Educating and encouraging kids to eat healthy and nutritious food early in childhood helps them develop healthy eating habits and make the right food choices. Trying to explain nutrition to children with science-based concepts and details entirely, makes it difficult and non-interesting for them to listen and understand. Instead, try these simple and kid-friendly methods listed here, along with examples of situations and scenarios which help them understand the importance of nutrition and healthy eating.
What is healthy eating?
Children, as well as adults, need a balanced diet comprising of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and protein sources. The snacks that are eaten in between meals are meant to give us energy and should not be poor in nutrition. Nutrient-rich food is vital for normal growth and development, as well as the normal functioning of our body.
Though nutrition is important at every age, child nutrition is given greater priority because childhood is the time for rapid growth, development, and activity. eating habits are formed in the first few years of life and it is difficult to change these food choices and habits later in life.
Ideas to explain healthy eating to children
- Keep things simple and use the language that they understand easily.
- Plan play-based food activities which is an engaging way to help kids explore and learn about food.
- Involve them in food shopping and expose them to a variety of healthy foods.
- Eat together as a family for at least one mealtime and be a role model by providing and choosing healthy food options.
- Explain in positive words, using videos or pictures about how the food that we eat works in our body.
- Allow them to have a hand in making the food with some simple tasks such as tossing a salad. This will help them know how the dishes and meals come together. This will also help you in teaching them to make simple healthy meals and enjoy homemade food as they grow.
- Explain and focus on the beneficial aspects of eating healthy food, rather than the negative aspects of the foods that are poor in nutrients.
- Avoid rigid rules and practices about healthy eating that could have a negative impact on children.
- Show them foods that are high and low in nutrients and tell them which of them should be eaten regularly and which are to be eaten ‘sometimes’.
- Instead of labeling certain foods as ‘bad’, tell them that there are foods that are low in nutrients and are not to be eaten regularly.
Educating children about healthy eating helps them apply this knowledge and develop healthy eating habits as they grow into adults and throughout their life. Healthy food contributes to the good health and normal functioning of our body and mind. Talking to children about healthy food and its goodness is useful to establish the foundation for their nutritional knowledge and eating habits for which they will be grateful to you later in life.