The constant challenge for every parent I Know, including myself, is how to get our children to eat less processed food. Kids, like adults really gravitate to salty, crunchy and sweet. While I certainly don´t have all the answers, maybe some of the techniques I have learned can help others.
I have a very active, four year old daughter. She runs, swims, bikes and plays a lot. She is also very competitive and likes to be fast.
So, knowing what is important to her, I educate her on how food affects her body, energy level and stamina. My policy is to expose her to different foods, be an example and explain what food choices do to her body. I try not to sound judgmental and make food (or her choices) good or bad… just the facts.
Long before she knew what energy and stamina were I have been explaining the importance of vegetables and protein. I have allowed her to eat only bread and pretzels when that has been the only thing she’s wanted to eat, and then made it a point to explain the next day that her food choices are the reason she is constipated. Now, when she has a hard time in the bathroom she asks for cauliflower (her favorite…yes!!).
We as parents have a responsibility to offer our kids to lots of variety of foods and while we’re at it, eat lots of variety too. Children copy so many nuances of our interactions and movement; it’s not such a reach that they copy our eating habits. If I eat broccoli, drink water and enjoy my meal chances are my daughter will too.