Whether or not your child is a picky eater, as a parent you want to make sure they get all the nutrients they need for healthy development. Yet, it can be difficult to encourage your children to eat the nutritious food you want them to eat. Here are some ways you can help to teach your young child about nutrition, and why it’s important.
Read books together about healthy eating
Children’s books can help explain nutrition in a way they’ll understand and find engaging. Read together and discuss the concepts discussed in the books. Some books include Good Enough to Eat: A Kid’s Guide to Food and Nutrition and Oh, The Things You Can Do That Are Good for You: All About Staying Healthy.
Cook and shop together
When a child has control and ownership over what they’re eating, they’re more likely to be receptive to trying new and nutritious food. You can try cooking together from a cookbook like Kids’ Fun and Healthy Cookbook, or try one of these easy recipes to make with your child. Also, getting your child involved in the weekly grocery shop will help them to understand where their food comes from, and appreciate all that goes into nutrition.
Talk about food in an age-appropriate way
As adults, we’re familiar with micronutrients and macronutrients, but these concepts are likely to confuse a child. Instead, discuss how nutritious food gives them energy to play and helps their bodies grow strong. Avoid labeling foods as “good” or “bad,” so children can learn for themselves which foods are healthier than others. According to Psychology Today, “it is important to explain why some foods can help them grow strong and other foods are just fun “sometimes” foods.”
Focus on a healthy lifestyle rather than weight
Even though many adults are concerned with their weight, children may not understand it in the same way we do, and they can develop a negative view of food and exercise. Instead, frame food and nutrition as a fun and interesting part of daily life, rather than a necessity. This will help keep your child interested and encouraged to learn more, while developing healthy habits that will last them a lifetime.
These are just a few tips for teaching your young child about nutrition. Enjoy the process and have fun with it, and your child will too.