Fruits and Veggies

Teaching Canadian Kids about Proper Diet

More and more people all over the world are becoming health conscious. However, not as many individuals are taking the time to teach their children about how to choose healthy foods. According to Health Canada, one in every five Canadian children under the age of eight is getting more than the recommended amount of energy each day. On the other hand, there are a large number of kids are failing to get an adequate amount of energy. These issues are associated with major health problems, the adverse effects of which are often unnoticed until the damage has been done. This is why it is so important for parents and educators to teach children about getting a balanced diet. They should also begin promoting healthy eating from as early an age as possible. It's not just about setting a good example, but also about providing information and raising awareness. You should consult Health Canada's Food Guide for more detailed information and precise quantities. Here are some ways to promote good eating habits and teaching children about eating well.

At Home

Parents should lead in the efforts to healthy eating. Having meals together at the dinner table will be far better than eating in front of the TV. Kids should see adults eating fruits and vegetable to be more likely to eat them too. If you are a busy parent that has little time for preparing healthy meals, don't compromise your child's health by opting for fast food. Instead, cook large quantities when you are free and freeze it for use during the week.

Create a meal plan to ensure that you provide a balanced diet for your child. You should ensure that they get the right amount of vitamins and nutrients each day. Remember that these requirements will change as children grow up. Ensure that the meal plans include healthy snacks. Involve your child in creating the plans so that they can learn how to be responsible for their diet. Likewise, take them grocery shopping with you and use the time to teach them about different vegetables and allow them to pick something. Be patient and take the time to explain the role of various food items, especially the often forgotten fruits and vegetables. Be sure to encourage your child to drink water over other beverages that will not be as hydrating.

Don't force your child to eat or to have more than they want to eat, as this can put them off certain foods more easily. It's okay if your kids eat more for one meal than they do at others. With newer foods that may be rejected, offer the item again another time. Sometimes children need a few tries before they get used to a new food item.

At School

Children who get a proper diet are not just physically healthy, but mentally healthy as well. For kids to have a good learning experience, they need to eat right. A good diet can significantly improve memory, concentration, and performance. Educators should take care to promote healthy eating habits and offer healthy foods at schools. Other efforts should include awarding non-food items or play time as prizes or rewards rather than candy or other unhealthy foods. Teachers should be well versed in nutrition and be able to teach appropriate practices accordingly. If you are an educator, you can speak to your local health organization about teaching resources and nutrition programs.

Apps

Nowadays, kids are especially tech savvy. As an educator or a parent, the best way to encourage any good habit or behavior is to take advantage of this fact. There are several apps available for smartphones, tabs, and desktops that can help to promote and keep up healthy eating. Easy Eater, Healthy Heroes, and Perfect Picnic are just a few to try out. Some are even suitable for very young children, such as Veggie Circus Farm, which can teach children about vegetables from as young as two years of age. The issues of poor nutrition and bad eating habits in children can easily be corrected by educators and parents alike. More importantly, it is a social responsibility to do so. As increasing numbers of Canadians seek to get healthier, it is vital to ensure that kids are granted the opportunity and information to do so too.

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Is the Cost of Organic Foods in Canada Justified?

When most people think of organic food, they think of food that is, as a whole, better for you. Another thing that springs immediately to mind, however, is the rather high price of organic food. In fact, the number one reason for more people not eating organic food is the increased cost. According to research conducted, it was estimated that organic food can cost up to 47 percent more than conventional groceries. However, it is more than just that these foods are more expensive than traditional fare. Many people remain skeptical about the actual nutrition values in organic food. Therefore, it is time to determine whether this price difference is justified.

Why Does Organic Cost More?

First things first, let's take a look at why organic food costs more than 'regular' food. Organic farmers have to go to great lengths to ensure that there are no pesticides or synthetic products used on their produce. This means that they have to spend more time and money on their crops, which in turn translates to a higher price tag for consumers. Organic farmers need special land, specific techniques, and natural pesticides to be able to be considered organic. All of this takes an increased amount of time, effort, and expenses. Furthermore, if these farmers hope to be certified by Canadian authorities, they have to pay for the privilege. Small farms are charged $750 for their first year while organic processing centres will have to pay about $1250. Finally, organic farmers have to constantly educate themselves to keep up with ongoing trends. More importantly, they have to ensure that all of their employees are properly educated as well.

Is Organic Better?

One thing you cannot argue with is that organic food does contain fewer pesticides than traditional food. Organic farmers have to follow incredibly strict regulations and rules if they hope to have their food considered organic. As such, they are not allowed to use chemical pesticides or give their animals artificial stimulants or hormones. This means that if you eat organic, you are likely to be exposed to fewer harmful chemicals and substances. With traditional food, farmers use pesticides as well as additives. This helps them to bring food more quickly to stores and ensures that the produce does not go bad too quickly either. When you eat more 'regular' food you are at a higher risk of consuming these pesticides. Of course, in the same vein, even regular farmers have to adhere to certain conditions. This means that although there may be pesticides in your food, they are still at safe levels. Nonetheless, it is not difficult to see that organic wins this round of the argument.

What most people are not clear on, however, is whether organic food is really higher in nutrition. While many people have touted the wholesomeness of organic food, the actual nutrition value is not addressed too often. This is because the actual evidence here is not very telling. Although there have been many studies conducted, there is no conclusive evidence that organic food is actually healthier than traditional food. In a study recently published by the British Journal of Nutrition, researchers stated that organic foods may have more Omega 3 fatty acids and antioxidants. However, vitamin levels between both types of food remain essentially the same. Conversely, traditional wheat has been found to have a higher level of proteins. Experts have also argued that even if there were nutritional benefits to eating organic, they may not necessarily be high enough to actually make a difference.

What Does This All Mean?

The most important thing to do is to make sure that you have a balanced diet. This means eating plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits, regardless of whether they are organic or not. Therefore, the actual content of your food is more important than the organic component. Nevertheless, it cannot be denied that eating organic can have certain benefits. This does not mean that you have to go completely organic. Instead, try to buy only certain types of fruits and vegetables from the organic section. This includes apples, grapes, peaches, celery, and strawberries. These foods tend to contain higher percentages of pesticide residue. In the end, it is up to you to decide whether or not you can justify the amount that you will be spending on your groceries. If you cannot afford organic food, you really do not have to worry about losing out. On the other hand, if you can afford it, you should try to add a few things to your weekly groceries. You can now decide whether or not you should pay more for organic food. You can weigh the pros and cons and make the right decision for you and your family.