Teaching Your Child the Facts about Healthy Eating

Healthy eating begins at home! After doing two presentations this week with children ages 6 to 12 years, I realized that although there are many children that are well educated about nutrition, healthy eating and healthy food choices, there are others that are not aware of the importance of healthy eating and what foods are considered to be “healthy.” As parents, guardians, teachers and people children look up to, “role models,” we have the duty to teach them to make the right choices, even when it comes to food.

We all know that children are a product of their environment and tend to do as they see and not always what they are told. For that reason, it’s important that as role models we not only teach children how to make the right choices, we also need to show them. When it comes to eating healthy and making healthy food choices, telling a child to do something will not work if you, as their role model, are doing differently. To teach children the importance of good nutrition, you should also talk to them about the benefits of eating healthy and the consequences of not. To practice healthy eating habits at home and teaching your child the same, here are some important steps to consider:

  • Eat as a family
  • Put the same foods on your plate that you want your children to have on theirs
  • Only offer your child regular meals and snacks
  • Offer a variety of foods at each meal; choose foods from all 4 food groups
  • If your child claims not to like what is being served don’t cook them an alternative; they will eventually eat it
  • Reintroduce new foods often; they will learn to like them
  • Involve children in grocery shopping and planning their lunches
  • Most importantly, promote a healthy attitude towards eating and exercise

Janel Genge is a registered dietitian with Kids Eat Smart Foundation Newfoundland and Labrador

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