Ages 8-12 – Experience a change in eating habits
An older child takes more responsibility for their food choices. They may also receive more pocket money, so their buying power increases. Food is an important part of socialising and money is often spent on food.
Pressure from friends and a growing sense of self-awareness become an important influence in food choices.
As a child progresses to adolescence, changes in eating habits may be a way in which they express their new found identity. Fast foods and takeaways are popular, as is snacking, and skipping meals sometimes becomes a habit.
Snacking is part of a child’s eating patterns and significant amounts of nutrients are obtained from snacks – often up to a quarter of their daily energy needs and one third of other nutrients e.g. iron and calcium. Ensuring a supply of healthy snacks is therefore important.
Eat Meals Away From Home
Your child is now eating more meals away from the family home, including school lunches. At this time your child may want to swap lunches (lots of yummy treats in a friend’s lunch box) and start to skip meals (no time to eat and play!).
Here Are A Few Helpful Hints:
- Offer a variety of lunch options that look good and are quick to eat.
- Separate snacks and lunches into different wraps or containers – so that your child can easily find the right food package for each meal.
- Freeze foods the night before to keep them looking and tasting fresh.
- Get your child involved in food preparation. The meal may be more likely to be eaten if it has been selected and made by the child themselves.