Sharing some ideas on how to set healthy examples for kids, teach them about health, and get them excited about nutrition.
Hi friends! How’s the week going? We’re having the dreamiest time in Hawaii; I never want to leave.
For today’s post, I’m answering a reader’s request about teaching kids about nutrition and setting a healthy example for kids as they grow up. While I’m not an expert in this (please keep in mind that I’m NOT an RD), it’s been important to me to model healthy behaviors our babies can keep for life. In today’s post, I’m sharing some of the things that have worked for us, and as always, I love hearing your input, too!
How to teach kids about nutrition
Show, don’t tell
This is my #1 tip and I could probably just end this post here. A lot of the things the kids know about nutrition, they’ve learned from watching us and how we eat, how we plan our meals, and how we shop. I don’t have to really “tell” them anything; kids are little sponges and are always soaking up information from the world around them.
I love the fact that our kiddos are adventurous eaters who seem to enjoy food as much as we do. They’re not picky and will try anything, and while they each have a giant sweet tooth (I do, too!), they also enjoy lots of fresh produce, protein, healthy fats, and nutrient-dense starches on their plates. One of my biggest goals for nutrition for the girls was to teach them about balance, which they can only learn if I model that myself. I’ll have a giant salad, but I’ll also have a cupcake or ice cream with them, and it’s no big deal. We order Domino’s pizza (they love it) and get donuts weekly. I never want anything to be *weird* or forbidden, and they know that we focus on colorful, fresh foods from the earth + room for the soul-hugging stuff in there, too.
(Their favorite snack: smoked oysters and skinless/bonless sardines. They eat them straight-up out of the can.)
This can be hard if you’ve grown up with a tricky relationship with food, but remember that kids are always watching. Enjoy treats guilt-free and don’t talk about how food affects your physical appearance. Instead, you can say things like, “I’m going to have so much energy after this salad” or “soup always makes me feel better when I’m under the weather.” Or, you could also say nothing. I find that whatever I’m eating, the girls want to eat, too. I’ll often make my portions larger because I know at least half will be “tasted.”
Eat the rainbow
I don’t think kids *need* to know the vitamin, mineral content, or