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How do I teach my 5 years old and 3 years old daughters about nutritious foods, proper nutrition and balanced diet? Actually, my understanding of them is very basic and I am not quite sure that I can explain and persuade my children to have sufficient nutrition daily.

I am thinking of using food toys and pictures to educate them about nutrition but I do not know whether it could be good and an interesting idea for them to learn.

6

Basically: have a healthy diet in your house! At mealtimes and during cooking, talk about the food, how good it is, and if you want to go into details, about how it has vitamins, good fat, fibre or whatever makes it the "right" food. Also, talk about how tasty it is, hand out samples for them, have them involved in the preparation of food whenever possible.

If they cannot have a sweet, tell them why. "Well, you really had enough chocolate today. if you are hungry, how about a [insert favourite fruit/veggie/whatever here] or [some alternative]?"

Do not stress out when they overindulge on unhealthy food occasionally. Even adults do, after all, and for someone who eats generally well, that's not a problem. It's their birthday? Let them stuff themselves with cake, and tomorrow it just happens to be a veggie-day. Those are EXCEPTIONS, and days when you shouldn't bother them with food-facts.

Above all, they should just be familiar with the healthy things. They don't even need to know if eggplants are healthy, they just need to be familiar with them. Show them the food, give it to them raw (where the food allows), cooked, roasted, have them touch it... anything, really. If they have known bell peppers all their lives, they will happily eat bell peppers.

Generally: just have them eat healthily, talk about good/bad foods when the occasion arises, and be relaxed.

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I basically told my kids that there were certain types of foods that gave their bodies things that their bodies needed to grow strong and to play. There were other types of foods that taste great, but don't help their bodies as much. Then I told them that in order to not get sick and to be able to play as much as they wanted, it was important to eat more of the foods that helped their bodies than the foods that didn't help their bodies.

We identified all food and drink in those terms until they were quite a bit older, maybe around 10 or so.

I also kept a container of treats (individually wrapped candy, etc.) and every night after dinner, they got to pick something from the dessert jar (most of their Halloween candy went into the dessert jar every year). Periodically we would talk about what kind of things belonged in the dessert jar, and this talk was always focused on giving their bodies what they needed to be healthy.

The other thing I did with them was to emphasize making their food colorful. Studies have been done (sorry, on my iPad, so I can't easily include links, but just do a search for colorful food and nutrition) showing that the more natural color variety you have on your plate, the more likely you are to be getting the nutrition you need.

I am an artistic person, and love working with a lot of color, so I told them that their bodies were like me, and liked it when they had foods of lots of different colors at each meal. I would sometimes ask them to help me with meal planning, by saying, "okay, our pasta is going to be yellow. What other colors should we add to dinner?" And then they would decide what green (vegetable) item we would include that night. Carrots add orange, sliced red peppers add red, etc.

I remember having major fights with my mom over having to eat healthy food (which may have had more to do with the fact that all veggies--frozen--were cooked until they were the same mushy greenish-grey color and texture), and I don't remember having the same amount of fights with my kids, so I think it was a fairly successful strategy.

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I would suggest not having sweets at all. Sweets just drives the desire for sweets.

Teach by example. Always have healthy snacks prepared. Cucumber, bell pepper (remove the seeds so it is not bitter), cheese, nuts, apple (cut up), grapes, fruit salad, ...

For teaching a food pyramid.

  • Currently, the only part that actually answers the question is "For teaching a food pyramid." Can you flesh it out a little, e. g. describe what food pyramids are, how to use them to educate children and why this approach is a good one? – Anne Daunted GoFundMonica Sep 28 '18 at 12:01
  • @AnneDaunted You don't think feeding a nutritional diet teaches a nutritional diet? – paparazzo Sep 28 '18 at 12:04
  • It's not my answer. If you believe that, why don't you update your answer to make that clear? At the moment, it looks as if you were only suggesting the OP what to feed their children and don't explain how it teaches them anything, although that's what the OP is asking. – Anne Daunted GoFundMonica Sep 28 '18 at 12:10

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