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Let’s Talk About Food: Arming Your Children With The Tools For A Healthy Relationship With Their Diet

By Jackie Edwards:

Concerns over childhood obesity are rising, with The World Health Organization estimating the number of overweight children across the globe to be over 41 million. Children affected by obesity are likely to continue to be affected by it in adulthood, making them more likely to develop diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular illnesses. Encouraging healthy activity levels in children can help with the problem, but ensuring they are well educated about the importance of nutrition and healthy eating should also be part of the picture. Children who know what real food is and where it comes from are more likely to make healthy choices, and getting them involved with food sourcing and preparation are easy and enjoyable ways to teach them.

Knowing The Difference Between A Strawberry And A Strawberry Lace

There’s nothing wrong with candy as an occasional treat: as part of a balanced and nutritious diet, it can be included in a healthy lifestyle. It’s important for children to know the difference, however, between treats and proper nutrition. Real food comes from nature, and children should know this. If you grow your own fruits and vegetables, you’re in a great position to show them this first hand. Good diet is just one part of maintaining a healthy weight: a healthy lifestyle also comes through good mental health, exercise, and good sleep. Getting children to be actively involved in planting and harvesting produce is a great way to promote this: gardening is great exercise, and spending time in nature is associated with good mental health. Encourage children to try all the produce you grow, and talk to them about how it helps keep them healthy. Even if you don’t grow your own, taking your children shopping with you and allowing them to help choose the vegetables will give them ownership of their diet, and will still allow you to talk about where the food comes from and how it benefits their health. A simple shopping trip offers a wealth of educational conversations, ranging from health and nutrition to sustainability and the importance of buying locally sourced produce. All these conversations promote a healthy attitude to food.

Why Tony The Tiger Might Not Have Their Best Interests At Heart

A big problem with encouraging healthy eating in children is the marketing that’s aimed at them. Fun characters are often married with high sugar breakfast cereals, candies and sugary drinks, all of which contribute to the obesity problem. Encouraging a dialogue with your children about how advertising works and how food companies want to make money is a good way to awaken an awareness in children. You can talk to them about healthy and unhealthy ingredients, and look at the ingredients on packaging together: how many foods do they recognize and how many are good for them? This also provides a good opportunity to talk about packaging itself: is it recyclable? What food items could you buy instead that don’t involve plastic waste? If you have a health food store nearby, your children can accompany you to fill up jars with healthy cereals, dried fruits and grains, affording you another opportunity to talk about real food, single ingredients and the importance of sustainable packaging.

A healthy attitude to food and nutrition comes through education. Simply by talking to your children about food and encouraging them to be actively involved in making healthy choices, you can equip them to make good decisions and develop a healthy relationship with food. Combined with lots of activity and plenty of time outdoors, children, on an individual level at least, can be protected from the dangers of obesity.

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