Healthy Eating for Happy Bellies

Our most recent parent engagement evening was an opportunity for a meet and greet with staff and board members that also featured and interactive presentation from our cook, Jenny Arena, with tips for developing healthy eating habits for young children.   The presentation entitled “Healthy Eating for Happy Bellies” also gave parents and children alike, the opportunity to take part in preparing and enjoying a healthy chocolate avocado pudding.

Throughout the presentation Jenny discussed ways to improve nutrition and develop healthy eating habits; ways to incorporate fruits and vegetables into daily meals and get daily nutrients naturally; and how to help children regulate their appetite and listen to their hunger cues.

The following are some of the points highlighted in the presentation:

  • Read labels to look for hidden sugars and other unwanted ingredients, even foods that are labelled as “healthy” can be misleading
  • Teach children to be media-savvy and help them understand that advertising is not designed with their well-being in min
  • Look at your daily menu and try to make healthier substitutions for processed food
  • While we should try and teach our children to appreciate vegetables in their natural form there are some great ways to hide veggies into food; for example, pureeing vegetables into sauces, soups and dips, adding fruits and vegetables into smoothies, and incorporating fruits, vegetables and even legumes into desserts (such as the chocolate avocado pudding that was prepared
  • Involve children in shopping, menu planning and cooking as this makes them more likely to try new food
  • Avoid strategies such as offering food as a reward, having strict rules about good and bad foods, pushing them to finish a meal and bribing them which can be ineffective and harmful
  • Try and slow down and eat together as a family as often as possible
  • Have patience when introducing new foods, it can take child ten or more exposures before they embrace it
  • Set an example and adopt healthy eating habits as a parent so children can model your behavior

 It was an engaging and above-all appetizing evening.  We look forward to welcoming you to the next one.