With processed foods becoming increasingly prominent in today’s diets, it’s more essential now than ever before to educate our children on where the healthy stuff is hiding. Approximately one third of Australian children never enter the kitchen to help with food preparation, so it’s no surprise that our kids aren’t getting the right idea of the foods they should be eating more of. To help, we have a few of our top tips that will aid in raising healthy eaters.
Children learn by example
Exposure to food preparation and cooking is essential to give young Australians an understanding of what nutrition is and the importance of fruit and vegetables. Building confidence in using these foods encourages healthier eating habits and allows for increased learning opportunities. In keeping nutritious meals simple, children will learn by example what is necessary for healthy living. It is never as simple as just saying, “eat your greens because it is good for you”. Kids need to feel interested and excited, so your lead in eating and preparing healthy food is vital.
Explain the importance of each vegetable as it is included in food preparation
Using a hands-on approach is very effective in encouraging children to eat their fruits and veggies. If your child is involved in the planning and cooking of family meals, they are more likely to want to eat the vegetables in the meal they’ve helped to prepare. This is also applicable outside the kitchen, as you can let your child choose vegetables to be included in dinner when visiting the market. By letting children wash, arrange and place ingredients as you cook, they learn to become invested in mealtime and, consequently learn important lessons about the significance of fruits and veggies and the nutritional value they hold.
Create a healthy environment
Crafting a healthy home environment is an ideal way to address the food habits of your children. Always keeping a bowl of fresh fruit handy on the counter and having unhealthy snacks out of view can make all the difference in creating healthy habits. Children’s growing bodies need plenty of vitamins, minerals and nutrients, so foods that encourage this need to be readily accessible and in sight. In doing so, less healthy food must be made more unavailable. It is necessary to make the right food available and leave it up to them whether they eat it or not, with as little force possible.
Getting our kids to eat more fruits and vegetables is never an easy task, however, by laying a solid foundation and embracing these tips, you can prevent picky eating and raise healthy kids. Following these tips, along with that of Queensland’s A Better Choice program, can allow for the creation of healthier food and easier choices. Happy cooking!
To get started, here are three places you can find more helpful meal tips: