Should teachers be allowed to influence the diet of the children in their care?
Whether you’re a teacher or a parent, Clinical Nutritionist at Dubai’s Mediclinic Welcare Hospital Amera Varghese has some tips for you to encourage young ones to eat better. Schools: • Provide healthy, delicious and kid-friendly menus at cafeterias. Promote the availability of healthy snack foods with whole grains, low fat dairy, fruits, vegetables or protein foods as their main ingredients. • Provide healthy choices for lunches because, more than at other meals, kids have control over what they eat because they’re away from home. • Set up fruit and vegetable bars at the school canteen and offer healthy food options in vending machines. • Educate students about what types of food are healthy. This will give them confidence to make good choices • Start offering healthy, nutritious food for special days or events in school and organise healthy days at school to demonstrate the importance of healthy eating. • Put up posters around school focusing on healthy eating. • Educate children about portion control. • Get students involved in cafeteria menu planning. • Encourage the growing of food in school gardens as this can be a hands on learning opportunity that can be integrated into a wide range of areas. Parents: • Teach your child what types of food are healthy. This will give them confidence to make good choices. • Pack healthy foods in their school lunchboxes or as snacks and as party food. • Support healthy school activities. • Get your kids involved in planning meals and take them grocery shopping to have real hands on experience. • Make healthy snacks available at home and give them the freedom to choose. If you keep healthy food at hand, children will eat it as it is available. • Don’t place restrictions on food as this can increase the chance of a child developing an eating disorder. • Always praise healthy food choices and don’t criticise any unhealthy food choices they may make. • Set a strong example at home. Be a role model because kids will always try to copy the adults and this will affect the choices they make now and in the future.