Like it seems to be on the kids menu in every restaurant you go to, kids don’t have to eat just hot dogs, burgers, fries and pasta. Eating right begins at toddler stage. Here in my opinion are a few simple rules to get those tomorrow’s people start a good life today with clean eating. The way they eat as kids is the way they eat as they grow.
Mom rules! Clean eating for the family is a mom’s decision.
Mom gets to decide what comes home from the grocery store, into the pantry and from the kitchen onto the kids’ plates. The current generation of parents seems to be ever so worried about whether or not the kids might like what they serve on the table. Moms, if you want to be in charge of your kids’ health and future, it’s time to be the bad parent sometimes and serve chicken and broccoli for supper. Kids get hungry. When they know nothing else is forth coming, they eat!
“Eat this for nothing else is coming your way!”
This always seemed to work for my older kids, because when I gave them the options my mom gave me. In the modern age we could not use the favourite line from our grandma “Eat this or eat this with spank on your bottom”.
Have them appreciate a variety at a young age.
Chicken and potatoes every day and the same vegetables repeated during the week will leave a kid bored. A friend of mine had only apples for fruits for her kids and when I introduced a peach, they looked at me like I’m an alien with “a different tasting apple”. A range of meats, vegetables, fruits and snacks circulating the table lays the foundation for healthy eating and nutritional awareness.
Picky moms and dads!
Are you them? It’s time to change or compromise. Be a role model and eat healthy yourself. It goes without saying that kids follow in the footsteps of their parents. They do what you do, not what you tell them to do. Practice clean eating yourself.
No secrets, please!
Let them know what they are eating and why. Hiding or disguising healthy foods under bread crumbs and cheese is a sure way to get them hate those foods without the cover up. The above mentioned friend baked fish fillets at times in bread crumbs and heavy seasoning and called it turkey. The kids saw steamed fish in my house and turned up their nose. Their statement – “Mom never makes us eat fish! We hate it!”
Drinks are important along with clean eating.
Clean eating and clean drinking go together. Replace soda and sweetened beverages with milk and water. Coconut water and maple water are amazing additions too. Limit juices without added sugar as a treat. I find some of the 100% juices in the market too sweet and water it down for the kids. Fresh squeezed at home is always the best! Also when the adults at home limit alcohol and soda consumption, the kids automatically set their preferences to healthier substitutes in their adult lives.
Food is not love.
It’s neither a reward nor a means to keep the kids quiet. Candy, extra TV time, an occasional dessert are all means of instant gratification. Reward kids with experiences and display affection openly. A chance to help you out with making healthy oatmeal blueberry pancakes than having extra maple syrup on their pancakes would be well realized in time.
Food is not discipline either.
The friend I so love mentioning, makes her kids eat spinach and radishes as punishments. Where would that take you and what kind of message are you giving the kids?