Sugar, junk food, diabetes, childhood obesity. The statistics are frightening, but food doesn’t have to be.
It’s easy to react in a knee jerk fashion, naming and shaming the ‘wrong’ foods, glorifying the ‘good’, and overly restricting kids’ choices.
This approach will not help children become competent eaters. In fact over 35% of 6 to 13 year olds already worry about their weight, putting them at risk of eating disorders down the track.
What if children and parents could learn about eating well in a fun, engaging environment, one that doesn’t divide food into ‘good’ and ‘bad’ camps?
My school workshops for children and parents aim to do just that.
Get my brochure here: Child & parent workshops
1. Kids, Food and Feeding
As parents we learn and read about children’s nutrition – the foods our kids need to thrive, and those best avoided. But rarely are we taught the fundamentals of feeding – how to encourage our children to be happy, competent eaters, who enjoy trying new foods.
This workshop is aimed at parents of primary school children, and covers not only the ‘what’ of children’s nutrition, but also the ‘how’ of feeding.
Common queries parents have include
- How do I get my child to eat?
- Why doesn’t she eat vegetables any more?
- Help! My child only eats pasta and white rice.
- I can’t believe he’s getting enough nutrients, he eats so little.
- Should he be taking a multivitamin?
- How do I make mealtimes less stressful?
- Surely she’s eating more than she should?
Many of us need answers to these questions, and more. We worry that our kids eat too little, too much, or not enough variety.
The workshop covers
- The single most important message about feeding children
- The main concerns parents have with their kids eating
- The 3 ‘food personalities’
- Essential nutrients for growing kids
- Why sugar and ‘fun foods’ still have a place
- The benefits of regular family meals
- Why rewards, bribes and threats can backfire
- The parent’s and child’s responsibility at mealtimes
- How your eating history impacts the way you feed your children
What others have said about the Kids, Food and Feeding workshop
I attended your workshop at my children’s school recently and wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed it and learnt from it. You gave me some really good strategies and advice, two of which have worked wonders with my ‘fussy’ middle child (11 years old). I now feel the stress at meal times has disappeared.”
Jean, St Margaret Mary’s Primary School, Randwick
I am thrilled to let you know I tried the ‘serve yourself’ strategy at dinner time tonight with a selection of foods for the kids to choose from. It was such a winner with the kids as they enjoyed being able to select and have a variety to select from. All round an extremely successful dinner. Thank you for the inspiration.”
Catherine, St Columba’s Primary School, Leichhardt
Thank you so much for your time. I have had instant success with your tip about helping to make the meal and serve yourself. My children and I made a chicken stir fry together – my children ate most of the raw capsicum and snow peas and were thrilled to eat what they had made. I would never have got them to eat that without a battle. So thank you so much.”
Anna, St Patricks Primary School, Summer Hill, NSW
Jenny’s presentation at our P&F meeting really met parents where they are at. It is common sense, practical and real advice shared in a succinct way. Jenny balances the message so that families do not leave feeling overwhelmed or like they are not doing a good-enough job. Instead, the community took home a key message – that change is within reach and good food is something to be celebrated and enjoyed. Thank you Jenny!”
Family Educator, St. Brigid’s Catholic Primary School, Marrickville
Jenny Boss highlighted strategies and helpful hints busy parents could adapt at home. Most importantly, she spoke about food as being a means of bringing people together. Family mealtimes are an occasion where everyone can talk about their day in a positive environment.
For fussy eaters she advised that we don’t need to pressure our children to eat as this can result in the behaviour we are trying to avoid. As parents, our role is to expose our children to food, decide what food to serve, when to serve it and where to serve it. It is the child’s responsibility to decide whether to eat it and how much to eat.”
Kristine, St Agnes’ Catholic Primary School, Matraville
I was fortunate enough to hear Jenny speak on two separate occasions and each time found something new to add to my knowledge. I found her information around the psychology behind food fascinating, especially how much our own attitude to food has been formed by our upbringing. It certainly made me rethink my whole outlook on food and the control that it has over my life.”
Family Educator, St Agnes’ Catholic Primary School, Matraville
For further information, download the brochure Kids, food and feeding
If you’d like to book a presentation, please contact me on my mobile: 0411 095 871 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
2. The Lunchbox Workshop
Many of us aren’t quite sure what makes the best lunchbox, or we run out of ideas about what to pack.
That’s why I designed the Lunchbox Workshop.
In this workshop you’ll learn:
- The 5 food groups to include in a lunchbox.
- Why you don’t need to make food too complicated.
- The best commercial snack bars and how to spot them.
- The one simple rule for sweet treats.
- The best drinks for children.
- The food children should eat last, and why.
- The 3 main reasons food comes home uneaten.
- The most nourishing after-school snacks.
Download the brochure here Lunchbox Workshop
What others have said about the Lunchbox Workshop
Family Educator, St Agnes’ Catholic Primary School, Matraville
3. Food, Mood and Learning
And with one in seven primary school children suffering from a mental health disorder, this is information we need to know.
