How to Promote Healthy Eating in Early Years

One of the things we focus on here at Plant A Seed & See What Grows Foundation is childhood nutrition. Developing healthy eating habits in early youth provides not only a strong foundation for children, but for the entire household, neighborhood and community as initiatives reverberate from home-to-home and school-to-school. Today, we take a look at how you can ensure that your children get a head start toward a more nutritious life.

5 Ways to Ensure That Your Children Develop Healthy Eating Habits Early in Life

1. Make Them a Part of the Seed-to-Table Process

Children want is to feel that they are a part of something important, to feel that they are contributing. When their level of involvement in their own dietary consumption is to do nothing but sit at the table and consume it is no wonder that they are less enthused about nutrition. However, when they become a part of the genesis of the process they become more invested in the whole. So, how can you as a parent make this happen? It’s easier than you may think. Why not get involved with your child in a local community garden, or organize one if it does not already exist. If you have a yard or even a patio you can start a seasonal garden of your own. Teach your child how to grow organic vegetables with their capable hands and you’ll quickly see them swell with pride as the plants grow to maturity. They will not only get excited about eating the fruits (and veggies) of their own labour, they will have developed an appreciation for the process and become more interested in nutrition. At that point you can help them learn about seed preservation methods and other aspects of the self-sustaining farming concept. One note of caution – you may end up with a budding horticulturalist on your hands so your aspirations for them becoming a doctor or lawyer may have to be sidelined

2. Encourage Healthy Eating at School

You may have instilled a sense of pride in your child’s nutrition while they are home but when they leave for the day they are exposed to outside dietary influences. For six and a half hours a day, five days a week, they will be having their snacks and lunches at school. You will want to do all that you can to ensure they have access to the most nutritious food possible. That means that you and other parents must work with educators and the school board to develop a healthy school breakfast program and lunch menu for those that don’t brown bag their midday meal. If you do pack a lunch for your child resist the urge to opt for convenient processed pre-packaged meals. A little planning can go along way for the busiest of households so prepare healthy lunches well in advance so that you are not scrambling for options in the morning rush at home.

3. Skip the Sugary Drinks and Juices

Avoid introducing sodas and sugar powered drink mixes into your child’s diet. They’ll discover these well enough when out with their friends in their pre-teen years. Until then, try to keep that temptation at bay for as long as possible. while A household that grows up drinking clean filtered water is one that enjoys a long healthy life together. Juices of course can provide a rich delivery of flavorful vitamins and minerals if they are all-natural and 100% fruit/vegetable derived, so shop accordingly.

4. Set a Good Example for Them

Practice what you preach. You can tell your children about the importance of a healthy diet all day but it will go in one ear and out the other if they don’t see you living the healthy lifestyle that you are attempting to bestow upon them. If you tell them they can’t have a sugary drink at dinner while you are sipping a beer with yours the lesson will not resonate with them. Telling children to obey dietary direction is a short term solution, but leading by example develops an inherent call to live a healthy lifestyle from early youth to adolescence and beyond. Likewise, encourage the older children to be the ones to set that example for their younger siblings. This practice is VERY effective as they tend to be protective of their little brother or sister and in turn will jump at the opportunity to set a good example as the responsible “middle manager” in the home.

5. Most of All, Make it FUN

Kids cannot get behind a concept when it’s boring. Who can blame them? “Eat your vegetables” has a negative connotation for many because it incites images of sitting with arms crossed at the dinner table in defiance of a mound of broccoli and brussel sprouts. It’s time to forever alter this perception of healthy eating by nipping it in the bud early in life. Getting your kids involved with gardening (item #1 above) is a big step in that direction, but also getting them interested in fun yet educational TV shows and books on the concept, such as the Plant a Seed & See What Grows children’s book, will go a long way. You will also want to tap into technology to deliver the message that healthy eating can be fun by downloading these top ten health and nutrition apps for kids.

The opportunities are endless in this endeavor, you just have to keep your eyes and mind wide open to the many resources available to you and your household, starting with this blog here. Stay tuned as the Plant a Seed & See What Grows Foundation continues in its efforts to create a healthier world for your children—the ones in your home and in your global community.

Earth Day 2021 Livestreams

Our videos with Mark Cullen and Brian Minter

Growing Mindful Children

Our Video clip from the 2020 Celebration of Greath Health (9 min)

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