Raising Healthy Children
The number one mistake we're making as parents is to let the food industry tell us we're doing a Job Well Done when we feed our kids crap. They tell us it's Whole Grain! or that something is "baked not fried" or my favorite "all natural". Lead is all natural too, but you don't want to eat it do you? Do not let the food industry tell you that you're doing a great job with feeding your children. They are in it to make money! This problem goes so far beyond the "obesity epidemic" we're hearing so much about.
I think one mistake too many parents are making, is that they think there is a difference in "adult food" vs. "children's food". As adults our palates have taken on a more cultured taste, and we expect that children are only going to want chicken nuggets, french fries, soda, and sugary snacks like cakes and cookies. When feeding them a snack we don't reach for apples, but instead reach for something boxed, promising "goodness" within it's cardboard flaps. Features like "whole grain", "all natural" and "good for you!" abound down the center aisles of the grocery store.
I come across daily, so many blogs of "real moms" making claims of "eating healthy on a budget" and "quick and healthy" meals, and yet they contain high sugar, high sodium and high crap. So here's some rules to live by with regards to raising healthy children.
2. Feeding each of your children different depending on their ages. Aside from infants and toddlers that need their foods chopped or pureed, there is absolutely no reason your 2 yo and your 8 yo cannot have the same baby carrots for a snack. Do not fall prey to the infant food aisle that's chock full of gmo crap that you wouldn't want to eat yourself, let alone feed to your children. No one needs to eat "snack puffs". Just....no. Walk away from the special foods aisle and back to the produce section. Even cubed cheese or a hardboiled egg (my 2yo and my 4yo love these) is a good snack. Start literally thinking outside the box when you feed your children.
3. Thinking that all sugary goodies are "bad for you". I fix a dessert about two times a week. It might be a cake, or brownies, or strawberry shortcake. The difference is that I know where our food comes from, and we use dairy that is organic/no hormones/no antibiotics and we use non-gmo foods for things like wheat flour etc. Instead of buying a box of cookies at the store which contain ingredients you cannot even pronounce, let alone want to eat, make your own, and source your ingredients! They are more satisfying and it's a great way to get your children involved in their foods.
4. Raise a garden. It doesn't even have to be fancy. Just a small kitchen garden on your backyard patio would be enough to get the children involved in their foods. Children are fascinated by growing food. My 2 yo actually picks off shell peas and eats them by opening the pod with his teeth and then taking out the peas inside. I know what you're thinking. "My children won't eat that.....they just....won't." I promise you, they will. Maybe not right at first. If they're used to boxed foods, they're going to balk, because they don't have the knowledge you and I have with regards to health. They also have little self control. But slowly, and surely, just cut out the crap and add in the goodies, they will eat, they will not starve. I promise.
5. Don't let them drink their food. Most parents, myself included at one time, thought juice was a perfectly healthy solution to soda and other bad for you drinks. However, we're finding out, that juices can raise your blood sugar the same way a Coke can, and they just aren't as good for you as water, or eating the actual fruit. Try to avoid juices altogether, and if your child needs some flavoring, add in some natural lemon, lime or other fruit juices.
Just by making some changes, a little at a time, we can begin feeding our children what their bodies actually crave, instead of what their minds crave.