Here are 10 fun ways to learn about nutrition:
- Shop together: While shopping with kids can sometimes be a little daunting, it can also be a fun way to learn about food. Go through the shopping list, find foods together and look at the labels. Show them how the green colours on nutrition labels means those foods are better for you. Talk about how you can understand the foods you eat by reading food labels (nhs.uk website).
- Cooking together: Teach your kids how to prepare healthy meals and snacks by doing it with them. Talk about what’s healthy and why certain foods are good for you, and why it’s important to choose the right portion sizes to avoid overeating. Let them have a sneaky try of some of the ingredients so they can get excited about trying the foods that are good for them.
- Grow a garden: Plant a vegetable garden, even if it’s just a pot rather than a large plot. Have your little one help you to maintain it and learn about how food grows and why fresh food is important. Talk about the vitamins and minerals that are in fruit and veg and why they’re good for you. Talk about fibre and how it helps keep our digestive system healthy and helps us feel full.
- Plan a healthy picnic: Even if the weather is damp, you can still picnic indoors. Invite the toys, and your little one can help you prepare some nutritious snacks to enjoy. Learn about healthy eating, how protein helps your muscles grow strong.
- Food scavenger hunt: Have a scavenger hunt where you search for healthy foods around the house or supermarket. Use the game to learn about the six main food group – fruits, vegetables, starches, protein, dairy, and fats and oils.
- Plan the week’s menu: Get your youngster to think about family meals you can have throughout the week. Learn together about balanced meals, healthy options and portion sizes. Use the Eat Well Guide to get started (nhs.uk website).
- Eat off paper plates: Learn about balanced meals by using a pen or pencil to section out paper plates and draw on the types of foods you’re going to eat. Speak about portion sizes and why it’s important not to overeat. Talk about what a protein is, what a starch is and how having some fats and oils provide energy and help our bodies absorb certain vitamins.
- Play blind taste tests: As your child learns more about the food groups, get your child to close their eyes and let them sample something. Give them some clues on what it is. “It’s a fibre”, or “it’s green”. Have a go at guessing yourself so your little one can think about what clues to give.
- Create food group characters: Assign a character to each of the food groups and use them to get your kids excited for mealtimes. Talk about Molly the Monkey who likes fruit, Lucas the Lion who loves protein, or introduce your kids’ toys for some added excitement.
- Create a nutrition reward chart: Every time your child eats something nutritious, colour in the chart. Once the chart is full then give them a non-food reward. Let them do their favourite activity, take them to their favourite park or have a dance party at home.
While you’re teaching your kids about nutrition, are you sure you know everything you need to know about the vitamins and minerals your child needs to be healthy and strong?
- Vitamins for children – nhs.uk website