Importance of involving children in the different steps of meal preparation
Children’s nutrition education is one of the main tools to improving their health. However, what is and what is not nutrition education is still quite confused. Nutrition education is not teaching children the nutrient content of different foods. Children don’t have control of their behaviours to let this issue drive their decisions, and overall in a world where the offer of junk foods is so pervasive, long-standing and so appealing.
Nutrition education is not either informing them that some foods are good or bad for their future health. Children don’t have the comprehension nor the feeling of their future, especially if the future is related to their health. Unfortunately this meaning belongs only to chronic sick children who wonder whether they will be able to overcome their problems.
Nutrition education is working in such a way to make healthy foods appealing, familiar, and tasty, in order to let children spontaneously choose “good foods” where “good” also means tasty and healthy. To reach this goal the three papers presented in this issue are important because they help parents to act positively and not just to teach theoretically.
In conclusion, having healthy foods, mainly vegetables, at home largely visible and available, buying foods with children but without letting them use their “pester power” in supermarkets and cooking with them helps to convince children to eat vegetables and like them. However parents shouldn’t forget that they are the main models for their children and that no child will eat healthy if his/her parents don’t show the same behaviour.