Eating habits are learned behaviors; they’re not intuitive. So what your children learn to eat at home early in life sticks with them well into adulthood.
Today we are disconnected from our food sources in a way that is unprecedented in human history. Fewer and fewer Americans cook meals from scratch because it’s easier and faster to throw a frozen dinner in the oven or grab something from a fast-food restaurant on the way home from work. And the guerilla marketing foisted upon us by fast- and processed-food companies isn’t helping.
Most parents know that their kids are under continuous assault by corporate food advertising — but they feel frustrated by it, and even powerless against it.
In reality, a few simple tools combined with a mantra of “variety, moderation, and balance” will provide you with all you need to ensure the long-term nutritional health of your child.
1. Be a good role model.
Most of the parents we know complain that their children refuse to eat healthfully and come to us in search of magic recipes that will put an end to mealtime madness. The real problem most often lies with the parents, not the kids.
Most of us are so accustomed to eating out and buying prepared foods in the grocery store that we don’t even know what good food is anymore. We can’t line our cabinets with packaged cereals and sodas and expect our kids to eat like they were raised on a commune in rural Vermont. In order to be good role models we must educate ourselves first and then practice what we preach.
2. Take your kids shopping with you.
Unfortunately we don’t all live near farms or farmers’ markets, so it’s not easy for us or our children to feel a connection with good, whole (unprocessed) foods. One way to help them learn is to make a point to take them grocery shopping with you. Of course it’s probably easier to go alone when there’s someone at home to watch them or they’re at school, but it’s important for them to see foods in their raw states...