Yesterday I was able to host a table at a Health Fair for our local Obesity Prevention Network. I love meeting new people and talking about healthy kids and families, so of course I was eager to say yes!
As a dietitian that works with children and families, I am always quick to encourage family meals, meal structure and a division of responsibility with families- NOT just labeling good/bad foods. I want kids to grow up exploring different foods, learning about new food tastes and textures and not having to worry about eating more “good” foods while limiting “bad” foods. Then, it is the parent’s job to try and provide a variety of foods and food groups at meals, trusting their children will grow in a healthy manner leaning to eat until they are satisfied. The division of responsibility falls on the parents to decide WHERE, WHEN and WHAT foods are included with meals and snacks (having set meals & snacks, not grazing all day) and the children decide HOW MUCH and WHETHER they eat at all. Check out Ellyn Satter for more details.
For this health fair my big focus was Family Meals. That is one of the first priorities for families for improving everyone’s eating. Once that is mastered, parents can focus on providing the major food groups at meals/snacks. Some of the fun things I brought were:
– Felt food boards for kids to play with
– Sticker Sample Meals (I had my 5 year old help me with some fun Melissa & Doug meal plates & stickers)
– Business cards
– Children’s books that can be used for fun ways to introduce children to different foods
– My new favorite quote, “All great change in America begins at the dinner table” found in Ronald Reagan’s farewell speech from office
I was glad to be part of a great message to the public and other health professionals in the community. I will call this a health fair demonstration a success!