Three Ways To Make The Concept Of “Healthy Eating” Fun
The earlier healthy eating begins, the easier it is to sustain throughout our lives. Most parents however, have experienced the sour looks and tantrums that can come from kids who don’t want to eat everything on their plates – let alone learn about it. While there are a lot of different tips to help get kids to eat (and we’ve already covered some of them), many of them skim over why healthy eating is so important. Research has consistently shown that an understanding of healthy eating is as important as actually eating well, and can help people make healthier food choices at any age. Plus, learning about healthy eating is not restricted to the dinner table – you can explore healthy food choices with kids at any time of the day without even eating. Just as with any other topic your kids may learn about at home or in school, healthy eating can be taught in a wide range of ways. So here we take a look at three times healthy eating can be explored with kids in fun and interesting ways.
1. Making Healthy Food Choices At The Supermarket
Healthy eating begins with healthy food choices. This makes the supermarket a great place to start learning more about choosing nutritious foods. As the Nutrition Australia website explains: “Children who are more actively involved in food choices are more likely to be interested in the food they eat.” The organisation suggests taking kids with you when you go shopping and letting them put fruits and vegetables in the trolley. Other ways to make shopping for healthy foods both fun and fast could include:
- Getting kids to help you write a shopping list before you leave home,
- Add interest to the shopping trip by talking about the different foods,
- Encouraging kids to pick out their favourite foods; and
- Explaining how a few ingredients can go together to make one of their favourite meals.
The government’s Eat For Health website also has a wide range of recommendations on different foods to buy, as well as tips on how to plan your shopping trip so that you save time and money when making nutritious food choices.
2. Healthy Eating At Snack Time
Snacks are usually an important part of the day, giving kids the energy and nutrition they need between main meals. Healthy snacks can include fruits and vegetables, as well as dairy, nuts and wholegrain options (depending on your family’s specific dietary needs). The key is to make healthy snacking easier for you and your kids by planning ahead and preparing a range of different snack options. This could include chopping up fruits and vegetables, portioning out nuts into little containers, and baking or buying healthier biscuits or snack bars so that individual portions are always easy to get when you need them. The NSW Healthy Kids Website also recommends setting limits on the number of sugary and processed snacks kids have during the week, and offering several different snack options so that kids can have a choice (and learn to make healthier choices at the same time).
3. Making Mealtimes Healthy and Fun
Main meals can be an opportunity for everyone to sit down and enjoy healthy food. Some of the ways you can make main meals more fun for everyone include:
- Making the cooking process a family activity (kids could chop up, stir or serve food; set the table and so on)
- Talking about some of the family’s favourite ingredients that are in a particular dish,
- Describing foods in fun ways (broccoli, for example, could become “little trees”); and
- Being creative with the way food is served, such as making shapes with it or using some of the Education on a Plate range of plates.
Encouraging everyone to be involved in mealtime preparation means that the whole family can develop a greater awareness and appreciation of healthy food choices. So whether you want to take kids shopping, share healthy snacks with them or get them involved in making meals, there is a variety of activities you can include that will help make it fun to learn more about healthy eating. Have you got any other tips to make healthy eating more fun for the family? What are some of the things you think it’s important to learn about healthy eating from an early age?