Joey Shulman, DC, RNCP
Do your children refuse to eat their vegetables? Do they prefer sugary foods and drinks to fresh produce and whole-grain breads and pastas? If so, you're not alone. Many parents are frustrated by having to compete with slick advertising campaigns luring their children toward the next sugary treat or fast-food snack..
Do your children refuse to eat their vegetables? Do they prefer sugary foods and drinks to fresh produce and whole-grain breads and pastas? If so, you're not alone. Many parents are frustrated by having to compete with slick advertising campaigns luring their children toward the next sugary treat or fast-food snack.
The quantity and quality of food that children eat affects several health issues including attention deficit disorder, repetitive ear or throat infections, obesity, and allergies. Using good nutrition as a powerful safety net is the best health insurance a parent can buy.
Some parents may feel slightly tense about making changes in a child's diet. Excuses about why a healthier diet wouldn't work for their child include:
While it's true that introducing healthier food items into a fussy eater's diet may prove to be more of a challenge, it can be done. It's important to remember that children do not have the opportunity to make a lot of their own personal choices. Refusing to eat different foods may be more about exercising their little voices with the food itself.
When your fussy eater refuses to try healthy options, honour this by listening to what she or he is saying and offering up to two other healthy food choices. If another refusal follows, do not panic. Be consistent by sticking to your new health plan. Within a short time you will hear little feet pitter-pattering into the kitchen asking for a healthy meal or snack.
If you feel you don't have the energy or the time to implement a healthy diet in your daily regime, know that this is exactly why you should start. Low energy and fatigue are symptoms of a poor diet and dehydration. Busy parents can also lean on healthier prepackaged options that are now available at most health food stores.
The excuse that healthier eating is a more expensive venture, isn't true or acceptable. Fresh fruits and vegetables are one of the cheapest items you can purchase at your grocery store. When looking for treats or snacks for your children visit your local bulk store and stock up on healthy trail mix, nuts, seeds, and dried fruit. Purchasing healthier whole-grain flours (such as kamut or spelt) and brown rice in bulk is also easier on the family's budget.
High quality nutrition is not a privilege it is every child's birthright. Instead of caving into your child's requests for the latest prepackaged lunch or sugary delight, switch them over to healthier meals and treats, which can be equally delicious and affordable!