How well does your child eat?
If you can, think back to when you were a kid of 7-13 years old. Do you recall the types of food you ate back then? If you are in your 30’s like me, the food that you had on a day-to-day basis is probably quite a bit different than the food that today’s 7-13 year olds eat.
The food industry has changed quite a bit over the past 20 years. In some cases for the better, but in many others not so much. Far too often the “bottom line” is the driving force in how the food is both grown and delivered to us today.
At our household, we try to be flexible with our kids and what we offer them for food choices. We typically have a family dinner every night, but not always… With that, we generally prepare a home cooked meal with 3 basic options; lean protein such as chicken or turkey, a fruit and/or vegetable and a starch, typically in the form of a pasta, potato or bread. We require that our kids eat a little bit of each thing that we prepare, WE DO NOT cater to their “wants” or “likes” with every meal. Their only alternative to the meal being served is a peanut butter sandwich – that’s it!
We don’t shop at Whole Foods or some fancy schmancy all organic food store for our groceries. We typically shop at our local grocery stores (Walmart, Meijer, Kroger, etc…), but we try to choose items at these locations that don’t come in a box or in a bag from the freezer isle (vegetables excluded here…).
Could we do better? Probably – but the idea here isn’t to be extremist or “food nazis” with our children, but rather teach them that food prepared at home is better for you in the long run.
What does your child know about food?
I am not entirely familiar with the requirements with every state’s education system as it relates to food/nutrition education, but based on personal experience with my own kids, it isn’t a point of emphasis. Most of what my kids know about food/nutrition has come from what we have taught them at home.
Most kids have trouble identifying even the most common fruits and vegetables, let alone eating them on a regular basis. That is not to say that every child needs to know how many grams of carbs or protein they should be consuming on a daily basis, but they should know the difference between the basic macro nutrients; protein, carbohydrates and fats, and how they positively or negatively impact their health.
When age appropriate, review a product label with your child and make sure they know how to read the nutrition label. Help them to, at the very least, become more aware of the differences between processed foods and single ingredient/whole foods. Try not to fall into the “oh…they are just kids” mindset. Set the example to your child by your own habits – this will have more influence on food matters than you might think.
Watch Jamie Oliver’s Ted Talk
Spend 25 minutes and watch this video – it is fantastic and you may be a bit surprised with what you learn.
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