How to teach kids about healthy foods

by Olga

Thank you for your question, Hannah. At the times when marketers spend millions on advertisement of the bad foods, aiming at the attention of the young vulnerable souls, how do we, parents, counteract their efforts and teach our kids to resist and make healthy food choices?

At what age should we be teaching kids to eat a healthy diet? I believe we should start from the very beginning of their lives, when the taste is formed. If we don't introduce high-fat and high-sugar options to them, they won't learn about them until later, and they will get used to the taste of healthy food, and choose healthy food.
What can we do to encourage kids to eat healthy?
#1. Do not take shortcuts
This is the hardest one, since we all are so busy. It may be easy to feed your kids at MacDonalds, but once you do, the taste of fats and sugars combined in that happy meal get stuck in your kids memory, and they start demanding more. Don't go there! Don't buy them high fat ice-cream as a reward, make your own mango ice-cream or suggest fruit desserts to them. Making food a reward is a bad habit anyway!
#2. Lead By example
How many parents binge on junk food in front of their kids, just to tell them to eat healthy when time comes to eat their broccoli? Parents are role models and are always on the radar of their young ones.
#3. Cook, and get them to cook with you. Ask them to feed the family with the dessert and praise their effort.
#4. Keep only healthy food at the house. When kids want to snack, they will have only healthy choices. Get healthy snacks kids would love and give them as much as they want!
#5. Bring them to the farm to see where the food grows, and tell them fascinating stories about real foods. Don't let your kids get sick with NDD - nature deficit disorder.
#6. Persuasion: tell them stories
I love telling them my own stories that explain in plain language how the body works and what foods are good for them. This is my story that made the most fussy kids eat:
..Once upon a time there was a little girl , and inside her stomach lived good little bacteria. They were friendly and nice and she fed them with broccoli and porridge, berries and carrots. Once the army of bad big microbes landed in the stomach on their parachutes. They started beating little good bacteria, and digging holes in little girl's stomach . "Help,help!" cried the good bacteria and the girl heard them. "Kaboom!" - landed a porridge bomb, and small berry-bombs followed. "Help!" screamed the microbe-commander," These bad bombs are killing me! I need ice-cream to get stronger!" But the little girl did not want to help - she kept throwing until all good bacteria became strong, an all bad microbes were gone. Happy end, empty plate.

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