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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Kids and Food

As a parent I know how hard it can be to please a child's picky palette. They will judge a food before it is even tasted. They say "eww" or "ick" before they even know the name of the food sitting on their plates.

I am here to tell parents not to give up. Be the example for your child. I will give you an example from our house. I recently made the usual turkey burgers, dressed up with a bun, spinach, tomato & avocado (nothing out of ordinary in our house), and our side was butternut squash fries. They were stopped in their tracks before they even tasted the squash. My ten year old looked at me puzzled, because she knew I wouldn't have cooked her fries, they didn't smell like our sweet potato wedges and they were orange. My four year old immediately said he was not eating them. Instead of getting discouraged I simply told both of them to try them before judging them too harshly.
After much thought and hesitation my ten year old took a bite, and she wanted so bad to not like them, but I could tell this was something she enjoyed. My four year old ate his burger and played with his fries for quite some time, and finally he bargained with me that if he ate 2 fries could he please get down from the table. 2 fries was more than I was even hoping for the first time! I pretended not to pay much attention as he ate his fry, and he smiled and ate another. Before I knew it, his 5 butternut squash fries were gone, and I was a proud mama.

The point of this story is to tell you that judging a food for your child is counterproductive.Don't avoid buying a food because you THINK your child won't like it. I have heard time and time again "my child won't eat spinach", "there is no way I could get my child to touch green beans" "I can't even bring oatmeal into the house my child hates it that much". Instead these parents bring the well loved "children's junk food" into their homes, because.."it's all my child will eat".
If chicken nuggets, french fries, hot pockets, pop tarts, & fruit loops is all you buy and the only options you give, then YES that is all your child will eat.

If you make the choice to only buy healthy foods and only stock your pantry with clean healthy foods, then trust me, they will eat it!

My son was offered a chicken nugget at a play date recently, and had no idea what it was. He was confused by it's odd shape, and the breading on it. He told me later that they kept telling him it was chicken but "it didn't look like chicken".

Now this is not to say my kids don't eat any junk food at all, because they do. We live in a world where it's every where you look and it's not so evil and bad in moderation. I just don't stock my pantry with the stuff. My son opened my eyes to how this "food" was perceived by him. I was a proud mom at that moment. I was happy that he was unable to identify a chicken nugget as a food.

Let's give our kids the best chance at a healthy long life by teaching them while they are young about nutrition & clean healthy foods.

Happy Tuesday!

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