How to get kids to understand that what they eat is what they will be

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How to get kids to understand that what they eat is what they will be

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Children are motivated to learn about the world around them. Food and nutrition can be exciting topics of conversation for your children if you make them so. Plenty of resources are available to aid in the discussion of healthy foods and vitamins. Many of these resources are free, available for download from the Internet, and come from reputable sources such as the United States Department of Agriculture. You can also engage your children in conversation around the dinner table by using your own knowledge of healthy foods.


Step One

Keep it simple. You must gauge the level of explanation that is appropriate for your child based on age, curiosity and interest. One method that is widely used by health professionals to teach children about nutrition is the "Go, Slow, Whoa" method, in which foods are categorized based on green, yellow and red lights. The healthiest foods are green "go" foods, foods to consume in moderate amounts are yellow "slow" foods, and sweets and fatty foods are considered red light "whoa" foods. Quiz your children on what category they believe certain foods should be in. For example, cookies are red light foods, white breads are yellow light foods and vegetables are green light foods.


Step Two

Use real food. Have these discussions over dinner. Point to the foods on their plates and say "Carrots are good for your eyes." Just like adults, children absorb more information when they have first-hand experience with something. Plan meals with your children, take them to the grocery store with you and let them help you prepare meals. The more hands-on experience they have with food, the greater their understanding will be about where foods come from, how they are made and how they will benefit their health.


Step Three

Use games. Children are playful and competitive, so use these qualities to your advantage while teaching them new things. Video games are available online that teach children about nutrition. One such game, Nutrition Blast Off, is free to access from the United States Department of Agriculture's website. Your children will be entertained and educated at the same time. Promote these activities, along with fun quizzes, homemade crossword puzzles and word finders. You will likely find that your children are having fun and enjoying the process of learning about nutrition and health.


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