How Do Kids Define “Healthy?”

How Do Kids Define “Healthy?”

This is a guest post from a Stacy Stutchbury who worked with me as a student for the summer. Stacy is a nutrition consultant and mom.

Stacy surveyed 30 kids on being healthy, to find out what they know and their understanding of being healthy. Some of the answers were cute. And other answers encouraged parents looking at how they talk about weight and food around their kids!

family cookingHere are some of the questions with just a sampling of the answers:

What do you think being healthy means?

“Being strong, not being sick, eating salad”

What happens when you don’t eat healthy?

“You get sick and have a tummy ache. You get fat and might die”

Why should you eat healthy?

“To get strong, to have energy to play, so you don’t get sick and fat”

What should be on your plate at a meal?

“Healthy food, meat, fruit, veggies, rice”

How do you know if something is healthy or not?

“If you grow it, it is healthy. If it is healthy it doesn’t have a wrapper or a box.”

“If mom tells you to eat it, it is healthy.”

“If it is covered in chocolate it is not healthy.”

What can you do to make a meal healthier?

“Add apples, eat veggies with it, have water instead of juice, add some carrots and broccoli pieces”

Why do we need to teach kids about food?

As parents, we are the ones that help shape how our kids view food and being healthy. By teaching them, we are setting them up for a lifetime of healthy habits and teaching them to have a positive relationship with food.

How do we teach them to be healthy?

  • Start by being a good role model and lead by example; kids mimic their parents.
  • Show them your enjoyment of the food and don’t diet!
  • Don’t make food “good” or “bad” or talk negatively about your body.
  • Eat your meals as a family, eating together helps with better food choices and talk to your kids about healthy choices that they can make at home.
  • Get the kids involved and have some fun with food, find healthier recipes the kids would enjoy and make them together.

How do we make meal times easier and less stressful?

  1. Follow the Division of Responsibility – you can read more about it here: Help For Picky Eaters.
  2. You can also get the kids involved with planning, shopping and prepping. Do things like let the little ones wash and rinse the fruits and veggies to get them used to the look and feel of different foods and at the store. Let them pick some of the fruits and vegetables that they want.
  3. The TV should always be off and there should be no electronics at the table, so that everyone can focus on eating…and this applies to mom and dad too!
  4. In order to make sure that your kids have a healthy relationship with food, avoid labelling food as good or bad and don’t use food as a reward or punishment.
  5. Keep meals positive and don’t force things, the less pressure you put on kids to eat the more likely they will be to try things.

I was recently honoured as one of the Top 100 Kid Food Blogs by Kidspot. There are some amazing resources out there to help you feed your kids, check them out here.

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