It doesn’t take a degree to know what to feed our children to help them grow and develop to their maximum potential. Most parents would like their child to eat healthy and know how to prepare nutritious foods for their children. However, the challenge is doing this day in day out and making healthy food enjoyable and accepted by the whole family.
Healthy eating is not a task that needs to be accomplished by a certain time, but it is a habit that must be developed over time. Like any habit, establishing healthy eating habits in our children requires discipline, persistence and most importantly, example.
I once spoke to a friend and she told me how her daughter was a really good eater and didn’t have problems eating vegetables. My friend would prepare broccoli for her daughter to eat but she and her husband don’t eat it because they don’t like vegetables much. I hope with all my heart that the child will continue the good habits despite the different example that her parents were giving.
Showing a positive parental role model is not just a good idea, it is a must in helping our children to enjoy healthy food. There is a strong body of evidence showing that parental role modeling is associated with healthy behaviours in children, including higher vegetable intake and greater physical activity. (1)
Interestingly, research also showed that is not just mothers who influence the children’s diet, but fathers may have a stronger influence on what the children eat. (2)
In the same way that positive role modeling produce healthy behaviours, negative role modeling also leads to unhealthy behaviours. Telling children one thing but showing another sends a confusing message and we all know that children are very clever in picking up on inconsistencies.
I know that most of us are stressed and time poor, but eating well in the family should be a priority for the sake of the children’s’ health.
Healthy family meals take planning but it doesn’t have to be laborious. Most nutritious meals can be prepared within 30 minutes.
Of course there will be occasions where family meal is KFC or fish and chips, but as long as this is the exception rather than the norms then it is fine.
Mums and dads, start by improving your own food beliefs and eating habits. Prepare meals and eat together with love and gratitude and you’ll be surprised at how this simple act will improve your family’s health, mental health and relationships. (3)
Konsita showed a team of Mini Master Chefs how to make raw, nut and gluten free Bliss Balls at GLOW's Healthy Mind Healthy Body event at Berwicks VIP Festival on Oct 7
1. Campbell, K., & Crawford, D. (2001). Family food environments as determinants of preschool aged children's eating behaviours: implications for obesity prevention policy. A review. Australian Journal of Nutrition and Dietetics , 58 (1), 19-25.
2. Fraser, J., Skouteris, H., McCabe, M., Ricciardeli, L. A., Milgrom, J., & Baur, L. A. (2011). Paternal influences on children's weight gain: a systematic review. Fathering , 252-267.
3. Schoeppe, S., & Trost, S. G. (2015). Maternal and paternal support for physical activity and healthy eating in preschool children: a cross sectional study. BMC Public Health , 15 (971).