Wondering how to get your fussy children to eat right? Read what Neelanjana Singh, author of ‘Our Kids Eat Everything’ has to say about the matter. 

When parents ask me how they can cultivate healthy behaviour in their children, I always say the same thing: the most effective way of teaching a child something, is to do it yourself.

Nothing can beat being a good role model, especially when it comes to teaching children healthy eating practices. And while there’s no place to beat home when it comes to initial lessons, parents must rely on schools to take their children’s learning forward.

Indeed, schools are the best place to strengthen healthy eating habits.  Here are some activities that parents can initiate, along with the school administration, to promote a healthier future for their children.

Top view couple cooking together delicious and healthy dinner on a wooden table in home kitchen

#1 ‘Create your own dish’ competitions

Parents can collaborate with schools, in helping come up with tasty, healthy dishes for their children. So, dedicated events to showcase these dishes, could be included in school festivals/events.

Guidelines for the competition would be prepared in advance, with an emphasis on blending traditional food, to make it contemporary and healthy.

Furthermore, prizes would be awarded to the five best dishes. Additionally, award winning recipes could be incorporated into the school cafeterias for a fixed period, so that they can be sampled.

#2 Nutrition themed calendar

Creating a calendar that includes sessions dedicated to food and nutrition, are sure to boost parent interest in healthy eating habits. Following this, parents meetings could be set up on a monthly/bimonthly basis (perhaps on PTM days) to interact on topical issues of nutrition.

A popular theme could be circulated beforehand, and a nutrition experts would moderate the discussions during these meetings.

#3 Tiffin Ambassadors

Once in a month, a specific food item can be selected, and parents asked to send a tiffin food that meets certain criteria (such as no frying or no maida). This would be based on the seasonal availability of fruits and vegetables.

#4 Photography contest

Real photographs with appropriate subtitles to promote healthy eating can be a part of parent-related activities. Selected photographs will be displayed on the school notice boards and magazines.

Photo themes would revolve around healthy eating, or risky eating behavior. The best pictures could be awarded prizes, at the school annual day or another appropriate event.

#5 Food Labs

The labs could be virtual, or in real time. Once in a month, as a part of extra-curricular activity, parent and child teams would be invited to demonstrate tasty dishes, that kids enjoy.

The three best dishes during each such lab, can be discussed in the morning assembly. In addition, recipes for these could be circulated.

#6 Race to health

Sports Day provides the ideal opportunity to set up a counter with games related to food. One such activity could be ‘Make a healthy plate’, using foods from different regions of the country.

Neelanjana Singh- Our Kids eat everything

Neelanjana Singh is the President, Indian Dietetics Association, Delhi Chapter, and a Nutrition Therapist affiliated with PSRI Hospital & Heinz Nutri Life Clinic, and an author.