Building a Healthy Relationship with Food // the KID edition

FOOD. parents can often unite on this area of stress when it comes to their littles. we strive to both nourish our kids with healthy foods while also making sure to find something they’ll actually eat so they don’t go hungry (& have a meltdown, ahhhh). don’t fret — WHyyc is here to give you a few tips to help your kids build a healthy relationship with food!

As parents, we can help our kids build health minds & bodies through our child’s diet & relationship with food. A healthy diet promotes success in life, from better concentration & alertness, to better physical health which translates into good mental & emotional health¹. Now who doesn’t want that for their little ones!

start ’em young  //

A key to teaching a child to make healthy food choices is to start early¹. Get your babies & toddlers learning about new foods at a time when they’re exploring the world around them! Giving young children a variety of healthy food options & letting him or her choose which foods & how much to eat is important. They may start by either eating nothing or too much, but kids have innate ability to know when they’re hungry or full from a young age¹.

get kids out to the market  //

Yes, taking the kids to the farmer’s market or the grocery store takes a bit more time & may cause you some stress. Why not try to take them once a week? It’ll be an opportunity for them to see & possibly choose a variety of new foods to go on your family’s dinner table & in their lunch boxes. They can take in the sights, textures, colours, smells, & all the senses that get tapped into at the around food! Also, reading labels & comparing costs teaches children valuable lessons.Passion Fruit

Looking for an activity to make it more fun? There’s a ‘homework’ assignment I give some families I work with. “FUN FRUIT FRIDAY”. The idea is getting kids into the grocery store & giving them the duty of picking out a fun new fruit every week. They’ll be more likely to try the new foods if they hand-picked them!

get kids in the kitchen  //  at home & with the pros

Get kids in the kitchen, get them cooking. Kids who have ownership over what they’re eating are more likely to be happier to eat it¹!

If your kids LOVE cooking, you can even explore the idea of cooking classes & camps! Here are a couple organizations around the city that run them:

  • POPPY INNOVATIONS ::  They offer 1-time or a 6-week course where parents & kids learn to cook together. Kids develop the fundamentals of cooking & food prep while parents support their child in a safe, supervised environment. Parents & kids work together to prepare delicious food to enjoy together in the class while learning about healthy food choices & nutrition. All classes are taught by Dieticians. One parent can register with up to 2 kids. The 1 time class is suitable for kids 6 years & up, the 6-week course is suitable for kids 9 years & up. The offer classes throughout the year. Register online.
  • COOKBOOK CO  ::  The Cookbook Co. is running summer cooking camps for kids with culinary instructor Lauren Walker. The young cooks will learn knife skills, kitchen safety, & a variety of cooking techniques. Making everything from scratch, the kids will braise, roast & bake their way to a repertoire of recipes that are both practical & delicious. There’ll be daily field trips to local restaurants & businesses as well! Classes run July 13-17 from 10 am-3 pm (for age 12+), or July 20-24 from 10 am-3 pm (for age 8-11). Register by calling 403-265-6066, ext. 1.

get kids in the garden  //

This isn’t always a possibility depending on time & availability of space for a garden in your home. But, when possible, get kids growing their food! Again, kids who have ownership over what they’re eating are more likely to be happier to eat it¹!

think outside the lunch box  //

Owl Bento_0

Make food fun!! Ever heard of the bento lunchbox for kids? My sister is a wizard at them! Check out this blog post from a fellow mama that gives a great tutorial on Bento Lunchbox for Kids!bento_box_beauty01-e1280987471189

Whether it’s making a bento lunchbox or otherwise, just do what you can to help your kids enjoy cooking & trying new ingredients. The worst thing you can do is to make food a battlefield! If your child doesn’t like something first time they try it, try it again at another time. Don’t force feed them & don’t give up. But remember that there are probably foods you don’t have a particular taste for & they will be the same!

teach about healthy food choices  //

Help your kids make healthy food choices! Encourage them to ‘eat the rainbow’. Encourage them to explore fresh fruit & veggies of every colour¹. You can help them out by stocking the house with fresh fruit so it’s readily available. Also, don’t forget you are their #1 role model! So let your kids see YOU enjoying fresh fruits & veggies, too!

mindful eating for kids  //

 Mindful Eating Book for Kids

Check out a recent post I did on mindful eating for kids. There are even some fun books that you can get online or at the library that teach kids to build healthy relationships with foods & learn mindful eating skills. Remember: kids as young as age 3 can learn to practice mindfulness!

This post is for informational purposes only. For nutrition & diet guidance for your family, consult a dietician or physician.