The right for food, nourishment and nutrition is essential for each man, woman and child. Food is an essential element, without food and water humans cannot survive. Food is the fuel which nourishes the body. According to UNICEF Realising Children’s Rights to Adequate Nutrition states that: “Inadequate nutrition early in life can cause irreparable damage to the developing brain and body. Poor nutrition can contribute to improper mental and physical development, diminished mental and physical capacity, mental retardation, blindness and the impaired ability to fight infections. On the other side of spectrum, over nutrition can result in an increased risk for obesity and the chronic diseases associated with it. The right to adequate nutrition is therefore a fundamental, foundational right for children. Its fulfilment is essential for life, health, development and dignity. Without these, a child will have difficulty learning, playing, engaging in other childhood activities, becoming a productive member of society in later years and enjoying the full range of human rights to which all humans are entitled”. As parents are we obligated to meet the nutritional rights of children, be advocates for their health and well being, to provide them with nutritious food and to steer them away and protect from unhealthy eating habits. Sadly with modern technology and advances in food processing, we are exposed to wide array of unhealthy foods – processed, convenience foods which are often packed with trans-fat, sugar or salt. Colorants, flavourants and preservatives are added, they lack fibre and nutrients. Protecting our children from these foods from an early age will promote health, instill good eating practices which they will carry on into adulthood and pass onto their children for generations to come. Children learn from example and follow their parents eating patterns. Be an advocate and role model for healthy eating and make nutritious food part of your home, your daily living and lifestyle.
Children have the right to:
Food that is available, offered regularly, consistently and part of a routine.
Food must be accessible when age appropriate, instilling good behaviours that encourage children to self-regulate food intake and eat in response to hunger and nutritional needs.
Food must be stable and continuous. Be organised with grocery shopping, meal preparation and meal provision to ensure a child does not go hungry and to minimise the need for convenience foods.
Food must be wholesome, fresh and rich in nutrients, provided in the original form. Stay away from foods which have undergone a factory process. Include fresh fruits and vegetables, focusing on seasonal varieties. Grow a vegetable garden which will allow access to your home grown produce. Choose fresh cuts of meat. Provide real alive food. Follow in our great grandparents footsteps where meals were sourced from the garden, freshly prepared or cooked and enjoyed as a family.
Protect children from colorants, preservatives, flavourings, trans fats, MSG, sugar and salt.
Provide a balanced diet including a variety of foods from each food group, in the correct portions to meet the age appropriate nutritional requirements.
Provide clean water to maintain hydration, offered regularly throughout the day. Protect children from drinks high in sugar, colourants and or artificial sweeteners.
Promote home cooking and family meal times. Focus on traditional eating habits where meals were a family occasion.
Teach our children about good food and healthy eating. Involve our children in food preparation when age appropriate. Create a good and positive relationship with food. Allow children to enjoy and explore food, to tastes new flavours and textures. To interact with food and use their senses to enjoy them. Flavour foods with herbs, lemon juice and spices. Offer unique food combinations and keep meals a culinary journey.
Be an advocate for our children’s nutrition, giving them the best start at life. Our children are our future, lets protect them and love them and always be a role model for good nutrition.