How to be a healthy role model

As soon as you become a parent, you become the most important person in somebody else’s life!  How you conduct yourself through your life will influence your children as they look to you to guide and teach them.  In this article from SPR Juniors, we are tackling healthy eating and what you can do, as your children grow, to ensure they develop healthy eating habits for life.

Offering a variety of foods help children get the nutrients they need from every food group.  They will also be more likely to try new foods and to like more foods which is so important to develop at an early age.  Plus, as a family, it is much easier to plan family meals if your children have a wider palette.

Here are our top tips on how to be a healthy role model for your children today.

TIP ONE | GET COOKING

Get fussy little eaters into the kitchen and turn them into little chefs with some easy and fun cooking projects. They’ll love tasting their handiwork, too!

FUSSY EATER FACTS

These 4 key facts can help you understand why children sometimes fuss about their food:

  1. Children’s appetites are affected by their growth cycles.  During the early years, it’s common for children to be really hungry one day and picky the next.
  2. Children have different taste preferences from grown-ups.
  3. Children often are too busy exploring the world around them to want to spend time eating.
  4. Children learn by testing the boundaries of acceptable behaviour. Some children can be very strong willed when it comes to making decisions about food.  This is part of their social and emotional development.

TIP TWO | PREP YOUR FRIDGE

We love the idea of using the door in your fridge to serve as a ‘snacks on tap’.  Swap out sugary cakes for prepped raw vegetables; fruit or cheese the options are endless.

Remember, if you want your children to be able to help themselves, set some clear boundaries.

TIP THREE | TAKE A TRIP TO THE FARMERS MARKET

If you are lucky enough to have a weekly farmers market or even a farm shop near your home then make sure you visit!  Not only will you teach your children about locally sourced produce, you will encourage an interest in the provenance of their food at an early age.

TIP FOUR | TRY SOMETHING NEW

Picky eaters can make mealtimes hectic and stressful.  The best way to encourage any child to try a new food is to do it regularly and never be put off if the first ‘try’ of the new food isn’t a positive experience.  It can take between 10 to 15 exposures to get a child to like a new food.

TIP FIVE | LET THEM CHOOSE

It can be a really positive experience to give your children some responsibility for what they eat.  Squeeze in a mini shopping trip in before or after school with your children.  Ask them to choose one or two healthy ingredients to go with their evening meal, avoiding the sweet aisle of course!

TIP 6 | USE FOOD TO TEACH YOUR CHILD ABOUT CULTURE

Food functions as a universal language, illustrating the history and culture of a place it represents.  Using different cooking techniques and ingredients from another country allows your children to expand their palette and try new healthy ingredients like turmeric, ginger or garlic.

TIP 7 | OFFER THE SAME FOODS FOR EVERYONE

At least once a week, make sure your children eat the same meal as you.  Whether it is healthy cottage pie or a roast dinner, they need to know that you are not their personal chef and they need to eat a regular meal with their family!  This is the perfect time to eat together as a family or extended family with grandparents.  Use this time to talk about fun and happy things they love. Turn off the television and make it as stress-free as possible.

TIP 8: BE A GOOD FOOD ROLE MODEL

If you are a fussy eater or don’t eat your fruits or vegetables, then why are you expecting your child to make healthy choices?  You will pass on your bad food habits to your children – fact!  So, stay away from buying sugary snacks and fizzy drinks.  Switch to water or herbal tea and demonstrate a positive attitude with food.  Always try something new and avoid lecturing or forcing your child to eat!

There you go; 8 fantastic tips to get you started on being a really healthy role model for your children.   Our founder, Scott Harrison, has recently launched his new book which is packed full of healthy recipes you can try with your family.  You can order your book here.

SPR Juniors Programme is a highly active P.E lesson resource pack containing video and lesson plan resources that allow staff to deliver high quality Physical Education at the push of a button.

The programme for SPR Juniors is designed to offer each primary school a balanced education programme focusing on nutrition, fitness and mindset delivering Strong Powerful Resilient Juniors! Primarily, the programme provides progressive P.E. lessons for years 3 to 6 which help children improve their core fitness and develop motor skills that will underpin their sporting performance.

Each school has access to our SPR Junior Resource Centre. This is an online library for teachers to access nutritional guidance to support their curriculum plus it includes fun goals and milestones for pupils to reach that will support their nutritional awareness. These resources are designed to be used as part of the weekly parent newsletter. They help parents understand, in more depth, what their children are learning in relation to nutrition and fitness and give them the core information on how to encourage their children to continue their SPR Junior’s programme at home!

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