How Do Your Food Attitudes Influence Your Kids?

1SHARES

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
3/3/2009 6:36 AM   :  51 comments

Every parent wants what's best for their child. And for some, that means reading labels and doing as much research as they can to ensure their child's diet is a healthy one. But could too much focus on things like trans fats and high fructose corn syrup lead to unhealthy feelings and behavior in our kids?

Often the parents aren't as concerned about obesity as they are about other health problems (like diabetes and hyperactivity) that can be strongly influenced by diet. But experts are finding that creating a diet that is too strict (such as only eating organic foods to avoid pesticides) can create unhealthy feelings about food. Many children start to become anxious and afraid of what's going to happen to them if they consume "bad" foods. These feelings and attitudes aren't just showing up in older kids and adolescents, but even in children as young as age 5.



One researcher has coined the term "orthorexia," which refers to people obsessed with health food. He theorizes that this condition can develop in homes where there is a fixation on health food, although eating disorder experts disagree and consider this to be a form of anorexia nervosa or obsessive compulsive disorder. There's no research to prove that an obsession with health food can lead to eating disorders. But preoccupation with avoiding "bad" foods can become an issue for young people who are surrounded by those ideas at home.

I'll admit that I'm a label reader, and I try to be very careful about the foods I prepare for my 2-year old. I want to set a good example, teaching her that healthy foods can taste good and veggies are a normal part of the day. I buy organic products when I can and she doesn't drink juice or soda. But I do let her have "treats" now and then. If we go to a birthday party, I'm not going to tell her she can't have a few bites of cake because it's full of processed foods and "chemicals". Sometimes I worry that my label reading and focus on healthy foods could create fixations for her down the road. But I do my best to balance being an informed consumer with relaxing and letting her "live a little".

When it comes to food, how do you create healthy attitudes and behaviors in your children? Are you worried that they could become too focused on health food because of the examples they see at home? How do you create a healthy balance?



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Comments

  • 51
    Mine are still way too young, 2 and 1. I cook healthy meals at home, but once in a while we will go out and i will let them have some fries or we can order in a pizza. I do not allow them to have soda, but i let them have some juice.Their cereal is whole wheat and i use honey when i feel something need sweetening. I pray that as they grow older, they will stick to what they know. I am not too fussy about what i eat, but i grew up with healthy organic food..... - 11/29/2009   8:21:06 AM
  • 50
    i try to teach my kids as much as i can about healthy foods my daugther who is 9 is very interested in learning about food we recently bought the book eat this not that for kids and they both love it and are making much better choices everywhere we go it has namy fast food resterants and helps them to make the better choice..i bought this after buying it for myself arfter a friend told me about it - 11/2/2009   12:07:05 PM
  • 49
    I do all of the cooking in my house, and always have, so although my children are grown now (the youngest is graduating college this spring) they pretty much stick to healthy foods. Both of my daughters are vegetarian by choice ( a choice made as older teenagers or adults) my son and my husband still eat meat which I will cook for them. I never hit anyone over the head with healthy choices, but I think they stick with healthy because that's what they always got and it just plain tastes better! - 3/21/2009   11:11:51 AM
  • 48
    In my house we focus on eating healthy. My daughter knows what a "healthy snack" is and what a "treat" is. She's a kid, and I let her have treats on occasion, but we discuss WHY foods are healthy and what is unhealthy about other foods. We are not deprived, and we are not obsessed. We are educated! - 3/19/2009   12:42:52 PM
  • 47
    Children are definitely influenced by our comments and views on food. My daughter was my picky eater. She would not try anything new. Now that she has her own 2 year old she knows that she has to at least pretend to try something in order to get her son to try it. If he forms his own opinion that he doesn't like something then at least she's tried to introduce him to it. She has also been careful what she feeds him without making comments about how bad something is for him. Her mother-in-law has an allergy to gluten products and a great aunt has cialiacs disease so she knows that because it is on both sides of the family the chances of him having the same problem are greater. She also watches his sugar intake because diabetes runs on her dads side of the family so consequently he LOVES almost all kinds of fresh fruits and vegetables. - 3/6/2009   2:23:59 PM
  • 46
    I'm not worried at all about my kids being too concerned with unhealthy things like high fructose corn syrup or hydrogenated oils. There's no doubt in my house that mommy buys only foods that do NOT have either in them. Now, Daddy is another case. He focuses on "what tastes better" and the kids are the ones telling him that he has the "bad" peanut butter (whereas the rest of us eat natural) or other foods like that.

