Feeding children used to be easy. They ate what we cooked, and we cooked what our mother taught us and her mother taught her. Eating out was for holidays and anniversaries. There was a pitcher of water on the table, and sitting at the family table to eat was the rule nobody dared break on pain of consequences. And very few kids were fat. In the last thirty years, the number of obese children tripled. More than 20 percents of our children are now obese. Most of obese children grow into obese adults. Unless we want for our children the life of diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and other problems associated with obesity, we need to make some radical changes, quickly. It is not easy in our world of fast food, in shops, on TV and on billboards. There are few common-sense ideas to try.
Do what you preach
If you want your kids to eat healthy diet, you better do it too. They will refuse spinach if they see that you are not eating it. If you do not allow them to drink soda, you should not drink it either. What you do is much more powerful than what you say. Don”t forget that the kids are observing you constantly.
Kids do not trust new things, but if you are trying to introduce a new dish or new vegetable, don”t force them to eat it. Just keep bringing it to the table until they change their mind. Some scientists believe that it takes 15 attempts before kids decide that they do not hate it after all.
If it is forbidden, keep it out of the house
There is nothing kids crave as things that are forbidden. Chocolate and cookies hidden on the top shelf in the kitchen are the favorite forbidden goods. If you do not want your kids to eat sweets, do not buy it. What, you like them? Too bad. They are not good for you either.
Cook with your kids
Cooking with kids means that you actually have to start cooking instead of feeding your family with frozen meals or fast food takeouts. It is great fun for kids to see how meals are made, what goes into them. Let them taste everything and allow them to help (keep sharp knives away.) You will be surprised how much more interested they will be in eating what you made together.
Broccolis do not have to be yucky
If you are trying to force your kids to eat vegetables, you probably have war on your hands. You can force them, but they will only hate it more. Try to make vegetables actually taste nice. Cheese sauce, a bit of ranch dressing, a mix of apples and oranges with the green salad, will make vegetables much more interesting.
Fast food is a treat
We live in the world of constant bombardment of fast food advertising. If you completely refuse to allow your kids to eat fast food burgers and chicken nuggets, they will crave it and most likely sneak out and buy it anyway. Take the magic out of it. Make one meal a week fast food meal and let kids eat whatever they want.
Have a family council
You are not the only one deciding on your kids” â„¢ meals. Talk to your mother, mother in law and the baby sitter. Explain the rules and ask them to help you. Talk to your children” â„¢ teachers and ask them to use granola or oatmeal cookies instead of doughnuts as a treat after a game or as a reward for a good results.
If you try to get your kids away from their computer games and computers, you are bound to fail. You will have to be really imaginative to get them out and move a bit. Go biking together to some interesting place, like aquarium or horse stables. Take them swimming. Get them to help in the garden. Get a dog and make sure kids do their share of walking the dog. Or walk together. After all, whatever is good for your kids is good for you too.