importance and Benefits of Healthy Eating
Diet is one of the most crucial aspects that determines the health of a child. A balanced diet that includes fresh produce, protein, whole grains, superfoods and low-fat dairy offers multiple health benefits and ensures they have the necessary energy to grow, learn, and evolve into champions of the future. Beyond the prevention of early onset health problems, healthy eating can also improve concentration, and as a result, increase their learning potential.
In Australia, it has been reported that individuals of all ages generally have a poor diet. That is to say that instead of consuming enough from the five main food groups – vegetables, fruits, grains, lean meats and dairy products – they are eating foods that are high in sugar, fat and salt. And a whopping 99% of children aged 2 to 18 do not eat enough vegetables! To combat these findings, parents have to shoulder the responsibility of teaching their children about healthy eating so that they develop a healthy relationship with food.
Teaching Children About Healthy Eating
To set your child up with healthy eating habits for life, teaching them positive eating behaviours during early childhood is pivotal. However, this is a path that must be tread carefully, ensuring that only positive conversations are held. Emphasising balanced eating through education is more effective than linking it to other issues like weight and appearance. Even if your child refuses to eat certain foods, never stress over it but rather celebrate the small wins. Finding the delicate balance can be tough, but always keep your child’s long-term relationships with food in mind and strive on!
Children’s Activities: Healthy Eating
The very first step to teaching healthy eating to children is to model quality eating habits as best you can. For a little fun while informing them about nutrition, consider the following child-friendly activities:
1. Let’s Go Shopping!
Involve your children in menu planning and shopping. Take the opportunity to teach them about nutrient labels and let them make healthy food choices themselves. The autonomy given will encourage them to make better choices for themselves and your family.
2. Build a Rainbow
At MindChamps, like MindChamps Chatswood, for example, can revel in the fresh and nutritious creations of an onsite chef. At home, you too can create similar nourishing meals that cater to all of your child’s dietary preferences and allergies. Tap into the different colours of fruits and vegetables and build a platter that boasts different combinations of nutrients. Not only will this appeal to their senses but it also makes mealtime more exciting.
3. Bring Your Own Plate
Appetite and the appropriate portion sizes for children are always changing as they grow. Design a healthy plate that illustrates the necessary food from different groups and right amounts. This will teach them the importance of self-regulation and planning portions.
The journey of educating your child on the importance of healthy eating requires patience, constant effort and a little bit of creativity. Book a tour around one of our centres today, and learn how MindChamps inculcates healthy eating habits.