Good Eating Habits
I am always slightly appalled when I see people feeding small children McDonalds. We really should do better for our children. I have a child that has survived more than two years now, never having tasted a McDonald’s anything. I won’t lie and say my child has never eaten any sort of fast food. There have been several occasions where he has eaten chicken strips or tenders from ChickFila or Sonic, but these events are few and far between. I want my child to grow up liking to eat healthy foods and so I try my hardest to provide him with healthy food and to show him that I eat healthy in hopes that he will follow suit.
One thing about being a parent is that we try to model behaviors that we want our children to have. When you want your children to eat healthy that means you end up eating healthier too! Our children learn about food mostly from us, so we need to take advantage of this and TEACH them about food. Show them that you eat healthy food and they will follow suit!
To aid in teaching our children to eat healthier, we need to teach our children where their food comes from. Food doesn’t just magically appear in stores or in restaurants and children should be aware of this. We need to teach them about where the plants and animals they eat come from. If you have a green thumb or if you’ve always wanted to try. . . planting an edible garden, an herb garden or just a few tomato plants in a pot is an excellent way to teach them about where their food comes from. If you children pick out and grow their own vegetables they are usually more willing to try new ones as they helped in the creation of them. (Also, buying a bag full of ladybugs and releasing them into your garden is incredible fun.) If you’re not so great at keeping plants alive or you can’t imagine adding one more daily activity to your already hectic schedule try driving your kids to the local farmers market, or to the actual farm once a month. There are lots of farms where you can pick certain fruits and vegetables straight from the source during certain seasons.
After your kids know where their food comes from they need to learn how to prepare their food to eat. We should teach our children to cook and eat whole foods and explain to them the difference between fresh meals and processed ones! If you don’t think you’re a good cook, it’s never too late to learn! I learned how to really cook a few years shy of turning 30 and now I actually enjoy cooking (it’s the cleaning part I figured out I don’t like). Start with simple recipes. I have found that the best meals are always made from simple ingredients and a short list of ingredients at that. There are so many great recipes out there. Just pick a few and get started! Baking is another great way to get kids involved. Baking with kids is always fun. My little’s favorite thing to do in the kitchen is “mix, mix, mix, mix” and it is a great way to get really young kids involved in the kitchen!
If we teach our children about food from a young age and involve them in preparing and cooking their own food we are setting them up for a healthier way of life for the long haul. We all want what’s best for our children, so help set them up for success and give them the food education they deserve. You never know, you may just learn something in the process.