Helping Your Children Discover the Joys of Eating Healthy Foods
Understanding that by a healthy foods diet you can provide your children with good nutrition that will benefit their health is one thing. Getting them to eat and enjoy those foods is another. Here are some tips to help you inspire your children to eat healthy foods.
Educate your children about the world’s healthiest foods!
Teach your children why certain foods are good for them. We can probably all remember our parents telling us that eating healthy would help us to grow up big and strong, yet many did not tell us of the benefits we would experience while still being a child. And we know a great deal more about these benefits today. Since kids are very “now-focused,” explaining how eating healthy foods will help them feel good, look great, give them the kind of long-lasting energy that will make them stars in their school’s sports program, and help them to learn and think clearly, so they can excell in the classroom as well, will motivate them. Depending upon their age, explain to them the specific benefits they will notice and appreciate. For example, you could tell them how foods that contain fiber and complex carbohydrates will give them more energy for playing longer than those made from refined carbohydrates and sugars, which, like firecrackers, quickly fizzle out after a brief burst of energy. Tell them how a complete spectrum of vitamins and minerals will increase their concentration and ability to learn and do well in their schoolwork. Talk to them about how omega-3 fatty acids not only support brain development, but are essential for beautiful clear skin, and shiny hair, and also help prevent or reduce itchy eyes, runny noses, and other allergic reactions.
Introduce a New Fruit, Vegetable or Grain Every Week
Most young children are fascinated by new things, and the colors, shapes, textures and tastes of different foods are no exception. And since foods have a rich history of tradition and heritage that kids can enjoy, learning about and eating new foods can be a lot of fun — and it’s easy to do. Just use our Foods/Spices Database for anecdotes about the food to share with your children.
Make Grocery-Shopping Fun for Your Little Ones
Take your kids with you to the market and make it an educational and participative experience for them. Explore the colorful produce department together. If you purchase food items from bulk bins, let your children help you scoop them into the bags. If they are old enough to read, play the “food label game” with them by having them read the labels, trying to determine by looking at the ingredients which foods are the most healthy.
Visit a Local Farm, Explore a Farmer’s Market, or Talk to Your Greengrocer
Nature, living things and the process of how things work captivate children. By seeing where food comes from, how it is grown, and meeting the people, such as local farmers who grow the food or the produce manager at your local grocery who knows the farms in your area, your children will develop a real appreciation and more intimate relationship with the food they eat.
Involve Your Children With Growing Foods Themselves
Children love to be productive and creative, and accomplish something on their own. You can help them create thier own mini-“farm” right at home by simply growing a pot or two of herbs or sprouting some seeds or grains. Once your child has experienced the miracle of a tender green shoot emerging from the soil you have watered together, he or she will understand through personal experience that food is a miraculous gift.
Let Your Children “Help” You Cook
All children can participate in cooking (even toddlers can “help” with your assistance). Design their involvement depending upon their age. Small children can help measure and mix ingredients. Older children can cut and cook food and choose new recipes to try. Involving your children in the cooking process will award them with a sense of achievement, pride in eating what they helped to prepare, and cooking skills that they can rely on as adults. Make your kitchen the heart of your home, a warm and friendly place where healthy food prepared with love makes memories that will nourish your children throughout their lives.Remember, the more colorful the meal, the greater the range of phytonutrients it contains, so let your children be creative with the colorful vegetables and fruits and help to choose a vivid palette for your meals.
Buy or Make Special Decorative Containers for School Meals and Snacks
Packing the foods your children take to school in bright and decorative containers can help them feel special and loved. Let them select containers they like at the store or decorate any of the new, inexpensive reusable containers with favorite stickers. A healthy meal is a present for your child’s body; a gift wrapping adds to the fun.
A healthy foods diet can confer wonderful benefits to your children. They will be happier, healthier, even more beautiful, and filled with energy and good spirits. With simple games and educational activities, you can have fun sharing with your children the delights of foods that taste good and are good for them.