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Nutrition Education for Parents: A Game Changer

Have you seen the latest dietary information about what toddler’s are eating in America? If you have, you know it’s not good. In fact, it’s appalling.

In a nutshell, more than 40% of children under age two are eating sweets, salty packaged food, and too much fat in their diet. They aren’t getting enough vitamin D, iron, zinc and other important nutrients.

And by the looks of it, they fail to get adequate healthy fats such as DHA and other omega-3 fatty acids, which are keys to brain growth and development.

two girls on a bench: nutrition education for parentsAlthough I’m talking about toddlers here, kids and teens are no better in their eating habits and food choices, in fact, their nutritional report card is even worse.

What’s the connection?

Lay a Healthy Foundation for Food 

The foundation for food choices, eating habits, and activity isn’t being laid properly during infancy and toddlerhood.

It makes sense: When little kids start out eating poorly and have unhealthy lifestyle habits, they become kids and teens that eat poorly and have unhealthy lifestyle habits.

{And guess what? Those kids and teens who eat poorly and have unhealthy lifestyle habits often become adults who eat poorly and have unhealthy lifestyle habits}.

So, getting the food system, the feeding strategy and the healthy lifestyle infrastructure set up early on is key.

Lack of Nutrition Knowledge 

Perhaps one of the big reasons so many kids start on shaky nutrition ground is the lack of education their parents receive about nutrition and feeding. It’s always been an irony to me that new parents spend weeks learning how to deliver a baby but not how to feed it, something that is critical to health—now and later.

New parents spend weeks learning how to deliver a baby, but get almost no training in feeding their child. Click To Tweet

Pediatricians

Even our trusted medical doctors may not be the resource many parents think they are. Doctors are lucky if they get one course about nutrition in medical school.

As the first line of nutrition information for families of young children, some pediatricians amass their own nutrition knowledge–thankfully, they know how important it is.

Even the informal ways of conveying good feeding practices and sensible nutrition has been lost in our modern world.

Relatives and Family Members

Feeding advice from relatives has been lost in the wake of a transient and mobile community, and the modern mom may have less time to invest in learning about nutrition and feeding her children.

Schools and Nutrition Education

Mandatory home economics classes {hello those of you who were born before 1970, you know what these are!}, where students were taught how to cook, change a diaper, and other basic parenting skills in high school was nixed long ago.

Do Parents Really Know How to Nourish Kids?

Guess what? This lack of parent and health provider nutrition education is catching up to our kids. Parents who aren’t sure how to feed their kids, what to offer, how to cook, how to set limits while feeding positively—all of these basic nutrition and feeding skills are missing for some parents—and it makes raising healthy kids harder.

I could go on and on, but let me just say this: Our system for educating parents on nutrition and feeding is severely lacking. Our system for educating key healthcare providers in childhood nutrition is at best, lacking.

Our system for educating parents on nutrition and feeding is severely lacking. #nutritioneducation #parents #feedingkids #thenourishedchild Click To Tweet

If you think for one minute we will be able to climb the mountain of childhood nutrition challenges including obesity, nutrient deficiencies, behavioral problems, picky eating {and much more!} with articles and blog posts, books and one hour lectures, you’re wrong.

We are wrong.

Early Nutrition Education is the Game Changer

There’s a reason we put children through 12 years of school—it changes them. It prepares them for the world—for college or a job.

Education is knowledge. It brings awareness. It builds confidence.

We have to start educating parents about nutrition and feeding using systematic changes early on —perhaps even educating teens and young adults before they become parents—so they know, are aware, and are confident in helping their future children grow and become healthy adults.

This, I believe will be the game changer families need to raise healthy kids.

I feel so passionately about this, I spoke on the TEDx stage about it. 

Did you have a nutrition education before you became a parent? 

P.S. Check out How to Nourish a Healthy Child.

Send Me How to Nourish a Healthy Child Today! 

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