It’s no secret that every one of us needs to meet the required intake of vitamins, nutrients, and calories to enjoy all the benefits that come with living a healthy and balanced life. This is an especially important factor to remember for children. In the earlier years of our lives, our mind and body are developing, which is why it’s the perfect time to introduce positive habits.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “In the United States, the percentage of children and adolescents affected by obesity has more than tripled since the 1970s. Data from 2015–2016 show that nearly 1 in 5 school age children and young people (6 to 19 years) in the United States has obesity” (2019).
This statistic reflects the current obesity epidemic that a large percentage of the world’s youth is experiencing. However, it’s not all doom and gloom. Living a healthy and happy life can be achieved by altering your lifestyle with a few simple steps. Eating nutritious, wholesome, and fresh food is one of the easiest ways to achieve both physical and mental health.
As mentioned, the most important time for us to create healthy foundations is during our youth. This is a time to establish positive behaviors and healthy eating habits. By doing so, we enable our children to have the best possible start to their lives.
That’s why we’ve created this article. In recognizing how the obesity crisis affects so many young people’s lives, we have a few fun and simple ways to introduce healthy eating to your children. After all, health is freedom, and we believe all children deserve to experience the joys of a healthy life, full of freedom.
- Participation Is Key
Interaction is key here. By getting children involved in the preparation and process of cooking healthy food, you’re far more likely to see children stick to their healthy eating habits. For example, rather than offering chips and chocolate as an afternoon snack, why not get kids involved by peeling a carrot and chopping them into long pieces? The same can be done with a cucumber, and both vegetable sticks perfectly pair with hummus. Of course, how much a child can be involved in the cooking depends on their age and skill level, but what is most important to remember here is to activate the senses. Something as simple as peeling a banana is a great start for younger children.
- Keep Things Colorful
Vegetables and fruit are full of beautiful colors. By creating colorful and healthy dishes, children can see that healthy eating is not only good for you but can also be a fun and enjoyable activity. Get creative with your dishes, and focus on having fun. For example, watermelon can be blended with a dash of water to create a refreshing, colorful, and healthy drink.
- Education Leads to Empowerment
If we do not understand the reason behind why we do something, such as eating healthily, it is unlikely we will stick to that behavior. This is especially true for children. That’s why helping kids to understand the benefits behind nutritious, wholesome foods is fundamental. This can be achieved in a variety of ways. For example, displaying fruits on colorful cards and teaching kids about why they’re good for our bodies is a fun, simple, and educational activity. This will also help in encouraging and ultimately developing children’s positive attitudes toward nutrition.
- Listen to Jamie Oliver
When it comes to healthy eating for children, Jamie Oliver is an absolute master. Having placed extensive time and effort on the importance of educating our children about what good food is and its benefits, it’s no surprise that there is much to learn from Jamie Oliver. This YouTube video clearly shows how emphasizing children’s involvement in cooking as well as color, fun, and education, are all simple ways to get kids eating healthy foods. The basic principle is that healthy eating should be simple, rewarding, and most importantly, fun!
If you’re feeling especially curious, we recommend taking a look at the following Ted Talk Jamie Oliver gave on healthy eating and children. While the task may initially seem daunting and somewhat overwhelming due to kids’ particular tastes and fussy natures, helping kids to eat a balanced and nutritious diet can be achieved with the right attitude. Plus, the benefits of eating a proper diet are endless, which is why it’s worth the time and effort.
It’s clear that helping kids to eat healthily can be a simple and fun process. With the right approach, the rewards are endless. Ideally, our early years are when we should start laying down the building blocks that determine the rest of our life. Introducing children to what good food is, why it’s important, and how we can enjoy it each day, is one of the best gifts we can give to the young people of our world.