Children & Nutrition: Understanding Energy Balance
We all want our children to make healthy choices when it comes to taking care of themselves. I have always found that when they understand the reasons behind the choices we want them to make, they are more enthusiastic and empowered to do the right thing.
It is for this reason that I am thrilled to team up with Together Counts, which is a nationwide program inspiring active and healthy living. They have incredible resources, activities, and printables for helping to teach children about developing healthy habits.
Sometimes we assume that children understand the basic concepts of nutrition. Although we talk about healthy eating all the time at home, I realized that the girls didn’t have a solid grasp of the concept that the food we eat gives us energy that we use to live active lives.
So when I found the lesson on Energy Balance over at Together Counts, we dove right in. They provide a great printable that lists different types of foods and how many calories they contain, as well as a list of activities and how many calories our bodies burn—energy in, energy out.
The girls created a table on our chalkboard and started matching foods to how many activities one would have to do to create an energy balance. Once we got past bananas and carrots, they were surprised to find our that in order to balance out the energy they take in from eating a hot dog, they would need to walk, ride a bike, and ice skate for thirty minutes each!
They were so excited about the concept of energy balance that they started to read the labels on the back of their favorite snacks to see how many calories they contained. They discovered that to balance out the dried mango they were munching on during the activity, they would need to swim for 30 minutes and play the piano for 30 more—sounds like a lovely way to spend the afternoon…
I love that we now have a common language to refer back to when discussing the food choices that we make on a daily basis.