The past few blogs have discussed ways to implement healthy eating in your community and department. However, it is important to also think about ways to encourage a healthy lifestyle in a manner that is positive and motivating. Many times children can be picky when it comes to eating new or healthy food options that they may have never experienced before. PBS Parents discuss ways to engage children about healthy food choices in a positive and encouraging manner. These ideas can be shared among your department and family members in your community!
First, involving kids in planning meals, going grocery shopping, and preparing food will help them become invested in the process and more likely to eat the food purchased. They will feel included and will be more willing to try something new if they have ownership in the process. Second, teaching kids where the food comes from will help increase their knowledge of why eating certain foods can be healthier for their bodies. When possible take advantage of local farmers markets rather than a supermarket. Other examples include going berry or apple picking, visiting a dairy farm, and volunteering at a local community garden. Going straight to the source will help children see where their food comes from and how it is made. Next, giving them freedom of choice during meals encourages them to make their own healthy decisions. Start by cooking a suitable base meal, like rice, beans or pasta. Then let kids dress it up with chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, cheese, salsa, peppers and other fresh toppings.
Remind your department and community that leading by example is the best way to encourage children to eat healthy! PBS discusses that recent studies have shown that children’s food tastes are significantly related to foods their family members like and dislike. Check out our Healthy Cooking/Nutrition Program page to learn more about how to create more access to local food and produce in your community.
If you have any ideas of encouraging healthy food choices, then please share by submitting or emailing your ideas on the wellness site here: (firstname.lastname@example.org, http://www.ncrpa.net/?Wellnesssub)