And that is why educating kids in the ways of nutrition is so important. They need reasons for why they should do things. “Just because,” is not an answer. They need to know the truth why different things are an important part of our nutrition.
We usually tell them it's because it's good for us. This is not a proper explanation even for adults. Every sensible person, including children, needs proper reasons for doing something, rather than 'just because' or 'it's good for you' - they mean nothing. So, you need to take it a step farther.
Explain good nutrition
Doing right by your children’s nutrition in the arena of food and healthy choices is not difficult. It takes the will to enact a plan and stay steadfast to its implementation. And getting them onboard can be best accomplished if they have the proper facts, and proper motivation. For example, explain why all those different nutrition-minded ingredients go into a ninja professional blender for their morning shake, which they already might like.
For instance, your daughter might want healthy hair that has a shine with no tangles. Teaching nutrition for healthy hair to her will benefit her for the entirety of her life. Or you have an athlete in the family. Giving them the right combination of foods for weight gain, or loss, and fuel to build muscle mass is paramount to their success. And for parents with intelligent children, there are foods that supercharge cognitive function, giving them a mental edge.
Maybe they want to know what they are eating and why. Healthy recipes with nutrition facts are readily available on food boxes, and on the internet. In fact, you would be hard pressed to find a recipe that did not share caloric content or specific percentages.
Teach your kids healthy nutrition
To teach kids to choose good foods and stay away from bad ones, here are a few ideas.
You kids love sugary snacks because they have had their attention grabbed by creative marketing that speaks to their desires. And these advertisers know what to say, and more importantly, what not to say. Removing the label of healthy or un-healthy when describing your food selection to a child is a good way not to dissuade them from trying it. If they know it’s good for them, that is one thing, but if you call it a “healthy alternative,” all they hear is its tasteless, void of sugar, and not at all fun to eat.
Teach, don’t force
If you show them nutrition versus telling them, that sets a good example they will follow, as you are the primary example they learn from. But if you try to force something on them, they will always resist. It is just something kids do, even to their detriment. Educate them, don’t pressure them. Knowing what something is, unless it is even weird to you, is the best path to understanding nutrition and acceptance.
Never forbid a food
The most juvenile biological imperative is the early desire to involve yourself in something, potentially hazardous, just because someone told you not to. And even adults do it. If you tell a child to avoid touching a hot stove, they naturally will do it anyway out of a notion that touching a hot stove is special, not dangerous, or foolish. The same applies to foods. If you tell your child not to eat something, that same defiant neurosis is going to rear its head. Once again, educate, and keep labels to a bare minimum.
Giving your kids the right knowledge and tools to live a healthy lifestyle is as simple as passively regulating what they put in their bodies. Nutritionists agree that some sugars, certain fats, and carbs are necessary for a child to grow properly and meet their growth percentage at each pediatric check-up. And they all can agree that letting your child dictate their diet is a terrible idea. They are your children. You set the standard for healthiness in your home. Do you have any fun and nutrition health conscious recipes or ideas that a struggling parent can use with their fussy eater?
Elizabeth is a passionate cook and freelance writer who loves to make classic dishes for her family and friends. She has worked at various reputable restaurants and hotels where she learned to make international dishes and traditional culinary. She spends her free time teaching cooking lessons in her kitchen and shares her tips via MyKitchenAdvisor.
Site last updated: 14. October 2020
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