The Food, Mood and Learning workshop is designed for parents of school-aged children. It combines ground-breaking scientific research on food and the brain with practical ways to introduce the best brain-healthy foods to your family.
After the workshop you’ll know:
- The top 10 brain foods for children.
- What sugar and junk food do to your brain.
- The single most important nutrient to maximise learning.
- The link between your gut microbiome and your mental health.
- How to keep your gut bugs flourishing and working for you and your brain.
For more information download the Food, Mood and Learning brochure.
Are your kids sweet enough? A workshop designed for primary aged children to give them hype-free messages about sugar.
Sugar is almost considered a dietary evil, with some sugar-free advocates going so far as to say even fruit is too sweet to eat. I don’t believe this is an appropriate message to be giving children.
It’s true that many children and teens eat sugar to excess, largely in the form of soft drinks. But that doesn’t mean sugar should be off the menu. Sweet foods are an enjoyable part of a healthy diet, and evidence suggests overly restricting them simply promotes a greater desire for sweet stuff.
In my workshop I display how many sugar lumps there are in a wide variety of food and drink. Children will see that in a 600ml bottle of coke there are 14 lumps of sugar, in a small bowl of Nutrigrain there are 3 lumps, while in 8 Weetbix there is only one lump of sugar.
I discuss with the children, in an age-appropriate way, why there is concern about too much sugar, what ‘enough’ sugar looks like, where we find sugar, and invite them to come up to the display to look more closely at the foods.
For more information, download the brochure Children’s Sugar Workshop.
2. Eat a Rainbow
A workshop designed to show children the beauty of fruit and vegetables, and how eating the colours in nature is an easy way to get many of the nutrients we need.
Children naturally are averse to vegetables. As they grow and mature, vegetables become more acceptable. One tried and trusted way to increase liking for vegetables is exposure, without pressure to eat. Another is modelling from their their friends.
In this workshop I display a variety of fruits and vegetables, arranged by colour, and invite the children to name the different ones, the ones they have eaten,and the ones they like and don’t like. Children learn from one another with no pressure to eat or try, but children hear from their classmates which fruits and vegetables they eat regularly. This helps demystify these foods, and reassures children that they are, in fact, safe to eat.
I show them how colour means that the fruit or vegetable contains particularly healthy compounds and that we don’t have to know why they are healthy for us, we just need to aim to eat a variety of colour in our day.
Where does energy-giving food come from? From a protein bar? From a bottle of Gatorade? Sports stars spruiking energy products may lead kids to believe that energy is best found in a bottle or bar. This workshops shows children which foods naturally provide energy.
We all need energy to grow, learn, run around with our friends, and play sport. All foods give us energy, but some are much better at it than others. In this workshop I display foods that give us a natural ‘buzz’, but that are also chock full of nutrients needed to grow and thrive. Foods that will give a competitive edge to the budding sports star, and provide much-needed brain fuel for the young learner.
What others say about my children’s workshops
Jenny took each grade individually for 30 minute slots and armed with a powerpoint and a great display table with food items and their sugar content in sugar lumps, all hidden under a white cloth, she had the children enthralled with what she had to tell. Children and adults alike were surprised at the amount of sugar in certain drinks and foods, especially once we were told how much was the recommended average daily intake of sugar.
This was a very interesting, enlightening and empowering talk. Being aware of how much sugar is healthy on a daily basis and how much we are consuming when we eat or drink certain things allows us to make better choices thereby living healthier lifestyles! I highly recommend this talk for adults and children alike! Very empowering! Thank you Jenny Boss!”
Manuela De Almeida
Family and Faith Educator, Christ the King Catholic School, Bass Hill
St Margaret Mary’s School was fortunate enough to engage the wisdom and insight of nutritionist and wellness coach Jenny Boss in a number of presentations to both parent and student groups. Jenny’s presentations proved highly successful informing students and parents about healthy food choices, being mindful of the amount of sugar within popular eating and drinking products, as well as touching on the topic of environmental sustainability.
Principal, St Margaret Mary’s Primary School, Randwick North
My son (in year 6) and my daughter (year 3) both attended your sugar workshop in St Margaret Mary’s school recently. I wanted to let you know how much they enjoyed it and learned from it. They were especially surprised at the amount of sugar in drinks and packaged food. Your visual display had them hooked, showing the amount of sugar in each food. They found that particularly useful – to see the sugar content, rather then just be told.
When they come to the shops with me they are able to tell me what they have learned at your talk and make good food choices. My daughter loves yoghurt but since your talk she has opted for natural yogurt and adds her own fruit rather than the flavoured sweetened ones that we used to buy.”
Parent, St Margaret Mary’s Primary School, Randwick North
Download my brochure on the children’s and parents’ workshops Child & parent workshops
If you’d like to book a workshop, or for further information, phone me on 0411 095 871 or email me at email@example.com