Helping Kids Problem-Solve

nutkidsThe school year is in full-swing right now, which means those of you with kids are dealing with homework, extracurriculars and…the hastily assembled meals and snacks that go along with it. You also may be seeing more clients asking for help keeping the family’s nutritional needs met despite hectic, on-the-go lifestyles.

As parents, we know a key element of keeping kids on track nutritionally is to involve them in the process–let them help with gardening, cooking and…how about doing some foraging for wild mushrooms while we’re at it? The truth is, no matter how much we may want to do these things with our kids, and how it might be possible over the summer or on the weekends, the truth is just getting through the school week without relying on take-out for every meal can be tough for some families. How, then, can we get our kids–or our clients’ kids–to help in the process of p roblem-solving our eating challenges?

Well, help is on the way! This week, we’re featuring one of my favorite CE courses by one of my favorite authors. Connie Evers, author of How to Teach Nutrition to Kids, is an immensely practical and experienced kid nutritionist, with a wealth of ideas to help your clients, or your own family, figure out how to feed ourselves better and solve some of our more vexing food selection and prep problems in the meantime. Here are a few of Connie’s suggestions from the How to Teach Nutrition to Kids book and course:

  • Create an Advisory Council to help critique the food environment and offer suggestions. Yes, kids are on the Advisory Council! Let them offer suggestions on how the kitchen could be stocked better with quick and easy foods they like. Teach kids how to pack nutritious snacks and lunches by themselves. Connie uses the example of the school lunchroom, but it can easily be adapted to a family setting
  • Use time with your kids (maybe in the car on the way to soccer practice) to play ‘What Would You Do?’ Connie provides loads of great scenarios around nutrition and meal planning to get kids, tweens and teens to solve some common problems they might encounter in everyday life. Or you can just make up your own, using your own family’s experiences. For example: “You have to rush to make it to soccer practice on time. You usually grab a can of chips but halfway through practice you say your stomach hurts. How could you solve this problem?”
  • Remember FIB! Fun, Interactive and Behavioral are the key words you need to remember when teaching nutrition to kids of all ages, according to Evers. Pick a food-related family challenge you have and then keep FIB in mind when asking your kids to help you solve it. For example, if your kids need to eat right at 6 to make their ballet class, but you don’t get home till 5:45, instead of grabbing take-out, make one night Kids Cooking Night and have your kids be in charge of dinner–FIB at its finest! Have them decide on a meal ahead of time that’s healthy and well-balanced and have the necessary ingredients on hand. (Note: this does not have to involve actually cooking–my kids make flatbread sandwiches with a raw veggie platter on their own and then I toast the sandwiches when they are done so everyone stays safe.)

Encourage experimentation with your clients and your own kids and remember that every challenge can be overcome. Here at Skelly Skills, we designed the CE course for How to Teach Nutrition to Kids to give you the opportunity to help your family or clients problem-solve using Connie’s techniques, ideas and strategies.  Check out her wonderful book for more activities, dialogue and suggestions and get 20 CPEUs for only $99.99! As you know, teaching kids to eat well is one of the best gifts you can give them. We are here to help you do this.

Healthy Regards,

Sheila