As a health coach I deal a lot with clients who have small children or plan to get pregnant/adopt. For all situations, everyone is concerned about the food options their children will do. Those with grown kids, who don't want anything other than fast-food or sugar, seem like a near-lost battle. Moms and dads fill me with questions, "Why son doesn't eat greens", "Why does my daughter reject water?", "How to reduce sugar from my children's food" and so forth.
To help all first-time moms and dads, or for anyone who already has experience with kids, but do not deal with healthy eating, here I have separated some of the suggestions that from time to time I send to my clients, either for my health coaching clients and for the meal preparation clients, one of the programs in which I organize their kitchen and pantry and prepare the entire healthy weekly menu at the client's kitchen.
These tips are not only because I work as a health coach but for being a stepmother of 4 kids (one actually already teenager/adult who has just left home for a college and who took the knowlodge learneed from home to cook her own food in college) with completely different personalities and tastes. I mean, I know what I'm talking about. ;)
1. Your children are your reflection:
You ask why your child does not eat greens, are you already asked if you eat? By age 6-7 your kids will copy what they see you eating, behaving, an of course, what you offer them. But even if you offer broccoli and you yourself do not eat it or make a comment or weird face, even without realizing it, it is done!
Solution: First start evaluating your diet. If you eat badly, start yourself exploring new flavors, new options and introduce in baby steps to your children's nutrition. If you eat well, half way gone.
2. Your kitchen, your health:
It is a waste of time and energy preparing healthy recipes if you still keep in your pantry candy, soda or any other bad product/food. If they are at your reach, you will eat and the same with kids.
Solution: Clean your kitchen "crap". And learn substitutes for these crap. Healthy substitutes for the moments of "despair". Gradually (it can take months or even years) these sudden cravings will diminish and even disappear.
3. The Key to Serial Sales: ORGANIZATION
There is no point in wanting to eat healthy if you open your refrigerator or pantry and you do not find the healthy ingredients to prepare.
Solution: Plan, plan and plan. The menu of the week, the kids' lunch boxes to school, the healthy sweets ... everything!
4. A rule of "just the weekend"is bs!
At the end of the week, pop is okay. During the weekedn indulge yourself with processed sweets is okay. This is BS! You do not treat a drug addict saying that he/she can have the drug on the weekend, and the he/she can use all the drugs during the week, right?
Solution: Feed and feed your children healthy the entire week. You can create healthy versions of desserts and let them have it during the weekend, but as they are functional, the impact on the addiction and on the body will be much smaller.
(Bella being my assistant)
5. Let's cook!
Put a child in touch with the time of food preparation is good to develop curiosity, to understand the cooking process, and it is not all as easy as buying a cookie bag and opening the package.
Solution: Schedulemore than once a week for your child to be your assistant in the kitchen. He/she can do safe activities such as picking leaves with hand, chopping fruit with a safe knife, mixing pasta, salads, and other activities that do not involve cutting or burning hazards.
6. Sugar is the problem!
Sugar is addictive. It is more than proven. In addition, sugar has created an illusion of comfort, joy, energy and then after some moment, depression and hunger. Sugar is the root cause of diabetes, obesity, depression, hyperactivity, violence, and other problems for children.
Solution: Simply do not have sugar at home. Have healthy options like honey, coconut sugar, molasses or stevia. But just use it to prepare health recipes. Do not add it in ice teas, juices, or anything! Let your child accustom the palate. And please, do not let your child eat sugar before 3 years old!! That means, nothing sweet and processed!
7. What about the world there?
OK, you follow all the tips, eat well and healthy. But then your child spends the weekend at a friend's house, at grandmother's or another relative's without that knowledge. It will happen! Your child will come back totally deprogrammed.
Solution: When your child returns, do a detox. Light soups, light proteins, lots of water. He/she will complain, even react violent, but 2, 3 days this will pass. At this time, no pity. A good "no" is what you and your child need!
PS: A FUNNY STORY
When I was a kid, around 2-3 years old I had a rebellious moment regards to food. I didn’t want to eat anything, except “Danoninho”, a pretty popular strawberry yogurt for kids in Brazil. I could just eat that! I close my mouth for other foods and there was no way to make me open. So, the changes happened when my mom took me to a homeopathic doctor, who told my mom to first, not worry and don’t fight with me, it was my body for some reason didn’t want any nutrients different that that yogurt and soon I was going to miss other foods and I would immediately ask for. Even being so hard, my mom waited and in less than 2 weeks I started eating again, and I ate everything, from vegetables to meat. I love this story because it shows how smart our body is and how much we have to listen and respect it. ️