Quality family time is key for the development and wellbeing of children and their families, and a lot of these moments naturally occur around mealtimes. This makes mealtimes an ideal opportunity to set aside some regular ‘family time,’ where communication can occur alongside eating delicious, healthy meals together. Of course the food we eat and the nutrition it provides also plays a central role in keeping families healthy as well as happy.
The importance of food is a constant across our entire lives. From babies and toddlers, through those crucial teenage years and way beyond into adulthood and old age, nutrition plays a vital role in health and wellbeing. Food helps us to live, to grow, to learn and to exercise, but eating well and enjoying a healthy relationship with food can also bring colour and fun to all our lives too. I truly believe that learning to love good food and passing this enjoyment on to the next generation can help set the foundations for long-term healthy eating.
Research shows us that it’s never too early to start talking about and instilling healthy eating behaviours in our young children. For example the foods eaten by a mother during pregnancy and breastfeeding, as well as the foods introduced during weaning, can all have a significant impact on a child’s food preferences later on in life.
However, as we get older we will all go on to develop our own likes and dislikes when it comes to food, and sometimes it can be a challenge to always make the healthiest choices.
On top of this, as children get older outside influencers and influences also become more prominent. This means that family mealtimes and the food on offer at home becomes more important than ever. Even if parents have less control outside of the home, the ideas and culture around food that is established at home is likely to stay with children as they grow and become independent adults themselves.
The best thing we can do as parents is to be positive role models when it comes to food – eat the foods that you want to…