Emma Martin- Edible Education
Emma is a mum of 2 young children and is passionate about nutrition in children.
Edible Education is where nutrition and education merge. It focuses on
educating children about healthy eating and where food comes from.
Emma has written a book called The Healthy Harvest and it is also
accompanied by an Activity Book.
We are quite an active family, so weekends are often spent going on family bike rides, to the scooter park, the local playground or the swimming pool. We are also fortunate to have a great backyard where the kids have space to run, ride their scooters and jump on the trampoline. Both my children (6 years old and 4 years old) do swimming lessons, which is not only important to keep fit but is a vital life skill. My son is now at the age of having after school activities so he also does tennis and soccer once a week.
If your kids could choose dinner, what would it be? What would your choice be?
My children have very different taste preferences to each other, and to be honest, if my children had to choose dinner, my son would want pasta (any type) and my daughter would want fish fingers (good thing I make my own!). My healthy choice for dinner would be a vegetable frittata or vegetable quiche (with whole meal or spelt base). Both are loaded with many, and any type of vegetables, and contain protein and calcium. It is also easy to make, so it ticks a lot of boxes for us during the week when life is busy.
What's something you think is important towards supporting a child's emotional development ?
Firstly, in our family we try to talk about our emotions and put a 'name' to how we are feeling. Rather than letting a situation get out of control, it helps the children explain to us how they are feeling when they are feeling it. We also give lots of cuddles, kisses and saying 'I love you'. Communication is also very important so the children grow up knowing they can trust us and always feel they can talk to us about any problems they are having. We have a ritual every night where we tell each other our best and worst part of our day. It's a great way to create a discussion with each other and solve any potential problems.
If other parents haven't started their healthy food journey yet but really want to, what is the first step you would recommend they start with?
I would recommend parents to use commonsense and DON'T omit whole food groups – moderation is both healthy from a dietary and emotional viewpoint. Don't be tempted to jump on the bandwagon of the latest fad diet. Instead, look at the Australian Dietary Guidelines (ADG) and use them as a GUIDE to assist you with what types of food you should be eating, and how often, as part of a healthy diet. The ADG are based on scientific evidence, from the review of over 55,000 scientific journal articles so it is a great place to start. In addition, I would suggest that parents be realistic about what a healthy diet actually is. It's important for children to create a healthy relationship with food and their bodies, so aim to treat your family's food journey about health, not body image. Don't label foods as 'good' or 'bad', instead help children understand that there are foods that you should eat more often than others as certain foods provide more nutritional value. As long as kids eat these foods the majority of the time, then that is a good balance.
Best parenting tip for Healthy Fit Kids you can pass on?
My children are still young, so my parenting skills are still being honed! However from a nutrition and health perspective the tips I can provide are:
- Lead by example. Both my husband and I are very active and eat well, so we try to encourage this behavior in our children.
- Guide kids, don't force them. I don't force my children to eat anything they don't want to, but I provide healthy foods and encourage them to eat it. Whether they do eat it or not is up to them, but by making kids feel like they have the power to choose, encourages them to learn to make healthy choices.
- Be aware of how our relationship with our body and diet affects our children. I don't talk about my body in a negative way or based on how it looks. We talk about how our body feels, not if it is fat or thin. We talk about eating healthy foods and exercising to be strong and fit, not thin.