Feeding kids and teaching them healthy habits can be tricky. I can’t even count how many times I’ve engaged in a “food war” with my very picky son, only for both of us to leave the table frustrated and discouraged. “I’m a nutrition coach! How can my son NOT want to eat his veggies??” I often wondered.
The sad truth is that diabetes in school age children is on the rise, and we all know the obesity rate is at an all time high. The pesticides, additives, preservatives, nitrates, artificial colors and flavors, and added sugars that many foods contain are paving the way for our kids to be the unhealthiest generation yet. So, what’s a concerned parent to do? There’s certainly no easy answer, and experimentation is often necessary, but here are a few tips to ending the “Food Fights”:
Eat together. (at least 3 meals per week)
Shop together, and let them choose new, healthy options to place in the cart.
“Waste food!” Put good, healthy food out, even if you think they won’t eat it. Make it available always, and then just put it away and reuse it. (Like a veggie platter with dips)
Stop talking and just DO. Set the example by filling your plate with greens, veggies, heathy fats, and clean protein.
Kids love skewers! Meatballs, fruit, cheese, lunch meats…if you can put it on a skewer, they are more likely to eat it.
When putting your child’s meal together, make sure that you are giving them protein, carbohydrates (largely in the form of veggies), and healthy fat. When we give them a meal that is 80% carbs, they will be very hungry in about an hour after eating, they will have a hard time concentrating, and will likely feel fidgety or “amped up.” By giving them a balance of those 3 macronutrients, their brains will be fed, they will have all the energy they need, their hunger will be satiated, they will stay full longer, and they will have the nutrients needed to do the hard work of growing!
Most likely, if we set a good example at home, our kids will become conscientious eaters as they grow up.