It is not always easy to make healthy and tasty food for your family every day. Children who learn and practise healthy eating at a young age tend to have a better diet as adults. While small children react mainly to feeling hungry, satisfied and thirsty, older children react more to what is going on around them. Healthy eating for children is basically the same as for adults. Children just need more energy and more of certain nutrients like calcium and vitamin D and C as they are still growing.
Give them a good example
Show your child what a varied and balanced diet is. Have regular meals together and vary your diet. Many vegetables, salad, fruits and wholegrain products make mealtimes more colourful and healthy. High-value milk products, as well as meat, fish and eggs help your child grow. High-value oils and fats, e.g. nuts, rapeseed and olive oil are important to a child's physical development. A healthy all-round diet for the whole family.
Children need milk
Milk is essential for a child. Children start by being breast-fed, then they get the bottle and, from the age of one, they are ready for normal whole milk. Whole milk contains important nutrients for growing: high-value protein, valuable milk fat, milk sugar, which is a source of energy, and high-value calcium for teeth and bones. Children should have whole milk, as it is rich in valuable fat-soluble vitamins and fatty acids. Milk products with less than 1.5 percent fat are no use because they do not have enough fat-soluble vitamins.
Make eating a fun experience for children
Motivate your children to eat by getting them involved and making it a fun experience. Take them shopping, let them help with the cooking and turn it into a make-believe world of knights, elves and dwarves. Make healthy pirate meals, see who finishes their water first and make funny faces on your plate.
Culture and chaos on the family table
Bringing your child up to appreciate the value of nutrition is a daily task. Agree on table rules and take responsibility for providing a healthy diet. Bear in mind that it is not the children who buy bread spreads and chips. You are the one who does it. Avoid tempting the children whenever possible. You should not take eating disruptions too seriously either, keep trying to make eating fun and to turn it into a game for children.
Did you know that ...
... caffeine from cola and energy drinks inhibits the development of calcium in bones?
... children need boundaries to learn properly? It is the job of the adult to decide what to serve, in what quantity and at what time.
... children pay no attention to health-related advice? Children live in the here and now. That is why healthy eating should be made into a children's game to make it seem important in their world.