Do your kids eat real food? If you are pregnant, I’m sure you are very conscious about what you are putting in your body, but have you thought about your game plan for once the baby is born, and eating solid foods? You would be SURPRISED at what as a mother you might allow and not think twice of just to get your toddler and kids to eat.
Our children are the first generation to ever be told that they will have a lesser life expectancy than their parents. This is due to a number of factors that contribute to cardiovascular disease, diabetes and more. A good portion of this is due to the foods our children are eating. There are more children overweight in America than any other country. Rates of diabetes in children are skyrocketing. Is it really any wonder? When I grew up, I do not remember children’s menus. We ate what was on the restaurant menu. Now, virtually every restaurant has children’s menus. What’s on them? Chicken nuggets, macaroni and cheese, pizza and quesadilla. Honestly, I think those are the four food groups for kids now. We’re talking about the greasiest, highest fat foods that we would never touch; but somehow it’s ok to feed our kids these foods. When I was a kid, going out to eat was a treat. Maybe we would go out once per week. Now it seems we are all going out to eat every other day. Whether it’s to pick up lunch or grab a dinner; it’s no longer occasional if it’s happening daily.
But that’s just part of it. When our kids aren’t in restaurants, they are filling their bellies with a host of processed foods. From “fruit snacks” that have no fruit to cookies and sodas. It’s hard to find any kids’ foods without high fructose corn syrup or hydrogenated oils. When my kids were babies, I read a great book called Child Of Mine. The author, Ellyn Satter, teaches that our job as a mom is to offer our kids good food and it’s their job to decide how much to eat. Naturally, your body knows how to regulate what it should be eating. The key word is naturally. If you eat any food from nature, your body will know when to stop. For instance, take a banana. It’s a great food. You eat it. You enjoy it, and you’re done. Rarely does anyone say, “Oh I just can’t stop eating bananas”. But you take a food that is processed and your natural instinct goes away. You can eat a package of Oreos or a bag of Goldfish and still not feel satisfied.
If we want our kids to eat good foods, we need to model that behavior ourselves. Over the years, I’ve had several clients come to me because they were concerned with their daughters’ eating. The girls didn’t want to eat or were not making healthy choices. Each time I asked the moms to give me THEIR food diaries. Not the daughter’s but the mom’s. “Why?” they said. It’s my daughter who is having the issue. In every single case I found that the mom was on a diet, didn’t eat dinners with their kids and / or had her on food issues. Our kids are like sponges. They pick up on more than we give them credit for. If you want your children to enjoy eating, they need to experience that with you. If they see you eating diet food, they will want diet food. Drinking soda, they will want soda. Family meals are important for so many reasons. Just one of them is so that your children will see you enjoy food.
Lisa Druxman is the Founder of Fit4Mom, an amazing mom, and a PAM Advisor!