One of the easiest ways to set your child’s foundation for a lifetime of healthy eating is to get them involved in planning and cooking meals. They will be excited to help you prepare dinner by measuring and mixing ingredients, and they’ll be learning math and science as well as valuable health and wellness lessons at the same time!
You can even start by growing container herbs or vegetables in a garden, like the children at one of Metro United Way’s funded agency partners, the Americana Community Center. The children and families who participate at the center are able to utilize a community garden as a hands-on outdoor learning environment where they learn about healthy and sustainable living. The center also takes advantage of the produce grown in the garden for monthly cooking workshops, during which volunteers from the class demonstrate how to prepare a traditional meal from their home country.
If you have a picky eater you may have to get creative. Start by making healthy substitutions and slowly incorporating new foods into their diet. You can do this with things like sweet potato fries for french fries, dried fruits for gummy candy, or yogurt with fresh fruit instead of ice cream.
The importance of healthy eating has benefits that extend to the classroom. When students eat breakfast they are more likely to be focused and ready to learn; in fact, teachers have credited breakfast with an increase in concentration and better behavior. Success in school is the foundation for success in life, and healthy eating is a critical building block for that foundation!