Sharon is World Cancer Research Fund's Health Information Officer. She has a BSc in Nutrition from the University of Surrey, and is passionate about promoting better nutrition and healthy lifestyles for disease prevention.
We know that encouraging young children to snack on healthy food isn’t always easy. If you are dealing with fussy eaters, trying to convince them to snack on vegetables or fruit can sometimes turn snack time into a mission.
Establishing healthy habits
The good news is that encouraging healthy eating from an early age can have a lasting effect on eating habits as an adult.
Worryingly, over a fifth of children in England are overweight or obese by the time they start primary school. However, encouraging healthy eating habits early on means children are more likely to maintain a healthy weight as they grow up, which could reduce their risk of developing several types of cancer later in life.
Giving children nutritious snacks between meals will help to manage hunger and boost their energy levels. Here are a few ways you can encourage little ones to snack smarter:
- Children are more likely to try foods they have helped prepare, so why not get them involved in the kitchen? It’s never too early to involve your children in food preparation – why not download or order our child-friendly recipes?
- Reward children when they try a healthy snack. To encourage little ones to snack healthily, you can request our free Smart Snacking wallchart. Simply email your postal address to firstname.lastname@example.org to receive your free colourful chart, activities and sticker pack.
- If you find it difficult to get your children to try new foods, remember that you might need to offer a new food 10 to 15 times or more before they learn to accept it, so don’t give up hope!
- Setting a good example always helps. Make sure your little ones see you eating these foods, as it will help encourage them to try the foods as well. And don’t forget to praise them when they do!
The Great Grub Club is a free website for children up to 11 years old from the World Cancer Research Fund. It teaches children about healthy eating and being active in a fun way. For more information, visit greatgrubclub.com.