As I was checking my twitter feed today, I noticed that @CuriousChef had tweeted about a post by Kelly Davis from Oliciouslife.com. Kelly’s post, titled, "Teaching Kids to Clean Up Their Plate: Clean Eating for Kids," shares some great ideas for getting kids to eat healthier, and also for getting them involved in the food decision making process.
Now, I’m not the best mother when it comes to limiting snacks at my house, but we do have some rules–my biggest rule is Balance. I always tell the kids that a person need to try to achieve some sort of balance to remain healthy. That goes for work and play, exercise and rest as well as healthy vs. snacky foods.
I also like to teach the kids to make healthy decisions by getting them involved in the whole nutrition process. We plan meals together, we grocery shop together and we cook together. We talk about the balance of the meal and why we need to eat certain foods to stay healthy. Because of this, Alex and Soph have the power of knowledge when it comes to eating.
They also enjoy the creativity that cooking their own food allows them. We have a great time coming up with new recipes and/or ways to serve our meals. It seems simple, but sometimes just presenting a food in a different way makes it taste oh-so-delicious 😀
I do believe, however, that parental persistence is a necessity. Consistently encouraging kids to try foods they say they don’t like and insisting on a balance of healthy foods and snack foods helps reinforce your message. My kids, despite as involved as they are with our whole ‘food production’ process are still picky eaters. Alex likes this and not that and Sophie likes that and not this–sometimes I feel like a short order cook. Because of this, I continue my mantra, "how do you know you don’t like it if you don’t try it?" and will even bribe them if necessary.
I guess the point is, food and eating are a hugely important part of life. Teaching our kids about the importance of eating a balanced diet AND teaching them how to buy and cook food provides them with essential skills that will positively affect their lives. Plus, family meals allow kids and their parents time to chat and have fun together, and you can’t beat that.