Eating healthy is something that is challenging for anyone – especially kids.
So how do we target children while they’re young?
“Talk to them about what they’re eating,” says Nutritionist, Sandra Venerri. “Tell them why they’re eating what they’re eating, and explain to them why a cup of fruit is better for dessert than a bowl of ice-cream. Education is key.”
Starting early is all part of the process of developing good habits – something that is harder to break once you’re older.
“As we get older, just like a language, it’s harder to learn,” says Venerri. “We have habits that we’ve already made, even if we don’t notice them. I think if we teach those messages early, then they’ll have a better and healthier life.”
It’s all about setting children up for success, and sometimes the first step is in the kitchen. But how do we make food ‘exciting’ for kids?
“I think there’s so much joy that goes into cooking if you teach it right,” says Andrew Fleet, Founder of Growing Chefs London.
Growing Chefs is a new program in London, aimed at teaching children how to cook from seed to plate. They participate in classes, and have hands-on cooking experience with professional chefs.
“The idea is to get children in the kitchen while they’re young, to make healthy food choices on their own,” says Fleet. “Sometimes parents don’t understand the power of letting kids help them out in the kitchen. Even making them feel part of the experience will encourage them to want to eat healthy, if they had something to do with it.”
Venerri agrees with Fleet, saying it’s as simple as ripping lettuce with their hands.
But where is the challenge in all of this? Processed foods of course. Convenience foods have become so popular in modern culture that it’s hard to pull kids away from the advertised junk and easy access.
“The biggest problem is the dashboard dining experience that appeals to so many,” says Venerri. “We come home from long days and it’s easier to give our children McDonalds, or whatever Drive Thru is on the way home. We don’t realize it hurts them, and us, in the long-run.”
Venerri has her own nutrition book called “Nutrition Bites” where she gives parents the chance to glimpse at easy and healthy go-to recipes and snacks to stay on track.
Programs like Growing Chefs and Nutritionists like Sandra Venerri, say parents don’t have to feel like they have to do it all on their own. It’s all about using your resources around you, to help children grow, and be hands-on with their healthy lifestyle too.