My Attempt at Teaching ‘Healthy Eating ‘to Under 5’s
Updated: Jun 17, 2019
Week 1 of 3: Let’s Explore Fruits Through Our Senses
This Monday marked the first of my Carbon Nutrition Health Promotion workshops (yeaahh!). I have partnered with the Zodiac Arts Charity to deliver workshops to a central London drop-in centre. Under 5’s and their guardians come to meet new people, play, make new friendships and maybe even learn a few things while they’re there.
My vision was to create an environment where the children could come and explore fruits by cutting, feeling and eventually tasting the fruits. This would open up the floor for food and nutrition discussions among the guardians, with me there to facilitate the discussion and answer any specific questions around nutrition.
It was so insightful!! Amongst the banana squishing, apple chopping and strawberry throwing, conversations around food topics such as fussy eating, fruits portions and eating habits were sparked.
We chatted about suitable breakfasts for toddlers, what snacks their children love to eat, and we even started talking about some of the parents eating a habit and how they avoid eating certain foods, like crisps and ice-cream, in front of their children because they don’t want to set a ‘bad example’.
Some of the children were fruit connoisseurs! While some were exploring fruits for the first time; like grapefruit aka “big pink oranges” as one child described it.
I learnt that toddlers love to explore but may need a bit of encouragement. I saw how surprised and delighted one raspberry-loathing mum was when she saw her 2-year-old try raspberries for the first time and really enjoy them.
Health promotion was my main agenda for this workshop, and I thought I was going to achieve this by having in depth ‘dietetic-style’ group conversations with the parents. I felt that I didn’t give any specific advice at all. Instead I used the conversations of the parents and guardians as a lead into what they perceive healthy eating in younger years should look like. A few parents started to reflect on their own eating habits and think about how they themselves could increase the variety of fruits that they eat (unexpected BONUS!!)
As obvious as it sounds, the recommendations are the same for children as they are for adults. Small people just need smaller portions. The important bit is that they NEED them
1) Fresh, frozen, canned and dried varieties all count. Dried fruits however should be limited to 1 snack a day because it has a higher content
2) We should aim for children to eat 5 portions of different fruits and vegetables
3) It’s all about the portions- see my link to the British Nutrition Foundation (BNF) portion sizes page (http://bit.ly/2F2LnYd)
4) Fruits are mostly made up of water so it’s a great way to get extra fluid and a snack in the day.
Next week, we’re making pizzas which I hope will spark discussions around meal times and snacking.