Nutrition Education Program Coordinator
University of California Cooperative Extension
4145 Branch Center Road
Sacramento CA. 95827
Based in the University of California Cooperative Extension in Sacramento County, Hirsch has her work cut out for her. Besides working to educate children and parents with nutrition classes, she also helps train agency staff and teacher/para educators on basic nutrition. The goal of her office is to help adults and their families establish and maintain healthy eating habits and physically active lifestyles.
Having gone through the EFNEP program, 85 percent of adult participants improved their food budgeting, 90 percent improved their nutrition, and 70 percent improved in food safety. These benefits influence the behavior of all adults and children in the household. Participants of this program save an average of $9 per person a month on groceries. If you would like more information on the nutrition classes they have, or training for educators, contact her at the number above. Here are five healthy tips from Hirsch on helping with your picky eaters.
Start having your child involved in the planning, selecting and preparing of the meal. They can add ingredients, wash vegetables and fruits, stir, watch the timer and lick the bowl. Don’t forget to make it fun. Children will often eat what they have helped prepare.
Enjoy the company of each other while eating family meals together, when you can go over the events of the day. This is a time for the family to bond, while you teach them healthy eating habits and the importance of the family eating together.
Offer the same foods to the children as you offer to the adults. When they see the adults are eating it, they are more inclined to follow suit. Children learn by observing the adults around them.
Don’t use food as a reward or a punishment. It can create unhealthy behaviours. Instead, make sure meals are a time to look forward to.
Sometimes a new food takes time to be accepted. Children do not always take to a new food right away. It may take more than a dozen tries before a child will accept the new food. Don’t force them, give them time, and remember what it was like when you did not like a food at their age.