What can you do to cultivate healthy eating habits from young?
WORDS ANNA FERNANDEZ
At The Nutrition Clinic, Bonnie Rogers and Pooja Vig, functional medicine health coach and functional medicine nutritionist ensure that an open dialogue about food is encouraged as it spurs children to be empowered to start understanding the importance of healthy eating and making more informed choices. This would involve asking the right questions and making an effort to understand how they feel about breakfast and eating in general.
Start with the Favourites
If you’re not sure where to start, begin with what you know your little one enjoys. Sheeba Majmudar, nutritionist and author of Edible to Incredible advises, “Focus on what they like and combine that with some healthy food. For example, you can prepare a small peanut butter sandwich along with an egg. Also, if she has an option to eat together with the class and her teacher in a group setting, it can really help create good habits effortlessly.”
What are You Eating?
Because children imitate the behaviour of adults, if they don't see you eating a nutritious breakfast, they are likely to resist too. So be sure to choose your breakfast wisely.
Get Them Involved
One way to encourage them to take interest in breakfast is by getting them involved. “Meal preparation with children is a great opportunity to educate them on choosing the right food. It creates a safe environment for children to explore food groups, experiments with different taste profiles, understand the importance of a balanced diet, and why certain foods are healthier than others,” says Associate Professor Lim Tit Meng, chief executive of Science Centre Singapore.
The revamp at KidsSTOPTM at the Singapore Science Centre, in partnership with the Health Promotion Board, emphasises just that.
Curated to educate children about healthy lifestyle habits,
the new exhibits at the Supermarket and the Know Your Body zones
will spur your kids to learn more about wellness holistically – eating,
moving, and feeling well – through hands-on activities and workshops.
Start Them Early
Children’s dietary habits are largely formed before they turn five. Therefore, as challenging as it is to get toddlers to eat well, early childhood is actually the best time to start teaching them about healthy eating habits as the patterns they develop now will likely be the ones they carry into adulthood.
Read this too!