With marketers tempting kids with the latest and greatest TV commercials and food packaging for junk food, it is becoming more and more difficult to get kids engaged in healthy eating. The good news is that despite our challenging environment there are some simple things you can do at home and with kids to help increase their interest in healthy foods. Parents and caregivers at home are the single most important influencers of healthy eating and lifelong eating habits. As a parent or caregiver if you haven’t made the greatest choices over the years, keep in mind it is never too late to learn and implement healthier choices and be the role model that you want to be.
Here are some ways to spark some interest in healthy eating at home with your family:
1. Increase exposure
Help kids cut out pictures of a variety of foods and make a collage of the food groups and help them understand why each food group is important for health. For great teaching ideas check out the resources provided by Alberta Health services for teachers and educators here: http://www.albertahealthservices.ca/2925.asp. Look for interactive games and download apps on your smartphones that are about nutrition, cooking and keeping healthy. Get out books from the library about healthy eating, the human body and healthy living. Perhaps even more important is find kids cookbooks or go to the cookbook section of the library and encourage kids to find pictures of things you could make together. Take kids to the farmers market or you-pick-farms to teach them about how food grows, name new foods and choose fresh foods to come home and cook. If you don’t know how to cook them, do an Internet search or find a you tube video of “how to cook ______” to learn along side your child. Let them whisk the scrambled eggs, stir the pancake batter, mix up the muffins and when age appropriate slice the veggies for the stir-fry.