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
As your child reaches school age they begins to eat more meals away from the family home. This includes school lunches. This is when you may encounter things like swapped lunches (the grass is greener… in a friend’s lunch box) and missed meals (not enough time to eat and play!).
- Prepare a lunch that looks good and is quick to eat.
- Pack up snacks and lunches in different wraps or containers which makes it easy for your child to determine which food package is for which meal.
- Freeze sandwiches and other freezable items the night before so that lunch tastes and looks fresh.
- Children at this age like to learn new skills and can make simple items like sandwiches. Lunch may be more likely to be eaten if it has been made by the child themselves.