Ed­u­cat­ing kids about nu­tri­tion

Franklin County News - - PROPERTY FEATURE -

Q: I was a very over­weight child and I am de­ter­mined to ed­u­cate my kids about good nu­tri­tion from a young age. What are your top tips to help get my chil­dren in­ter­ested in food and good nu­tri­tion? Thanks, Ali

A: Good on you for want­ing to start this process early, as the foun­da­tions you set up in child­hood can have a huge im­pact on how your chil­dren per­ceive good health and nu­tri­tion.

Here are a few ideas to help keep your kids in­ter­ested in view­ing food as nour­ish­ment.

EAT TO­GETHER AS A FAM­ILY AT THE DIN­NER TA­BLE

Eat­ing at the din­ner ta­ble, rather than in front of the TV plays a vi­tal role in set­ting up good habits. In­stead of mind­lessly eat­ing, sit­ting to­gether at the ta­ble fa­cil­i­tates more aware­ness of what you are put­ting into your mouth, whilst re­in­forc­ing that eat­ing is some­thing you do to nour­ish your­self, not a side ac­tiv­ity to TV watch­ing.

Us­ing pos­i­tive re­in­force­ment for help­ing with the cook­ing or for eat­ing veges also in­stils good habits that will en­cour­age life­long good nu­tri­tion.

LET THEM CHOOSE A RECIPE THEY WANT TO MAKE

Ev­ery­one likes hav­ing the chance to take charge in the kitchen. The re­spon­si­bil­ity and cre­ativ­ity that comes with choos­ing a recipe helps chil­dren feel like they are mak­ing some­thing of their own.

Choos­ing their own recipe helps cre­ate in­de­pen­dence that will carry on into their adult life, lead­ing to bet­ter food choices and a love for cook­ing good, nu­tri­tious meals.

EN­COUR­AGE KIDS TO HELP PRE­PARE AND TASTE FOOD

Giv­ing your child a chance to demon­strate how re­spon­si­ble they are helps with self­con­fi­dence and trust. Chop­ping veges, peel­ing veg­eta­bles or stir­ring the pot are all ways to let kids help in the kitchen.

Tast­ing each in­gre­di­ent also sets the foun­da­tion for a wide palate and ex­per­i­men­ta­tion with food. Be­ing able to say ‘‘I helped make that’’ when the meal is on the ta­ble is in­valu­able for cre­at­ing pride in their cook­ing skills.

MAKE VEG­ETA­BLES AND SAL­ADS A NOR­MAL PART OF EV­ERY MEAL TIME

Veges and sal­ads don’t have to be bor­ing. Try new recipes with veges or dress­ings to make them taste good. By mak­ing veges the norm in your house­hold, you will see that kids will carry this through later in life as a re­sult of the fam­ily’s good habits now.

TAKE A COOK­ING CLASS TO­GETHER

There’s noth­ing more ex­cit­ing than learn­ing how to make a new meal with your loved ones un­der the guid­ance of a good cook. The sense of sat­is­fac­tion and pride when you cre­ate some­thing new is a joy. Bet­ter still opt for a cui­sine you’re not very fa­mil­iar with to en­hance the learn­ing and the fun.

Dr Libby is a nu­tri­tional bio­chemist, best-sell­ing author and speaker. The ad­vice con­tained in this col­umn is not in­tended to be a sub­sti­tute for di­rect, per­son­alised ad­vice from a health pro­fes­sional. Visit dr­libby.com.

123RF

Eat­ing at the din­ner ta­ble, rather than in front of the TV plays a vi­tal role in set­ting up good habits.

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