veggie and fruit board

using nutrition messages to motivate children to eat healthy

You know that vegetables are good for your body, so this might motivate you to eat them, but you’re probably already aware that your child doesn’t share this motivation with you.

A team of researchers decided to take a group of pre-school children and teach them all about healthy eating. Over a two week period, they were given nine 30 minute interactive lessons. At the end of the instruction period, these children were able to identify which snack choices were healthier and even indicated a preference form them when asked. But, as they say, the proof is in the pudding.

The researchers then offered children the actual food for a snack. Guess what? The majority of the children chose the unhealthy snack, regardless of what they told the researchers!

With youth on their side, children tend to feel invincible. Nutrition information is irrelevant to them.

It’s still important to teach children how food affects our bodies but we need to use language that they will identify with. Instead of simply telling your child “eat this, it’s good for you!” explain to them what benefit this food will provide them in their everyday lives.

For example:

  • Vegetables give us vitamins that help our eyes to see so that we can read books, play games, and watch TV.
  • Milk gives us minerals to grow strong healthy bones so that we can run and play.
  • Bread gives us energy so that we can dance and play sports.
  • Meat gives us proteins to build muscle so that we become stronger.
  • Fish gives us fat to build our brains so that we can learn new things.

List 3 foods your child is still learning to like and the benefits these foods would provide in their everyday lives.