I recently stumbled upon a popular campaign on change.org called Fed Up. Have you seen it? The campaign asks students to submit photos of their school lunches and invites readers to vote on whether or not they would “Eat It” or “Toss It” based on how healthy and/or tasty the meal appears. I had a pretty good laugh scrolling through the photos and captions (“Bug Salad,” anyone?), but it also got me thinking; kids are pretty discriminating when it comes to food! Even the healthiest and tastiest-looking meals on the site received some pretty poor ratings from readers.
For those of you who may be new to the Foundation or unfamiliar with our Soccer for Success program, we’re big believers in healthy eating. A well-balanced diet is essential for top performance on the soccer field, but more importantly, it’s essential for performing your best in school, at work, and everywhere in between. Our Soccer for Success curriculum is designed to teach participants all about nutrition and the importance of maintaining healthy eating habits……But, there’s a catch – healthy food is only healthy if you actually eat it!
As adults, we understand the importance of making healthy food choices (even when we don’t want to), but tell a 10 year-old to pick a kale salad over a slice of pizza and you’ll likely be met with an incredulous glare. More often than not, familiarity will trump health and nutrition – even when they have the knowledge to make a healthier choice. However, as many of Soccer for Success coaches will tell you, getting kids to make healthy choices is often as simple as giving them the opportunity to try something new. Given the chance to “taste test” a new kind of fruit or vegetable, kids are often surprised to discover just how much they enjoy the taste! So while learning to live a healthy lifestyle certainly starts with access to information, it also requires a sense of adventure and a bit of encouragement along the way.
How do you encourage your kids or players to try new foods and make healthy choices? Do you have a favorite kid-approved healthy recipe? Share your ideas below!