DON’T BASH VEGGIES
Children learn what they live. They learn from the examples their parents set. Fathers who won’t eat vegetables have sons who won’t eat vegetables. Mothers with eating issues often have daughters will eating issues.
What our children learn at a very young age stays with them for life. That’s why parents need to nurture their young children in healthy ways. Parents are always the first and best teachers, and when parents don’t eat and enjoy a variety of healthy foods, their children don’t either.
When parents try to hide vegetables as purees camouflaged in pasta sauce or mixed with other foods, sure you might get your child to consume a serving of vegetables, but you might also create a lifelong aversion to vegetables. In my family, we enjoy eating a variety of vegetables. Just as my daughter grew up eating and enjoying healthy foods, so do my grandchildren today. We also know what those foods do for us and why we need them.
As the epidemic of childhood obesity worsens, wise parents provide their children with healthy foods, healthy activities and practical knowledge to make good choices. Don’t make healthy eating into an ordeal. Many healthy foods are very tasty—in fact, far better than the junk-food alternatives. Try small portions of healthy foods—just a few slices of apple or orange, a stalk of baby broccoli, carrot sticks, organic strawberries or blueberries, for example.
Have meals as a family. Eating together leads to better nutrition as well as stronger family bonds. Do physical activities together—walking, hiking, or bicycling. Playing games outdoors just for fun is a great way to get moving. Allow time in your yard or in the park for tag and just running free. You’ll all have a great time together. Health is a family matter, and it’s the best gift you can give your children.