If you want to give your kids an invaluable skill that will serve them well throughout their life, teach them how to prepare food. Get them interested from an early age in food and how to prepare it. Children are like little sponges, so how you introduce them to food preparation will impact them for a very long time.
Health is something that will always be an important part their entire lives (whether they like it or know it or not), so starting them young with the principles of healthy eating is important. Children generally tend to eat what their parents eat, and if you are ordering fresh food from places like Foodtown, you’re making a good start in their health education.
It can sometimes feel like a losing battle when getting the kids to eat things that aren’t covered in breadcrumbs. However, if you start early enough, you can get through any hurdle and give your children a healthier start. Their activity levels also impact their appetites and their food intake. Sedentary activities like computer games and TV time won’t help your goal for a healthy life. So, how do you get the kids interested in a healthier menu at home?
Cook together with the Kids
One of the best things you can do for food education at home, is to touch, taste and smell everything together. Talk about every fresh vegetable you buy and where it comes from. Talk about where meat cuts come from and educate the kids about hygiene in between handling. If children see new vegetables, they turn their noses up at it. It’s normal – even adults turn their noses up at things they don’t know about. Getting children to touch and get involved with chopping and peeling food can really get them involved in different ingredients.
Bring the Kids Shopping
Some parents hate bringing the children to the grocery store – it can be particularly stressful when they are young. However, if you take the time to create picture shopping lists and have them help you choose the items, you can get the children excited about food. It’s one of the best ways to get children familiar with different types of foods and recognizing when something is ripe or healthy.
Plan Your Meals with the Kids
Allowing children to have an element of control over what they eat can really help them to make good food decisions. Mock up charts on the kitchen walls that show that each meal must have two vegetables, a starch, and a meat and they can then choose from a list of what to have. Get them excited about cooking their choices with you. Being involved in the meal from start to finish will help them to get excited about eating it.
Family dinners are important for your children, so you need to encourage sitting down together and eating as a unit. Encourage eating at the table with the right cutlery instead of on the couch eating with a tray on your lap. Food education is about how it’s eaten as well as what goes into the meal itself. If you’re encouraging good table manners, your children will be more inclined to eat better.
Take Charge of Your Health!
Changing your eating habits can be tough. But it doesn’t have to be if you take a little time to think it out and create a plan.
This Healthy Eating Worksheet will walk you through the process of creating a healthy eating plan. All you need to do is print it out, set aside some time to complete it, and then fill it out. Then you can create your plan, knowing that you have addressed potential obstacles and came up with some creative ways to handle them.