Supporting new parents to make healthy choices

Jawaria always took an interest in learning better ways to feed her family. She read books and articles, but with three kids aged 11, 7 and 3, putting what she read into practice wasn’t easy. 


Jawaria was doing the best she could to prepare healthy meals, but on busy days processed foods often seemed the quick easy option.  

“My youngest is the easiest to feed because whatever I give her she eats it. But as they get older they are more often having their own preferences. My seven year old just started learning about food allergies at school, and now whenever he doesn’t want to eat something he just says he’s allergic to it,” laughed Jawaria. 

When a place came up in our Food Sensations® for Parents program, Jawaria thought it would be an opportunity to pick up a few tips. 

“Feeding kids is a challenge, so I thought – maybe I’ll get something useful out of the course.” 

Food Sensations for Parents gave Jawaria the chance for hands on learning in a group setting. Over five weekly sessions, parents learn about nutrition, child eating behaviours, meal planning, food safety, budgeting and shopping. They choose nutritious meals from the cookbooks to prepare and enjoy with the group. 

“I wanted to have a few more recipes in my bag, Jawaria said. “We learned new recipes, but I learned label reading as well. And then the cost comparison we did – real home-made food compared to store bought processed food – that was great.” 

Every participant is given a colourful plate to take home with artwork providing a guide to correct food group portions.  

“I loved that part actually,” said Jawaria, “It’s a great visual reminder when it’s on your plate. I try to add a lot more vegies. I just look at the portions on the plate and say ok, we need a bit more vegetable on the plate. It was always a challenge, but now I’m more focused that I need to do it.” 

The plate and recipe books weren’t the only things Jawaria brought home. Her new approach to food meant new healthier eating habits for the whole family. 

“It was a few weeks and now they’re used to it. I’m telling it to them by example and now they actually want vegies with their food, Jawaria said.  

“When you’re out for a barbecue it’s not just a sausage. They want some fresh vegies on their plate and they ask for it – which I think is amazing. I never thought it’s going to be this easy!” 

The Food Sensations for Parents program also helps parents and carers with navigating the supermarket. 

“I’m more mindful of what I put in my trolley now.” 

Jawaria is doing more meal planning now and when the family heads out she prepares budget friendly, fresh fruit and vegie snacks at home instead of grabbing something in a packet.  

“Turning to the packaged food – it was because in the back of my mind I think healthy food is going to take longer, but when we actually made it here I was able to see how much less time it takes as compared to what I was thinking.”   

As a regular volunteer in the school canteen, Jawaria had the opportunity to help design the new summer menu. Next term kids will be trying something straight from the Food Sensations recipe books: Cheeky Chicken Subs, a wholesome grilled chicken and salad roll with a sweet Asian twist. 

“The recipe books are very different from traditional books where there’s just one picture and lots of text. There’s great colourful pictures next to every step. My daughter made a dessert and following step by step she did everything on her own – I feel like I’ve got a good resource to pass onto her.”  

Jawaria says she wishes she’d had this opportunity ten years ago. “It will really help the new parents so they realise the value of food and be a bit more organised with time – I know I was really time poor when I was with my first child.”  

“It’s creating memories with the food as well. This is the time when we’re sitting together and I want it to be an enjoyable time for us as a family. When they come to you when they are older they should have happy memories associated with what mealtime is as a family.” 

If you’re a parent, carer or grandparent of a child aged 0 to 5 years of age looking to make healthy changes. Contact us to find out if there are courses running in your area. 

I’m telling it to them by example and now they actually want vegies with their food. When you’re out for a barbecue it’s not just a sausage. They want some fresh vegies on their plate .. I never thought it’s going to be this easy!
Cheeky Chicken Subs Recipe