Educating children in nutrition now is surely the key to a healthier happy population in the future. Schools could be pivotal in this education, but at the moment only a minimal amount of this stuff is part of the curriculum. In time, this will have to change but for now it is in the hands of parents, or anyone who can, to teach their kids about healthy eating, to ensure a healthy future for their kids, and their grandkids, and great-grandkids. The food kids put into their mouth affects more than just their immediate health, it can affect their genes. But that’s a whole other topic! If you’re interested in that side of things just google ‘epigenetics’. Anyway, here is a list of some cool ways to get educating kids around you:
Make some food art
Food art can be a great way to educate kids on food, while having fun, and they don’t even realise they are learning as they do it. Prepare a load of chopped foods all different types and paper plates and get the kids to create any picture they like using the food. You could have some picture sof examples printed out to give them an idea. You can be naming and identifying food as you go. The objective is that would eat their picture when they are done. Check out foodartist on Instagram for some amazing ideas and fooducationirel also features some like these
Make smoothies or juices
Making smoothies and juices with kids is a great way to get them familiar with different types of fruits and veg, especially some exotic types they may not have come across before. You will have great fun trying out the different tastes and combinations. Check out our smoothies/juices blog, or look up smoothies on Instagram. Other fun additions can be made like oats, nuts, seeds, dried fruit, wheatgerm, milled seeds, etc, to experiment with different textures too. Also there is often a milling blade on smoothie makers, so you could have fun with this too, milling up some seeds to put over their breakfast the next day.
Tasting Trays/ Taste Tests
A planned ‘tasting’ can be great fun with a group of kids. Muffin trays are so handy here for displaying a little of each item in each hole. The aim would be for them to try everything, there is always the option to spit it out! You could print out a little checklist where they could mark off how many things they tried, or give them the goal to try 5 things, for example. Older kids may be brave enough to try a blind folded taste test, where you tell them just for example ‘its a fruit’ and they must taste and try and guess what it is. This can be really fun (and a little scary!)
Do a sugar demo
A sugar demo can be a very informative, visual exercise for kids to understand just how much sugar is hidden in juices, bars, etc. This exercise can be done very simply on a board using empty cartons/wrappers of the products and a sandwich bag stuck next to it. The sandwich bag can then be filled with the corresponding grams of sugar contained in the product. Quite scary! See the below one recently featured on blisstree.com
Organise a healthy eating day/ week/ month at your kids school
Usually the school staff are only too delighted to have the offer of help in this area. If you feel you have some experience, or some knowledge to share, by all means offer your services! With the help of a few other parents, and some of your home equipment, a few books and print outs, a really fun educational lesson can be done very easily. The teachers will usually help out too. Make a plan based on some of ideas above or others – smoothies & juices, healthy treats and snacks, tasting of a variety of healthy foods, lunch box ideas, swapping white for brown, sugar demos showing how many spoons are in drinks or cereal bars – these are just some of the ideas that can be done. The older classes might even like to get involved in helping out.
(Credit: Kara Reilly of www.fooducation.ie)