Wanting to feed children healthily is back-breaking work for most educators. Often, all their efforts come to nothing, on the contrary. In addition, there is a general feeling of insecurity, fueled by advertising on the one hand and media reports on the other. A plea for a more relaxed approach to the subject.
We’ve known it for a long time: children watch too much television and sit at the computer for too long. With the result that they move too little. By driving their offspring to school, parents are doing their offspring a disservice – another opportunity to be able to exercise and socialize is lost. Today, every fifth child is overweight. With exercise and nutrition, the Americans are obviously getting more and more in trouble.
Whether one counts calories, picks grains or devours fast food: the children are shaped by the eating habits of their parents, in a positive as well as a negative sense: “When dealing with children, counting calories should not be the priority.
Taste is learned and the familiar tastes better. Here lies the opportunity for vegetables and fruits.
Mcdonald’s has also recognized this, although there are probably more marketing considerations behind it than concern that children eat enough green fodder. “Vegetables as a fixed side dish should teach the children that they are part of every meal,”
Unhealthy eating allowed – in moderation
With respect to vegetables – but most children are really keen on sweets and meals like “chicken nuggets fries”. “There is no such thing as bad food,”says Nicole Smith (Nutrition expert for children) “it just has to be eaten in moderation.” The child nutrition expert is no gray theoretician. As a mother of seven children, she conducts empirical research at the family table on a daily basis, so to speak. Sweets also belong on the menu. Children who occasionally get both fast food and sweets or other so-called unhealthy things do not need to snack on secretly. Because parents don’t completely forbid them such foods, they don’t have any particular attraction for them.
Fast food can also have a place in a healthy diet. The key is the measure.
The breathing of a pregnant woman also affects the baby
“My children drink apple juice and water at home, but they are allowed to drink a cola in a restaurant so that they know it,” says Nicole Smith. A wrong diet does not result from individual unhealthy meals, but from too many mistakes in nutrition. Rosmarie Eggimann, manager of the sponsoring association of the KinderHut crèche, also allows the children ice cream from time to time, chocolate or birthday cakes and gateaux, “so that the children are familiar with such products and don’t have to go without them,” as she says.
Children should eat vegetables – easier said than made tasty for the children. A truism that virtually all parents could subscribe to. “Some children have a hard time with vegetables,” Children taste more diverse and therefore react – for example to bitter substances. On the other hand, due to the genetic survival program, children tend to have a tendency towards high-energy foods. The preference for sweets is innate in humans, the preference for vegetables has to be learned first.
Nutrition specialists see the aversion under developmental aspects: Our ancestors had to be particularly careful and skeptical when looking for edible plants and fruits, as some of them are poisonous. Our cultural framework has long established what is edible and what is not. But the feelings are still the same. A portion of curiosity rubs us off trying new foods, a certain fear of unpleasant or harmful effects makes us tend to reject them. Mistrust is often even more pronounced in children, so rejections tend to be “normal”.
Parents can help to train the senses for the new. Because taste is learned and the familiar tastes better. Here lies the opportunity for vegetables and fruits. When children are allowed to help prepare the meal, they discover vegetables and fruits through a wide variety of sensory channels. A pleasant, familiar table atmosphere, parents who like to help themselves to the vegetables – that’s contagious. Coercion or even rewards in any form do not help on the way to a pleasurable eater. On the contrary, they can even reinforce rejection.
Already have a disc?
The nutrition disc shows at a glance what is important for a healthy diet for children aged 5 to 12. Five nutritional messages, each with two practical tips, are shown on the disc.
You can never get enough of water: water should be drunk with every meal and also in between. Drinking water is better and more refreshing than sweetened drinks.
eat fruits and vegetables
Children have the choice to discover the variety of fruits and vegetables. Fruit and vegetables are recommended for main meals and as a snack in between.
A varied mixed diet is recommended for children after the age of one until they reach puberty, just like for adults. In concrete terms, this means: frequent small meals. Children need two balanced snacks.
Choose food and drink wisely
Eating a variety of foods to stay in good shape is important. Foods high in fat and sugar should only be enjoyed occasionally and in small amounts, but should not be banned entirely.
Screen off while eating!
Food should not be eaten in front of the television. Exercise is important: 4 to 5 hours a day. Play, do handicrafts, turn your back on the screen more often and do something else that is fun.