Quantcast

10 Ways to Teach Your Child to Eat Well

If you are a parent, chances are one of your biggest concerns (or struggles or triumphs) is getting your child to eat a healthy diet. But is getting your kids to eat their vegetables enough?

Food Tank’s Danielle Nierenberg and Sarah Small point out in The Telegraph that a new study claims children of strict parents are more likely to be overweight. So which methods are most effective to encourage healthy eating in children?

Nirenberg and Small sum it up: “We need to help children learn where their food comes from, who grows it and why it’s important to share meals with friends and family.”

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Here are the 10 tips the pair provides to help families eat with greater awareness while engaging children in food and agriculture:

1. Read books about food. There are dozens of books that teach kids about where food comes from, who grows it and what sorts of foods are both healthy and delicious. To Market, To Market by Nikki McClure, for example, is a story of mother and son who go to the weekly farmers' market where they learn how each food they come across was grown or produced. Or The Good Garden by Katie Smith Milway, where a teacher at Maria’s school introduces her to sustainable farming practices that she begins to implement in her family’s garden at home.
 


2. Play games. More and more computer and video games are incorporating food, like DooF (the word ‘food’ backwards), a combination of computer games, videos and a website where kids can read and learn about food-related topics. DooF takes a comprehensive approach to food, exploring not only the food itself, but also the culture, science and history behind it. Kids can play "Planet DooF," geared toward teaching children the origin of healthy food, such as fruits and vegetables.
 


3. Encourage farm-to-school and environment-based curricula in schools. Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution (JOFR), for example, is a nonprofit organization that delivers food education to schools, youth groups, businesses and communities. JOFR teaches children about fruits and vegetables, facts on obesity and diabetes, and how to campaign for better school food. "Learn Your Fruits and Vegetables," teaches children about foods they are unfamiliar with, where they come from and how they affect the body. And in Europe and the U.S., the organization Growing Food Connections prepares the next generation of leaders in food systems planning by developing curricula on food and agriculture.
 


4. Engage kids in community gardens and farms. Green Youth Farm is a Chicago-based farm that hires high school students and encourages sustainable practices in farming, cooking and selling food. And in Todmorden, England, Incredible Edible plants gardens around town and every school in now involved in the growing process as a form of food-based learning.
 


5. Understand the importance of biodiversity. SeedMap.org is a website dedicated to seeds, biodiversity and food with an interactive map showing seed diversity around the world and a map of the origins of food.
 


6. Start a school campaign dedicated to food security issues. The World Food Programme is partnering with eBay’s Giving Works project to raise money to provide healthy school meals to kids in need. And Tesco’s Eat Happy Project tackles children’s diet-related health problems and helps the next generation have a healthier and happier relationship with food through farm to fork trails, teaching toolkits and virtual field trips.
 


7. Start a family garden. Families can begin gardening on a small scale with herbs that can grow on the windowsill. And when kids are involved in the process of planting, watering, harvesting and preparing food with the herbs they grow, they feel more connected to food.
 


8. Watch educational programs. Catherine Gund's What’s on Your Plate Project follows multiple kids and their families in their journey to learn more about the food system. Along the way, they discover the importance of being aware of what goes into food, where it comes from and who creates it.
 


9. Include kids in meal planning. Family trips to the grocery store and farmer's market will provide a learning experience outside of the home and the classroom. Creating shopping lists together will help children read and develop organizational skills. They can also learn how to categorize food and at the grocery store they’ll be able to interact with fruits and vegetables, work out how many are necessary for a meal, identify colors and touch and feel the food.
 


10. Establish family meal times. Sharing meals as a family fosters better communication skills and a stronger sense of belonging, according to a study by North Dakota State University. A University of Florida study found that eating together at mealtimes builds stronger family bonds, reduces the likelihood of obesity and increases the likelihood that each family member is getting a nutritious, balanced diet.


 Any other methods you have used to engage your children with food and agriculture?

Visit EcoWatch’s TIPS and HEALTH pages for more related news on this topic.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Pick one of these nine activism styles, and you can start making change. YES! Illustrations by Delphine Lee

By Cathy Brown

Most of us have heard about UN researchers warning that we need to make dramatic changes in the next 12 years to limit our risk of extreme heat, drought, floods and poverty caused by climate change. Report after report about a bleak climate future can leave people in despair.

Read More Show Less
Jamie Grill Photography / Getty Images

Losing weight, improving heart health and decreasing your chances for metabolic diseases like diabetes may be as simple as cutting back on a handful of Oreos or saying no to a side of fries, according to a new study published in the journal The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Golde Wallingford submitted this photo of "Pure Joy" to EcoWatch's first photo contest. Golde Wallingford

EcoWatch is pleased to announce our third photo contest!

Read More Show Less
A boy gives an impromptu speech about him not wanting to die in the next 10 years during the protest on July 15. The Scottish wing of the Extinction Rebellion environmental group of Scotland locked down Glasgow's Trongate for 12 hours in protest of climate change. Stewart Kirby / SOPA Images / LightRocket / Getty Images

It's important to remember that one person can make a difference. From teenagers to world-renowned scientists, individuals are inspiring positive shifts around the world. Maybe you won't become a hard-core activist, but this list of people below can inspire simple ways to kickstart better habits. Here are seven people advocating for a better planet.

Read More Show Less
A group of wind turbines in a field in Banffshire, Northeast Scotland. Universal Images Group / Getty Images

Scotland produced enough power from wind turbines in the first half of 2019, that it could power Scotland twice over. Put another way, it's enough energy to power all of Scotland and most of Northern England, according to the BBC — an impressive step for the United Kingdom, which pledged to be carbon neutral in 30 years.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Beekeeper Jeff Anderson works with members of his family in this photo from 2014. He once employed all of his adult children but can no longer afford to do so. CHRIS JORDAN-BLOCH / EARTHJUSTICE

By Jessica A. Knoblauch

It's been a particularly terrible summer for bees. Recently, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it is allowing the bee-killing pesticide sulfoxaflor back on the market. And just a few weeks prior, the USDA announced it is suspending data collection for its annual honeybee survey, which tracks honeybee populations across the U.S., providing critical information to farmers and scientists.

Read More Show Less

tommaso79 / iStock / Getty Images Plus

By Rachel Licker

As a new mom, I've had to think about heat safety in many new ways since pregnant women and young children are among the most vulnerable to extreme heat.

Read More Show Less
Pexels

By Kris Gunnars, BSc

It's easy to get confused about which foods are healthy and which aren't.

Read More Show Less