Three ideas to nurture your child’s love of wholesome food

Originally published on http://playgroupwa.com.au/little-things-blog

Creating a family food culture based on a love of wholesome food can have lasting effects on health and family relationships. Learning to appreciate good food from a young age will help to ensure that eating continues to be one of each day’s pleasures as a child grows to adulthood.

The Reggio Emilia Approach for early learning has strong roots within Italian culture where the essence of cooking is simplicity and basic cooking techniques are designed to enhance the natural flavours of the freshest seasonal ingredients. Here are three ideas that you might enjoy with your family and which may help to create a culture of wholesome food joy.

1. Create food rituals

Family celebrations are a wonderful opportunity to create rituals around food. Let your children design their own menus to celebrate birthdays and other important occasions. Get your children involved in creating the food from scratch and setting the table for the family to enjoy the meal together. Create little signatures to your celebrations that make it fun eg. Lighting candles; printing your own menus for each setting; saying grace prior to the meal; creating a special music playlist. Repeat it often so that it becomes a tradition your children embrace.

2. Explore a farmers market

Find a local, vibrant farmers market to explore with the family. Take the time to enjoy the experience as it stimulates all the senses. Taste the samples. Speak with the farmers. Re-connect with the locality and seasonality of food. Help them to understand what is real food (and what is not). Get the children involved with choosing and purchasing your family food.

Paying attention to all that you see, hear, feel, taste and touch will support your family to embrace a curiosity and love for fresh, local and seasonal ingredients.

3. Take pleasure in your own food!

As a parent or caregiver, your interactions with food are a critical reference point for a child’s relationship with nutrition. Enjoying a soulful, satisfying meal that is as good to eat as it is for you sets a critical example of the importance of wholesome food. Invest time to create as many meals as possible from scratch. Sit down – preferably as a family – to enjoy your meal. Be mindful of the experience on every level so that you are continually demonstrating how you immerse yourself in the pleasure of the experience.

The education of taste is reinforced at Nido Early School where we take pride in sharing the joy of wholesome and delicious food served fresh every day from our Cucina. Opening new centres soon in Hocking and Willetton, Nido Early School offers early education and care for children six weeks to school age. Embracing play-based learning and the world-class Reggio Emilia Approach, Nido Early school offers full day kindergarten places and meaningful learning experiences that support your child to flourish.

Cu | ci | na noun An Italian word meaning kitchen, cooking, cookery or cooking style.