Talking About Food
It is difficult when you have limited food choices due to economic challenges but it’s important to know that healthy choices are still possible. Talk to your child about what is happening and let him know that things will be OK. Don’t forget to look after yourself, because when you make healthy choices, you become a role model for your child. Knowing you are not alone and reaching out for help provides your family with the support they need.
Talk about Your Situation
If your child thinks that you are worried about having enough food, he may also become worried. Listening to your child’s concerns about having enough food and talking openly about what is happening will reassure him and is a way to help your family find solutions together. Encourage your child to ask questions, and answer them as best you can. It’s OK if you don’t have all the answers. Make sure your child understands that you are doing everything you can to make sure that your family has enough food to stay healthy and strong. For more ideas about how to talk to your child about food, download the Food for Thought Caregiver Guide.
Be a Role Model
It’s not only important to give your child the healthy foods he needs, but also to take care of yourself. Eating nutritious foods will keep your body healthy. You will also set a good example for your child, who takes cues from you on what and how to eat. Eat breakfast every day and have healthy meals together. Make healthy snacks that you and your child can enjoy together. Adding anytime foods such as fruits, vegetables, or low-fat cheese or yogurt to your meals and snacks will help give you the energy you need to stay focused all day.
It can be difficult to ask for help, but it is important to remember that you are not alone. There are many organizations and resources that can help your family find the food and support that you need. Some of the services that are available provide free access to food, nutrition education, and referrals to other support services. For information about food assistance, see the “Resources” section below.
- The National WIC Association (NWA) is 9 million WIC clients and 12,200 state and local service provider agencies offering nutritious foods, nutrition and breastfeeding education, and health and social service referrals to WIC mothers and young children. Visit www.nwica.org.
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is the federal government’s food stamp program. Visit www.fns.usda.gov/snap.
- Feeding America is the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization, with a network of food banks whose focus is to provide food assistance to those who need it. Visit www.feedingamerica.org.
- The Meals on Wheels Association of America’s member programs feed those who are 60 years of age and older and those in need. MOWAA’s vision is to end senior hunger by 2020. Visit www.mowaa.org.
- In the National School Lunch Program, children in grades K-12 can get free or lower-price lunches at school. Some schools also serve breakfast, after-school snacks, fresh fruits and vegetables, and summer meals. Ask someone at your child’s school office to apply, or visit www.fns.usda.gov/cnd.