Good nutrition and family-style meals are essential to the development of a healthy brain. Every parent wants their child to have a positive and healthy relationship with food, but the way we approach healthy eating is changing. The “clean plate club” may be a thing of the past as our nation fights an epidemic of childhood obesity. Research points to the importance of children selecting their own foods, adults modeling healthy eating habits, and providing diverse food choices as key factors influencing children’s eating habits.
At Creative World School, we share “family style” meals in the classroom. Children participate in setting the table, food selection, portioning, and clean up. Sharing a meal and sitting together fosters table manners and gives children opportunities to see others trying new foods. Even the exposure of foods they do not select helps children to be open to trying new foods in the future. An encouraging, stress-free mealtime helps promote healthy eating. In addition to the nutritional benefits of these mealtimes, regular and routine meals provide an opportunity for children to grow socially and emotionally. We are proud to play an integral role in “feeding brains” as well as bodies!
Here’s how YOU can integrate nutrition & healthy routines into your family’s core foundation:
- Host a family meal with parents and siblings.
- Introduce your child to new foods often; it can take up to 15 tries before a child attempts a new food.
- Provide child-sized dishes and serving ware.
- Let your child select and serve their own food portions.
- Ask questions and talk about the food you are eating.