Today I would like to discuss how we are relating to food with our children. What do I mean by this? For instance, if in the morning you are telling your child, “Eat this- you need more fiber” or “ You never eat enough fruits and vegetables…”. Sound familiar? What I am concerned about is that we are making meals into somewhat laborious tasks that must be completed. By telling children what they HAVE to do or what they are missing is taking away the enjoyment of eating.
Start making breakfast time enjoyable now so that when they are teenagers maybe they will get up a few minutes early to eat. How? Just make sure to offer everything (protein, carb, fruit, dairy). And don’t nag about what they are not eating (as a parent I know, not easy). But we can all try.
Not happy with a cereal your child wants for breakfast? Maybe not a “whole grain” or not enough fiber? Mix it with another cereal. Or let them have the treat cereal once in a while and serve it with some whole wheat toast and some fruit.
My advice for all meals is that it is up to the parents to offer balanced meals. It is up to the child to choose or not choose to eat those things. Your job is done once you have cooked and presented the food. Family style eating (where your child gets to pick what they will eat- food gets passed around) gives children more control over eating. The point that I would like to end with is that kids don’t need to get caught up in all the mixed messages about food. They should concentrate on activities they like, playing with friends, homework- instead of the added worry of not enough vitamin C, too many carbs, not enough fiber, etc. Let’s just treat food like food!