Food is a vital aspect of well-being, and, as parents, we have a responsibility to try and foster a healthy relationship between our children and food. But any parent knows this isn’t always straightforward, particularly between the ages of two and five when children’s appetites naturally fade.
Sometimes it’s hard enough to get a child to even sit down for a meal, never mind attempting to introduce them to new, healthy foods. Although it is difficult for your child’s well-being, you must persist.
As such, here are a couple tips you can use to try and make dinner time easier for you and your child:
It is best to engage your child with education at every opportunity. When it comes to food, this is no different.
Teaching children about things like the importance of the different food groups, the role of vitamins and how food fuels their bodies could spark their curiosities and encourage them to make healthier choices.
Involve your children in their dietary choices by:
- Taking them grocery shopping: Try to make a game out of shopping and go out of your way to explain where different foods are sourced from, lessons like these create stories behind foods which your child can involve themselves within.
- Cooking with kids: This one will help your child both in the present and the future. By cooking with children, you both teach them how to prepare food and give them a little anticipation to eat, the healthy, final result.
- Fun activities: Try to present meals in a fun way, whether it be through colours or shapes. Encourage your child to eat by injecting a ltitle life into their plate.
Educating your child on food is time-consuming and will take patience, but, by doing so, you instil proactivity and good habits which they can carry into adulthood.
The school environment plays a pivotal role in almost every part of your child’s early life. Because of this, the contents of their packed lunch are not only essential for sustaining energy and focus, they are also influential in changing how your child approaches food.
Therefore, ditching the processed snacks in favour of a well-balanced meal is an excellent idea. Whether it be through fruit and veg, a chicken salad kit or whole wheat bread, try to make sure your child eats well when they’re at school.
Including a small treat occasionally as a reward or a pick-me-up is perfectly fine, and doing so in moderation will make your child savor and appreciate the goodies they are given.
From encouraging your child to eat healthily or even just sit down at the dinner table, guiding children towards a positive relationship with food is difficult, to say the least. However, in an era where processed and unhealthy food options are prevalent, it’s our responsibility to do so.
Remember, the goal is not only to ensure their physical health but also to instill a deep appreciation for the nourishment that food provides to both the body and the mind.