Meal time – AAARRGH! Do you ever dread meal time with your children? Is it often a battle to get them to finish their meal? Does it ever end in tears – and not just from the children? Let me reassure you that you are not alone. It is estimated that up to 50% of parents experience this meal time struggle, and many struggles involve children not wanting to eat a meal high in nutrition.1
Most people generally understand that to grow and function properly, we need good nutrition. And you certainly don’t need a degree in nutrition to feed your children well. In spite of this, there seems to be an ever-growing list of diseases that were once mostly seen in adults but are now becoming more prevalent in children. Most of these also have a connection with obesity, for example, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
Since the 1970s, childhood obesity has more than tripled with nearly 1 in 5 school aged children and young people (aged 6-19 years) being diagnosed.2The implications for this are more widespread than just the physical body. Obesity also affects us socially (e.g., bullying) and psychologically (mental health).3The rise in obesity is believed to be from a number of contributing factors such as genetics, the increase in processed foods, food addictions (e.g., sugar), less physical activity and marketing.4
So How Can We, As Parents, Best Expose our Children to a Wider Variety of Foods as Well as Teach our Children About Nutrition?
Here are a few suggestions for various age groups that might help you weave this into everyday life:
During pregnancy – In a very interesting article, “Development of Food Preferences”5it says that even during pregnancy the baby starts to form preferences for particular foods because the amniotic fluid contains flavor molecules from the mother’s diet. It is therefore important for the mother to include a wide variety of nutritious food into her diet whilst pregnant.
During breastfeeding– The taste of breast milk also changes depending on what the mother has eaten, which again gives a variety of taste exposure to the baby.6
Interested in learning more? Read the full article on page 22 by clicking here.