Parents often ask, “How do I get my children to eat good foods?” and to this we reply, “Pick your battles and be clear that food is one you want to win!”
Every family must negotiate guidelines and boundaries around many facets of lifestyle and behaviour, but there are none as important as diet, because what your children eat has an ENORMOUS IMPACT on the whole family.
Here is a diagram that demonstrates how poor food choices can impact everyone and everything around a child…
One of the best ways to develop and consolidate food boundaries is to share the experience of learning about nutrition with your children. Encourage them to help you with fun research projects, food shopping and hands-on cooking in the kitchen. Engage them in discussions about the way food choices impact their lives.
None of us want to disguise vegetables for our children, bribe them with treats or force them to drink water.
There has to be an alternative—and there is…
Our children are smarter than we often give them credit for
If we make time (but not as we scream at them in frustration!) and approach these topics with their best interests in mind and a willingness to communicate, then they will feel our love and concern. We all appreciate people being kind and authentic, and our children are no different. We all want someone to believe in our ability, and in our capacity to learn and improve.
Decide that you have already won
Part of winning the food battle in any household is simply to decide that you have already won. Hold a clear vision in your mind of your children being wonderful, easy, healthy eaters. Visualise people remarking to you, “What a delight your children are to feed.” Stay focused and celebrate the small steps towards success.
Like anything in life, change is as easy or as hard as we decide it is going to be. If you keep telling yourself that these new habits won’t work, then they won’t. If you keep allowing that voice in your head to affirm that your children are “fussy”, then you have already lost the battle.
While it isn’t always easy and you will find yourself in a constant process of training and negotiation, you can stand firm in the knowledge that it is your job as a guardian to make decisions in the best interest of those under your care.
Re-think processed foods
One step we discuss in Lunchbox Solutions is to re-think processed foods. When our schedule gets busy it is easy to rely on packaged foods – they have a long-shelf life and they are ready to use at a moment’s notice: however, these “quick foods” typically lack sustenance and nutrition.
Lifeless foods are far removed from their original nature-made state including packaged breakfast cereals and snack foods, processed cheeses and meats. Unfortunately most foods that have a long shelf life or are packaged in a wrapper fall into the lifeless foods category.
Focus on fresh, vital foods
Bring life to your kitchen by purchasing fresh, vital foods that are as close to their natural state as possible. Here are some examples:
- Wholegrain bread over refined white bread
- Organic butter over margarine
- Real cheese over over processed cheeses (which are filled with vegetable oils, water and dyes)
- Fresh organic, chemical free chicken over processed chicken nuggets that contain damaged fats and additives.
- Organic natural yoghurt sweetened with fruit, agave or maple syrup in preference to low-fat, artificially flavoured yoghurts
Fresh ingredients help us to appreciate the flavours of foods in their natural state, free from added flavours. Many people today have grown accustomed to the plethora of chemical additives in food that they have lost their ability to feed intuitively – to know which foodis best for their body. They have become so addicted to sugar, salt and an array of artificial “nasties” that they have forgotten to gravitate towards the foods that their bodies are actually yearning for.
This theme is outlined further in Ideas for Getting Our Children to Eat Healthy Foods, Lunchbox Solutions.
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From the desk of…
Bach. Chiropractic, Bach. App Clinical Science
Registered internationally, no longer practicing as a chiropractor in Australia.
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For more information and super-tasty superfood recipes,
click here to take a look at Lunchbox Solutions