Earlier this summer I shared some tips about how to get kids to eat vegetables. One strategy that I didn’t include, but can work, is to teach kids about nutrition.
I used to be a weekly guest in my kids’ kindergarten class, where I was invited to speak about food and nutrition. I had never talked to kids about nutrition before, so had no idea what to expect. I was quite surprised at how genuinely interested they were and also how much they absorbed from our little talks. I brought this lesson to our house and have been ‘teaching’ nutrition to my kids every since. This knowledge gives them a real feeling of empowerment when they make food choices.
When talking to kids about nutrition it isn’t about Calories or numbers on the scale - and it isn’t about good foods and bad foods. Instead, I like the focus to be on what food does for the body.
You can ask kids to identify grains and tell them how important they are (starchy carbs) for energy. Teach them the difference between processed grains that give quick energy (but then a crash) and whole grains which give steady energy.
Vegetables and fruit give energy too, but are also packed full of nutrients that help our bodies stay healthy. I like to tell kids that vegetables and fruit help our bodies fight germs.
For protein, I would say it is important to help them grow. It builds and repairs everything in the body.
Kids always leave some food on their plate, but by teaching them that they need the rice for energy, the chicken to grow, and their carrots and peas to fight germs will help them understand that they need to eat a bit of each to stay healthy.
If they still won’t touch the peas than at least ask them to finish ALL their carrots. Remembering one of my earlier tips regarding how to get vegetables into kids, give them a sense of control. They can chose five vegetables that you promise not to make them eat, but then they promise to eat all the others!
That's it for now; if you have any questions regarding teaching nutrition to your kids please send me an email!