By: Judy Davie - The Food Coach
Today I fear I may ruffle a few feathers because the subject is kid's eating, something I thought was quite topical given that children are heading back to school
Last weekend we hosted a picnic BBQ where a little 3 years old not only devoured my mini spinach pies but went in for second saying it was delicious.
Needless to say I was thrilled and totally taken aback since it's not the typical response of a child presented with my kind of food.
Let's pause on this one for a second while I share a story about my little dog Maisy who turned 10 on Friday.
To celebrate this special event she was served a special and outrageously expensive dinner. She devoured it and ever since has turned down her breakfast biscuits which up until now she's eaten with gusto every morning for the past 10 years.
Now Maisy is my baby and I can feel myself weakening. I adore her. I want her to be happy. She doesn't like her biscuits. Should I give her what she wants?
I mention this because I want you to know that I can empathise with parents whose children have developed a taste for the mass market highly sweetened/salted popular packaged foods out there.
However, and I feel the need to underline however, if you want your child to grow up with all the essential nutrients he or she needs for a healthy, strong body and mind you need to win the battle over what they do and do not eat.
Which is why I asked the mother of my new 3 year old spinach loving friend what she did to encourage her kids to eat well
Here's what she had to say Ö..
We are pretty strict about what we give our kids to eat but I am also very conscious about the risk of eating disorders later in life so I'm careful to talk about the benefits of eating healthy food rather mention food making them fat. Our kids have learnt that healthy food will help make them strong, happy, clever, active and so on.
We encourage them to try lots of different foods. If they don't like something on their plate, provided they have tried a few bites of it, they can put it to the side and eat everything else. I would never get up and make them something else.
Our kids eat what we eat. It's one of our pet hates to go to a party where the adults sit at one table and eat healthy whole food while the kids sit at another and eat manufactured chicken nuggets and chips. Their priorities are all wrong. To us it's critical that our kids grow up on a fresh wholesome diet that nourishes their body.
When we go to parties we don't stop our kids from eating cake and chocolate but we've taught them that although a little is OK, too much is not healthy. As a family, we'll share one piece of cake between the four of us and the kids will get a very small piece. Parties are hard though and you do have to field what they are eating.
Something that is very much working in our favour is the environmental messages the preschool pumps out. They promote Naked Lunches with no plastic packaging and my two have become mini environmentalists. The other day my daughter asked for one of those squidgy yoghurts that are full of sugar and I could easily talk her out of them due to the amount of plastic the yoghurt was packaged in. I explained she could have Greek yoghurt with a little honey in a ceramic bowl instead and she was quite happy.
Practical and sensible advice from busy professional woman with two young children under 5 years.
If you'd like to share what you did to encourage your kids to eat healthily log in and add your comments below this article.