Let’s face it, there are so many opinions about eating habits and the nutrition required for kids to grow up strong and healthy. Some families have time to prepare homemade meals every day, while others need quick bites to eat on the go! No matter your family’s situation, it’s important for children to learn to view food as nourishment.
Nourishment is the food necessary for the growth and development of our bodies and minds.
When we nourish our bodies, we feel healthy, loved, and energized. We often turn to food and mealtimes for comfort and connection, which is why it’s helpful for kids to understand how different foods help our bodies.
Encouraging Positive Relationships with Food
- Cook and enjoy meals together – This will show children the pleasure in the process of making food. Plus, so many of our best memories are tie to food and cooking. When you make meals together, you will start new traditions that your children will cherish for years to come!
- Avoid labeling food as “good” or “bad” – Categorizing certain foods as good or bad puts a lot of pressure on the consumer. This can make children feel guilty if (and when) they consume something deemed “bad.” Instead, teach children that it’s all about moderation.
- Abstain from using food as a punishment or reward – Avoid punishments like sending children to their rooms without dinner. This teaches children that food isn’t a reliable source in their homes. Although it’s okay to reward kids with a sweet every now and then, desserts don’t always need to be earned.
- Build healthy habits around food and mealtimes – Teach kids about the different superpowers of each food group so they understand why it’s important to eat balanced meals. Build positive routines around eating, like going for a walk after dinner or grocery shopping together and picking out lots of colorful foods!
Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and veggies give us the necessary fiber, vitamins, and minerals. They support our metabolism, digestion, and our immune system.
- Snack time can include sliced apples, bananas, carrots, and sweet potatoes… yum!
Carbohydrates give us energy and help us feel satisfied. They even send important messages to the brain that help regulate our mood and sleep cycle!
- Lunch and dinner can include whole grains like pasta or quinoa.
Protein comes from animals and plants. We need protein to help build muscles to grow strong!
- Cheese, peanut butter, legumes, eggs, poultry, and meats are great ways to add these amino acids to your daily menu.
Fats and Oils
Yep, that’s right! Our bodies need some fat to be healthy and strong. Fats like salmon, avocado, and olive oil support our nervous system and our skin.
- Slice up an avocado to be eaten on its own, or smash it onto a piece of whole-grain toast!
There’s no such thing as bad foods! It’s okay to enjoy sweet treats in moderation when you’re also getting all of the other necessary nutrients. When kids learn to love all the different food groups, they can appreciate the moments for healthy bites along with the opportunities to enjoy something sweet.
More about Lingokids
Make learning about nutrition fun! There are so many fun games, songs, and activities that encourage positive relationships with food on the Lingokids app. Download the app to find out! Plus, check out more content on our YouTube channels.
How does your family encourage healthy relationships with food? Let us know by tagging us on social media.