The National Center for Health Statistics tell us that childhood obesity has doubled in the past 10 years. They also tell us that the obesity is related to poor eating habits, lack of knowledge about how to make healthy food choices, lack of adult role models who lead an active healthy lifestyle including good eating habits, and a lack of physical activity.
It is important to introduce wholesome organic foods to children before the introduction of fat, salt and sugar laden foods. After a diet of clean, wholesome and nutritious foods, children will not miss the junk foods. Use these tips to keep kids interested in healthier foods:
- introduce healthier foods gradually
- offer a new food in a variety of different ways
- serve foods family style so children can choose what they want
- give children adequate time to eat
- let kids set the table
- provide cooking activities for children
- introduce healthier versions of the foods your kids already like
- slowly start adding carrot juice to apple juice until you’re kids are drinking all carrot juice
- role model healthier eating habits and children are more likely to follow
- incorporate nutrition education into your family meal time
Family involvement is essential for reinforcing positive nutritional habits. Traditions are influenced by cultural and ethical customs and by including diverse foods and customs from other cultures into your diet can be interesting and fun for kids.
A focused nutrition education for children can enrich lives in a surprising number of ways, including;
- providing a strong impact of future eating habits
- providing a window to new cultures
- teaching children to be more selective about food choices and helps to counter misinformation from tv
- improves self-esteem and autonomy
- promotes vocabulary development
- promotes sensory learning, and
- promotes early science skills.
Cooking together with children can have positive impacts on how they develop and how their future eating habits develop. By cooking together with kids and teaching them about food we are encouraging physical, social, and development. In addition, we are teaching children about self confidence and self expression.
Children can knead dough, stir, roll, peel, cut, squeeze and put together different foods. By doing this, they will experience the sense of taste, texture, color and form.
By cooking together, children will learn to take turns, clean up and share foods they have prepared.
Meal prep is a great time for children to learn various math skills such as counting, measuring and classifying. They will also learn science concepts such as observing (watching the cake bake), and predicting properties such as hot and cold. Language skills are also learned while cooking. Children recall, describe and follow directions while using new vocabulary such as stir, bake, pour and blend.
Little things make a big difference. Let children plan and prepare simple, nutritious snacks. By allowing them to make the choice of what cheese and cracker they want you’re helping them feel important and competent.
Bake various types of bread and cut them into slices. Provide children with cookie cutters and allow them to make sandwiches with the breads, seeing which ones they like best.
Now, with all that that said, what are some yummy options for kids that are wholesome and will satisfy even the pickiest of eaters? Click the links below for some of my all time kid-approved recipes and meal plans.