by Coach Debbie
Kids are so opinionated and unfiltered, aren't they? They scrunch up their little noses at vegetables and cross their arms when you tell them brownies are not a breakfast food. Next thing you know, that child is throwing a full-on tantrum because they refuse to eat what you're offering.
So what's a mom to do?
You've got some options.
Give in to your child each and every time. Let them eat whatever they want. Mountain Dew for lunch? Sure! 8 apples for breakfast? Makes sense! A box of pastries for dinner? Go for it!
Force feed your kids. Allow no input. And their plate must be cleaned at each meal. Tears are optional.
Focus on your child's health and wellness. Allow flexibility within boundaries. Plenty of God-grown foods with some less-than-stellar choices sprinkled throughout the month.
Which shall you pick? I'll be honest, I've done all 3 under my roof in some way over the years.
Here are some things to consider as the menu maker:
- You are the boss. Part of your role is being in charge and calling the shots.
- Lead by example. Model healthy eating.
- Remember that a hungry child will eat. If you cave, they will never ever forget.
- Pick the pace. When transitioning kids from Pop Tarts to Protein Smoothies, or from Dr Pepper to BCAA's, you can decide to go slowly or cold turkey. Because you're the boss. Maybe you want to ease your crew into healthier choices with just one thing at a time, or maybe you purge the kitchen and tell the family that you've gone radically natural.
- Switch things up. Vary the meals you make to keep everyone interested. Yeah, Taco Tuesday is a great staple, but we can't just rotate the same 5 meals forever and not lust after pizza and fries.
- Be ready. Have healthy finger foods and easy-to-grab options available. Having a giant bell pepper may not be as appealing as sliced peppers, for example. Walk the perimeter of the grocery store for ideas.
- Bring your kids into the process. Invite them to help with the grocery shopping (and share the "rules" of the game). Go to the farmer's market. Grow your own foods. Depending on their age, let them help with prepping and cooking. They'll be far more happy about their entree if they were involved.
- Creatively name meals for fun. This can be done by you and/or the kids! When I first added spinach to my kids' Mom Fuel smoothies, I immediately sang, "Who wants a HULK shake?"
It's hard for kids to grow up eating junk and then magically become healthy adults, right? Let's start now. The sooner the better (trust me).
Poor nutrition has a lot of consequences for your offspring:
- bone and joint problems
- high cholesterol
- high blood pressure
- sleep apnea
- social problems
- psychological problems
- academic problems
- lack of focus
- kidney disease
- heart disease
- digestive issues
- food addiction
- nutrient deficiency
"I love you too much to poison you." This can be your new motto! Do your kids need to eat PERFECTLY? Heck no! Let's simply incorporate some healthier options into their daily nutrition. Deal?
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