Eating well – advice from the Early Years Nutrition Partnership (EYNP)

Eating well – advice from the Early Years Nutrition Partnership (EYNP)

How we speak about meals is a vital a part of how we create an atmosphere that promotes wholesome consuming. By Xanthi Maragkoudaki, Early Years Nutrition Partnership registered vitamin skilled.

Providing kids with nutritious meals is the primary a part of making a wholesome consuming atmosphere, whereas the second half is expounded to how we speak about meals.

We typically hear folks saying issues like, ‘Please end your meal after which you’ll be able to have pudding’, or ‘You can’t have chocolate because it’s dangerous for you’.

Offering meals as a reward
We typically promise kids a deal with if they’re ‘good’, however these treats are regularly the meals that we label ‘dangerous’, similar to chocolate or ice cream. So, think about a toddler’s confusion if you reward a optimistic behaviour with one thing that normally has detrimental associations.

Children want constant messages and steering from adults to intrinsically information their very own behaviour via self-reflection and management.

Finishing your meal earlier than having dessert
Asking kids to complete all their meal as a way to have dessert can impression them in a detrimental manner. They shouldn’t be pushed to eat greater than they need, and we shouldn’t ask them to complete the ‘arduous activity’ of consuming their regular meal as a way to get to their purpose! Instead, it’s higher to ask kids whether or not they’re full or not and supply mild encouragement.

You shouldn’t speak once we are consuming
Telling kids that they need to eat in silence may be damaging. Mealtimes are an necessary place for social interactions. We eat collectively to rejoice, to spend time as household and even to shut enterprise offers. Mealtimes are additionally a good way to encourage studying. Discussing with kids the place meals comes from and the way it tastes can even assist kids familiarise with completely different meals and improve their dietary vary.

Overall, being optimistic and interested in meals helps kids construct good and wholesome relationships with it, serving to them make higher selections. When they nourish their minds and our bodies, they study extra successfully.


  • Fedewa A and Davis M (2015) ‘How Food as a Reward Is Detrimental to Children’s Health, Learning, and Behavior’, Journal of School Health, 85 (9), 648-658
  • Roberts L, Marx J and Musher-Eizenman D (2018) ‘Using meals as a reward: An examination of parental reward practices’, Appetite, 120 (1), 318-326

If you want to talk about any of the problems raised on this column, please contact Jonathan Lucas at good [email protected]. For extra data, go to www.eyn

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