We make serious efforts to raise our children in an environment that is beneficial for their physical and emotional development, and healthy eating habits in the family represent an obligation. As far as healthy eating for children is concerned, there are several different trends and approaches, and throughout the entire history, babies have started eating solid food at different points in time, from generation to generation, but we all agree that healthy eating habits are acquired within the family, and everyone makes an effort to offer the little ones what is best for them.

How do we start food education for children

For any child, the best learning method is the personal example given by parents and by all the people around them. Parents represent the role model which the child considers to be the best, and which, most surely, will end up emulating it.

• Cook together. Since early childhood, children must actively participate in preparing meals, even if it takes more time, because we teach them how to be responsible and we offer them the satisfaction to eat something they prepared with their own tiny hands. They should smell each ingredient, taste it, help with slicing once he grows older, these are all opportunities to learn and prepare for the practical adult life.

• Eat together. Although the rhythm of day to day life is an alert one, try at least to serve dinner in the family, and create more such occasions during weekends. In the past, dinner time used to be the time of day when the family gathered, discussed relaxing topics, and connecting with children was easier.

• The kitchen and the dining room are the places where you should eat. Keeping your back straight, your feet on the ground, and your arms on the table not only represents a nice picture from the book of good manners when dinner time is described, but it is also a position that facilitates digestion. Besides, it is also hygienic.

• Watch your food! Leave the TV, mobile phones and tablets, and enjoy every bite. Your eyes and your nose are in direct connection with your stomach when it comes to feeling full. When a child is fed in front of the TV, he is being tricked and can develop a flawed relationship with food.

Balance and the importance of good choices when it comes to food

Fortunately, we live in a time when we have access to a wide variety of foods, from all corners of the world. The good news is that we can taste exotic fruits and vegetables, flavored oriental dishes, but also sweets, high-fat foods, or simply foods that are too hard to digest. Of course, we can taste them all, but it is important to know our limits. When it comes to children and the way they choose to eat, the key lies in the way we spoke to them and what example we gave them when we were little. We can always talk to them about the negative effects of the excessive consumption of sweets, but at a young age they are the easiest to impress, because tooth decays are a total nightmare! However, when a child is spoken to in a calm manner, on a regular basis, and in all honesty, about the advantages of healthy eating, he will become an adult who is able to make responsible decision when it comes to food.

Carefully chosen food + sport = healthy lifestyle

When we speak about healthy eating habits, we cannot ignore the part related to sport, which is also developed in the family. Riding a bike or a scooter, roller-skating, playing outdoor games, even simple walks in the open air, leave the little ones with wonderful memories, but also an example of the benefits of an active lifestyle. If parents also follow personalized programmes, conceived by specialists in order to stay in perfect shape, and the results are visible in their posture, in the energy that they show, and in the way they play with them, children are the indirect beneficiaries, as well as those who will follow in their footsteps towards a healthy lifestyle.

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Text: Lupu Florentina-Natalia, psiholog