Thursday, 12 July 2012

A child’s habits reveal all: parenting styles influence a child’s attitude towards food

It is likely that many of the attitudes and perceptions you have will in some way be influenced by those of your parents. Your eating habits are an excellent example of this. Often, the foods and flavours you have enjoyed (and equally, disliked) from both your childhood to the present, will have been shaped by the diet provided to you by your parents. Equally, the attitude you develop in your child towards their own eating habits will affect their perceptions to food both in youth and in later life. 

It is therefore important to encourage your child to have an interest in healthy eating from a young age, which will hopefully provide them with a passion for food that will remain with them for the rest of their lives. In turn, this should provide them with the necessary skills to make healthy food choices which should allow them to live as healthy a life as possible. 

There are a variety of ways you can encourage children to make healthy food choices. For example, you could:

Prepare fresh meals together and delegate tasks. Children love cooking  when it makes them feel important, but hate it if they are made to do it as  a chore. Make it fun! After taking part in sessions run by The Mini Cooking Club, parents have commented on how enthusiastic and eager their children are to help in the kitchen at home.

Research healthy eating together.  Set your child a task to find a  healthy snack in a book, or online and then go buy it together. Not only does this allow children to make independent decisions, but it may also reduce their interest in junk food.

Explore your local food market or inner city farm. There are a number of farms within London, such as Vauxhall City Farm. These may encourage your child to take an interest in the whole food chain, not just the final product in the supermarket.

Finally, the most important message is to relax! Food is fun and interesting and it is important to let children discover this for themselves! 

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