As parents we all want the best for our kids. The best school, the right toys, a decent night’s sleep: the list is endless. But one of our biggest parenting challenges of all? Getting the small people to eat their fruit ‘n’ veg! It’s tough (we’ve been there) when you’ve got a little one who’s entire diet would be fries and chicken nuggets if left to them. And it’s up to us, as mum and dad, to steer them into healthy eating habits: and that starts with leading by example.
The learning experts over at Tanglin Trust School know all about the woes of persuading kids to make healthier food choices, and it’s been imparting its words of wisdom on the subject to help us all out, and to give us some tips and tricks on how to encourage nutritious eating at home. We’ve been chatting with Victoria Thomas, Head of Nursery at Tanglin Trust School, on how we can ace the food battles and start new, healthy habits at home:
Give rolling snack time a try
It’s really important for children to eat only when they’re truly hungry. At Tanglin Trust School we have rolling snack time, which allows our children to choose when they’ll eat. Rolling snack time also encourages them to make their own healthy food choices and to try new things, whilst being supervised by teachers and teaching assistants. Another cool bonus? It teaches them the importance of practising good hygiene and proper table manners like saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you’.
Make it fun!
Kids are a curious bunch and especially love hearing stories. At Tanglin Trust School, one of our favourite weekly activities is ‘Fruity Fridays’, where Nursery classes take turns preparing, serving and promoting the fruit of their choice. Children sing songs, share facts about their favourite fruits (groovy grapes, wonderful watermelons, etc), and create their own original artwork for the snack hatch in honour of their new fruity friend. This encourages little ones to step towards taking ownership of their good food choices.
Get the kids involved
When children feel like they’re part of the planning process, they’ll be more inspired to make healthier food choices. Whether it’s taking them along to the supermarket and letting them pick out the most colourful produce or asking them to tick off the items on your shopping list, the more involved they are, the better! If they’re old enough and tall enough to reach the kitchen counter, you could even ask them to peel carrots or potatoes, or help you read out food labels and recipe instructions.
Make food appealing
Want to get your children to eat healthy? Presentation is key, folks! Offer variety, colour, texture and don’t be afraid to sneak in a little treat occasionally – it’s all about balance. Feel free to flex those crafting skills and take the time to personalise your little one’s lunchbox. Whether it’s cutting up sandwiches into interesting shapes or serving up food bento-style, children are more likely to be pumped about eating if it looks fun.
Reduce portion sizes at meal times
Instead of piling on the food, give your children smaller portions of food. If they ask for more, then of course pop on extra. It’s also advisable NOT to insist that they clear their plates. Instead, allow them to stop when they tell you that they’ve had enough and enjoyed their food.
Don’t use food as a reward or bribe
We’re all guilty of offering food as a reward for good behaviour or as a bribe to stop bad habits. Bribing a child with food also sends signals that it’s okay to eat when they aren’t hungry and that food is a reward.
You’ve got this, parents
Realigning your child’s eating habits can be a tough job, but it’s definitely doable, especially with enough support in and out of the home. At Tanglin Trust School, the Early Years teachers work hand-in-hand with parents to help overcome any concerns. It understands that eating nutritious foods can have a positive impact on physical AND mental development.
Want to learn more about Tanglin Trust and how they can support your little one’s educational journey? Check it out for yourself at the Introduction to Nursery Open Morning on Thursday, 7 March and Friday, 14 June 2019.
Tanglin Trust School
95 Portsdown Road
This post is sponsored by Tanglin Trust School