How to get kids excited about healthy eating
Written by Nicole Hicks, Early Years Specialist
What exactly is healthy eating for children? How do we get them more excited about nourishing foods than the Fast-food Trap?
Packing a healthy lunch box gives your child the energy to play, engage and concentrate to learn. Getting the kids involved in healthy food choices is a must, taking ownership and responsibility for what goes in their lunch is a positive step towards healthy eating habits.
And remember to always check the ‘allowable food’ policy set for your school.
Some ideas to get children comfortable and knowledgeable about healthy foods are as follows:
- Let children pack their own lunch boxes
- Have only healthy options available
- Make healthy foods with kids, like easy flavoured yoghurts or fruit smoothies
- Have children assist with meal preparations and the cooking process
- Discuss the Five food groups and how they can be included in the lunch box
Getting children excited about healthy living doesn’t just stop at home. The classroom plays a big role as well. Below are some great ideas from Victoria’s Healthy Eating Advisory that can help introduce healthy eating topics to the classroom.
Excursions to places like a farm, food market, supermarket, bakery or butcher are fun and educational. Major supermarkets are offering these experiences to classes regularly, in most capital cities.
Having a theme day
Offer different kinds of healthy foods to try on a special theme day. For example, ‘apple day’ offer all different kinds such as green apples, red apples, dried apples, pureed apples and canned apples.
Planting herbs or vegetables (outside or in pot plants inside)
Create a veggie patch and encourage children to water and care for the plants. Use the exercise as an opportunity to discuss where food comes from and how it grows. Some easy to grow, edible produce includes tomatoes, peas, beans, snow peas and herbs
Learning about food in different cultures
Celebrating different cultures and festivals with food is delicious and fun for children. You could make vegetable and lean meat dumplings for Chinese New Year, eat wholemeal pancakes on Shrove Tuesday, make Irish soda bread to eat on St Patrick’s Day or decorate hard-boiled eggs with food dye for Easter. On Harmony Day, you could celebrate all world cuisines and ask children to research a dish from a variety of different countries.
With these great ideas to share with families and to implement in your classroom, I am sure you can get children thinking about healthy choices and excited about healthy foods while remembering that life is all about balance.