Healthy eating at home
Parents and carers play a really important role in
- establishing regular eating patterns
- encouraging children to try new foods
- role modelling the enjoyment of eating healthy food
- involving children in growing and preparing food.
Parents can demonstrate healthy eating to their kids by
- taking time for a nutritious breakfast
- eating plenty of fruit and vegies each day
- packing a healthy lunch for work
- drinking plenty of water (instead of sugary drinks) at home and at work
- sitting down together for meals as much as possible
- involving kids in meal planning and grocery shopping. Think about the learning opportunities around tasting new foods and preparation tasks children can assist with
- reinforce and model the message of “sometimes foods” for treats such as fizzy drinks, lollies and chips.
Get off to a good start with breakfast
Breakfast is often called ‘the most important meal of the day’. A healthy breakfast provides essential nutrients and energy to fuel physical activity and learning. There is plenty of sound evidence to show that children who eat breakfast are more likely to do well in school.
Eat as a family sitting at the table
Did you know that when people sit down and eat at the table they are more likely to have a home cooked meal, which is usually more nutritious?
Having said that, it is not always easy to balance competing family demands . If you have suggestions of your own, we’d love you to share them with us on Facebook.
The Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden initiative has, at its core, the ritual of sharing a meal.
“Offer a child the widest possible range of food in a loving environment and that child will eat well for ever .”
You don’t need to be part of the Stephanie Alexander program to replicate this philosophy at home. If you grow some of your own fresh herbs, fruit and veggies, you’ll be surprised how great they taste.
We are all tempted to snack between meals, and most children actually need one or two snacks each day, with very active children possibly needing even more.
The key is to make healthy snacks easily accessible. You can:
- keep a bowl of fruit on the kitchen counter
- have healthy snacks in the fridge such as cut-up raw vegetables and fruits, low-fat yogurt, cheese and milk
- place whole grain crackers and cereals within easy reach, so family members can create their own healthy snacks
- make water the drink of choice rather than sugary drinks.
Teaching children to cook
Children love feeling grown-up, and involving them in the preparation of food is the first step to learning basic cooking techniques. Often, fussy eaters will eagerly eat food they have cooked themselves so, choose a recipe together and use it as a learning opportunity.
- boost children’s self confidence
- teach skills in measurement and volume
- be linked to learning about different cultures
- equip children with life skills that are essential for independent living.
When you and your family go out for a meal, be wary of the large portions served in some takeaway restaurants, and resist the temptation to upsize. Even if it sounds like a great deal, there may be bigger costs in terms of the amount of fat, sugar, salt and kilojoules you’ll consume.
For more tips
For more tips on eating out, and information about what cafes, restaurants are doing to help us make informed choices, check the Eating out section on this website.