A Gentle Approach to Eating – PROJECT MUNCH #2 Role Modelling
Nutritional Therapist Sophie Tyner, from Grow Nutrition is passionate about empowering parents to raise happy, healthy and resilient kids supported by their food choices. She applies a gentle approach, sharing experiences and engaging all of a child’s senses when exploring accessible, affordable, REAL foods that will give them a head start in life.
I had to snap this image after listening to my son playing with his Lego figures, making them power smoothies to give them energy to defend the world.
Would he have constructed power smoothies if his mum wasn’t a Nutritional Therapist?
This ultimately depends upon what habits and behaviours he is observing as he develops and grows. Role modelling is an immensely powerful tool to support our children with being open to new food choices.
Role modelling isn’t about telling our child to do something, it’s about them watching and learning from you in a safe, non-pressured way. It is an effective gentle approach, sub-consciously influencing habits and behaviours.
Have you considered if you are a healthy role model for your child?
This isn’t meant as a criticism in any way. We all have our own viewpoints of what is healthy and our own abilities as to whether we can achieve this, however, if we are wanting our children to make the right choices when it comes to their eating, then we need to consider the way we approach food too.
Ideally, we would want to be someone who enjoys a variety of foods but in fact the reality is that many adults have food texture and flavour aversions as well as concrete habits about own daily menu choices. If this is the case it really is worth considering what our children observe. Children are like sponges, they pick up habits and develop behaviours from what they observe, therefore, it is important that we provide them with opportunities to copy healthy eating habits.
Take some time to see if you can make changes to your approach to eating, being descriptive about what you eat, using all of your senses as described in my last post.
Choose a mealtime where you sit together and make little changes so that your child can observe you choosing more variety and show them in a positive way what it is like for you to experiment with new flavours and foods. Take the emphasis away from what they are eating and gradually make changes to your diet to enable your child to observe and learn.
Start from your baseline of eating and make one small change at a time, this could be by adding an extra portion of vegetables with your dinner, trying out a new recipe, adding variety to your usual breakfast routine – it really will go a long way in their eyes and in influencing their approach to food.
As adults, for our food to be appealing the presentation of it is very important. So then it’s hardly a surprise that children are no different. Kids snacks and meals need colour, variety and be presented in an appealing way especially to help children enjoy healthy food choices.
In our house munchies are at their greatest after school, so this is one way of keeping healthy snacks interesting. I change the options on a daily basis to keep them keen ensuring I put in some quality protein options such as hummus, half a boiled egg, a slice of cooked chicken breast, a small portion of nuts etc to keep them going until dinner. Does anyone else have any good snack ideas? Please share if you do.