As a mother I am completely aware of how exhausting it can be to keep a handle on ‘good nutrition’ for a family. Information changes on a daily basis regarding what’s good for us and what’s not. I’m grateful that “nutrition” interests me and is a driving force in my life. I make it my business to know how nutrition effects my children and the enormous impact food can have on each of us.
I’d like to share with you the benefits of developing a healthy “food culture” with your child right from the start. This culture begins with their “first foods” and their first few years of culinary delights.
If you have a strong willed toddler who you currently feed ‘anything’ just to get him to eat ‘something’, do not be fooled into thinking that when he reaches five you will be able to convince him to eat wholesome foods. If he knows you have pandered to his whims since he was about eight months old, then unfortunately you will have your work cut out for you for a long time yet.
However the good news is, if you now wish to guide the nutritional menu of your household, then simply rolling up your sleeves and entering the battle field for a period of time, will be well worth it…
Simon and I discuss this topic consistently with parents –
young children have no idea which foods are healthy and nutritious, so why would we let them decide what they should eat?
By this I mean, why allow them to refuse a food item time and time again, forcing you to offer them another alternative which is often less wholesome. Sometimes this cycle will then spiral out of control until it includes a whole range of foods, until all of a sudden your child only consumes hot chips, dry cereals, pasta and fruit juice!. Or they have a list of foods that they ‘don’t like’ which then dictates your entire weekly shopping. “FORGET THAT !!”
So I can hear you yell “SO HOW DO YOU GET A CHILD TO EAT A RANGE OF WHOLESOME FOODS? ”
Well that’s a conversation all of its own and involves an array of parenting tools (which we will chat about another day).
Just know, it does require a combination of being blatantly honesty with your child about all the crap (choosing more eloquent wording of course) that is found in most refined foods. Then gently mixing this together with a good dose of “talking up” or promoting wholesome foods.
Getting your child to eat healthy foods begins with you, with the parent having enough knowledge about why good foods are essential and why pre-packaged foods poison your child’s health.
Our children will eat the foods we promote when we have “certainty” about their nutritious benefits.
Unwavering “certainty”!!! Now this doesn’t mean your children should never have ‘junky’, life-less grocery items (otherwise they’ll search for them ruthlessly) but refrain from using them as “treats” and heightening your child’s fantasy about them.
Benefits of Wholesome Foods:
- Your child develops “real health” that sparkles in their eyes and shines through their skin.
- Your child is less likely to suffer allergies and illness.
- Your child’s behaviour will be mostly predictable and delightful.
- Your child will be able to concentrate well and they are more likely to “self- soothe” if necessary.
- You will be able to consistently take your child out in public (this is always a bonus), whilst shopping and to restaurants etc, without too many scarring events in a year.
- Your child will most likely develop good sleeping habits. Preservatives and additives have a lot to answer for.
- Even with the power of subliminal advertising you will have fewer battles with your child if this type of “food culture” is implemented early on. Mind you – it is good idea to limit their television viewing. It’s quite amusing that our boys (as yet) don’t even ask to watch another channel other than the ABC or their DVD’s. Simon thinks this is particularly funny because he grew up in Alice Springs and there really was only ABC to watch.
- Your child is less likely to be overweight and develop diabetes or obesity. With good nutrition, studies now show that most children will have a greater chance of avoiding weight issues, heart disease, diabetes, depression and dementia.
- By concentrating on feeding your child wholesome foods, inevitably you will also end up making wise dietary choices for yourself.
When our children grow up with the expectation that their daily diet includes a variety of important food groups we minimise unnecessary stress and anxiety. Remember that your children will learn via your actions and example, inheriting a health culture they will carry with them for a lifetime.
“Optimal Nutrition is a gift that lasts a lifetime.”
Dr Galland. ‘Super-Immunity for Kids”
So good luck with this.