Cultivating Healthy Habits: Engaging Children in Food and Nutrition

Cultivating Healthy Habits: Engaging Children in Food and Nutrition

Cultivating Healthy Habits: Engaging Children in Food and Nutrition

Sophia Cornelius, apetito Dietitian explores how schools can encourage healthy choices.

“Our diet provides us with all the nutrients essential for our body to function, so ensuring that children eat a balanced and varied diet is fundamental for physical and mental development. An imbalance or excess of nutrients can have negative consequences for health and well-being, affecting sleep, confidence, performance at school and increasing the risk of disease, such as type 2 diabetes.

“It’s commonly known that foods high in salt, sugar and saturated fats should be limited but to support Healthy Eating Week (running 10th-14th June), instead of focusing on what we shouldn’t have, it’s important that schools are educating children on what to eat more of!

“Engaging children in food preparation and nutrition education helps them understand where their food comes from and the importance of making healthy choices.

“For children to make healthy choices, nutrition education needs to be fun and relevant, long-term health may not be their priority, but having the energy to play with their friends for longer may be. Using interactive learning and encouraging children to be involved in food preparation and cooking may spike an interest.

“We know that fruits and vegetables are packed full of vitamins and minerals that are necessary for children’s growth and development, including immunity, healthy bones, eyes and teeth.

“An easy way to get children to make healthy choices, is to teach them about the importance of having at least 5 A DAY portions of fruit and vegetables - fresh, frozen, dried, and canned all count and fresh doesn’t always mean best!

“Variety is very important, different colours provide different vitamins so try to encourage pupils to eat the rainbow and try lots of different fruit and vegetable options at lunchtime. Creative presentation is a great way to make foods more appealing, try colourful fruit salads or vegetable skewers to increase variety in a child’s diet.

“Early childhood is a critical period for developing lifelong habits. When children are taught the importance of nutrition and are involved in making food choices, they are more likely to carry these habits into adulthood. Healthy eating can be enjoyable and flavorful; demonstrating this to children is crucial for encouraging them to make healthy choices in the future.’

Find out more about apetito’s school meals service:

For further information please contact:

01225 962592