In the Classroom: The Fireflies
Eating Right from the Start
written by Lead Teacher Joann Schock
In all the years that I have been teaching and with all the kids that have come through my classroom, I can tell you that everyone is interested in what is good for their bodies. The idea that food can help you to be healthy and strong is fascinating to kids and it makes great conversation.
I encourage you to talk to your young children about food. Here are a few tips to help get you started.
Give them as much information as you can, i.e. milk has calcium and vitamin D, which makes your bones strong. Carrots help your eyes see better. It also is important to explain about sugar and the amount that your body needs. You can mention what happens to your body when you eat too much sugar. It turns to fat, yuck!
Reading labels with your kids is another way to get them to understand about food and its job. Explain to your child that we are going to look at the ingredients and learn about our choices of food. (This is great for building pre-reading skills!).
Reading labels and talking about good food will also help when your child wants something they saw on TV or when with other children. Imagine that your child wants to get those fruity roll up treats. You start by reading the ingredients to find out together that there is really little or no fruit in them. You can then go to the less advertised brand that is made up of all fruit and the compromise should be a bit smoother.
I read that if you give your child a new food for the first time it takes 11 exposures to that food for a child to develop a taste for it. So do not give up on asparagus yet! Try to give one new food and encourage them to try it while explaining some of its benefits. This will give you energy to play!
In the Fireflies, we read the book Green Eggs and Ham by Dr Seuss before we try a new food and joke around with the repetitive phrases in the book, such as "Would you like them in a tree?”
The last idea that most parents forget about is that if you eat the right food, your child will learn this from you! Do you want them to sit down and eat, but you are eating in the car? Do you make healthy choices? Be a good role model for your child.
The best advice I can give is to be happy and healthy together!