When working with young people it is important for us to encourage then to have a healthy diet. To do this we must first teach then what that means and encourage them to find out their likes and dislike by offering them choices that they may not have had in the past.
To teach them how to maintain a healthy diet I would first ask the young people what foods they enjoy when they arrive in our care. Once I have this information I can work on introducing then to foods that they will enjoy and other foods to experiment with. By teaching young people what foods are good and what are bad we will be giving them the tools and encouragement they need to be active in maintaining a healthy diet.
Before a young person can maintain a healthy diet themselves they first need to know what foods to eat and what foods to avoid.
Sugary fruit juices
By showing young people these examples they can begin to review their own diets and see where any improvements can be made. It is important to stress that the ‘bad foods’ are not forbidden in any diet and that all foods should be eaten in moderating to maintain a realistic but healthy diet.
Once our young people have got more of an understanding of what healthy eating is I can give them tips on how to make healthy eating easy and achievable.
Tip 1- set achievable goals- I would show the young people how to make small changes over time to make it easier to stick to. This will be done by simplifying the food so that they concentrate on to include some small changes to healthier choices. For example having salad instead of garlic bread with dinner.
Tip 2- everything in moderation- it is important to let the young people know that they can still eat the food sthat they enjoy and that switching to a super healthy diet with no fatty foods is not our target. All food scan be eaten as long as it is in moderation. For example, it would not be acceptable to eat McDonalds for breakfast lunch and dinner but it would also not be advisable to eat only salad during the day as you would be lacking in your daily allowences for things such as protein. I would encourage the young people not to calorie count but to think about what areas of nutrition their meals are covering and what else is needed on a daily basis. I would do this by showing then their guideline daily allowance which is shown on many foods now. (Table below taken from http://www.gdalabel.org.uk/gda/gda_values.aspx)
Guideline Daily Amount Values
Children (5-10 years)
By looking at this we can see where our personal levels are and overtime should see that we are getting closer to the guidelines set above. This should stop the guilty feeling we get when we eat ‘bad foods’ as all food is fine as long as it is in moderation. We also back this up which reduces the pressure on healthy eating on our young people by allowing them to eat take away once a week.
Tip 3- how we eat- as well as looking at what we eat we need to teach the young people about how we eat and what is healthy food patterns. For example we need to emphasis the importance of eating breakfast. It is important as it starts your metabolism in the morning and gets