    I want them to be completely aware of my idea of healthy foods and unhealthy foods. We all eat unhealthy foods from time to time, but I try to make sure most of the options in our house are the healthiest versions of our favorite foods. I don't think being very aware of what you are eating is a bad thing. Even being aware of the junk food that we consume. We're aware - not obsessed! :) :)

    Great topic!! - 3/5/2009   5:08:35 PM
  • 45
    I don't know, if you have made a commitment to eat organic foods then not allowing them in your home and discouraging your children from eating them outside the home does not seem unreasonable. Otherwise then your children could rightfully argue that if they are ok elsewhere then why not at home. - 3/5/2009   12:51:23 AM
  • 44
    kids are easily influenced....I remember years ago I must have said something about being on a "diet" and bought some special food just for that...my son....after tasting a bite he looked at me and asked "Mommy, does this mean I"m on a diet now?" - 3/4/2009   6:22:11 PM
  • ECHRISTI22
    43
    I try to teach my children what is healthy but I never make a food off limits. I try to teach them to listen to their bodies so they eat when they are hungry and stop when they aren't. So far it is working. - 3/4/2009   4:20:18 PM
  • 42
    My husband and I didn't really grow up with a healthy relationship with food, so I really hope that when we have children one day we can set a good example without leading to any eating disorders! - 3/4/2009   12:23:16 PM
  • 41
    I have a daughter who struggles to eat enough calories mainly due to a medication that alters her taste and reduces her appetite. I also have a husband who is a junk food king but also skinny as a rail... So I have given up in some ways. I have to allow high calorie treats or my daughter will lose weight (she also does not care for many sweets), and my husband would buy and bring those items into the house anyhow. I instead focus on making sure she gets a healthy dinner (lean proteins, good fats and in good proportion) with fruits and veggies as much as possible. She was once a good healthy eater, and I'm hoping that that characteristic will return once she gets over this phase (she's 14).
    - 3/4/2009   11:29:13 AM
  • HLBLLY
    40
    Most children do not need to be on a diet. They need to eat all kinds of different things to learn what they like or do not like. They also need all of the nutrients they can get because they are still growing. I am not saying give them all the sugar they want. They also need to go out and play to burn up some calories. - 3/4/2009   11:28:45 AM
  • 39
    My father was a dentist and my mother was strict about no candy or soda in the house ("it causes cavities"). I never had a cavity in my life (I'm 43), but as soon as I got out on my own, my weight ballooned up as I ate the things that I was denied!
    My 3 stepkids came into my life when they were 5 and 7 years old. The 7-yo was obese, and the 5-yo twins were underweight. I started by exchanging out their whole milk for 2%, then down to 1%, and eventually to skim milk. Then, I exchanged their white bread for wheat bread. I laid down rules about sweets and snacks ("you can only have a snack if you ASK first; no raiding the cupboards without asking," and "sweets only after lunch on the weekends"). I don't bring soda into the house, but I allow them one soda per day on the weekends (usually lunchtime, as I don't like them having soda at night) if we eat out. I water down the 100% juice that I allow them 8 oz. of with breakfast each day. I insist that they vary their breakfasts, so they don't have waffles every day with syrup. Over the years, I have stopped buying PopTarts (too much sugar) and started buying mini bagels (the regular-sized bagels were TWO servings each!). I recently also stopped buying white pasta and replaced it with a whole wheat blend. Small changes like this have made a difference.
    I also talk to my kids about portion sizes. I especially emphasize that NO child should be on a diet until they have finished growing. So my daughter, who is now 17, has decided to go pescetarian (vegetarian, but she eats fish, too). I make her go on Spark and keep track of her protein and her vitamins, to be sure she is getting the right amount every day. The 14-yo (who was once the 7-yo obese stepdaughter) has now "grown into" her weight, but still struggles with eating healthy. I talk to her about healthy foods, and she has to make the choice to eat healthy or not. I am not with her 24/7, so I know that when she goes to the mall she gets sugary drinks, cookies, and candy. But she knows what is good for her and what is not. She is a teenager, after all, and is probably rebelling against my suggestions! But I am confident that, in the end, she will choose to eat well most of the time. Isn't that all that we can hope for?
    The twins are 12 now, and they are always asking me, "is this healthy?" My next challenge will be to stop buying Kraft Mac & Cheese and exchange that for something healthier. Now that the kids make a lot of their own breakfasts and lunches, I am trying to keep very healthy items in the house so that they have good things to choose from. I do sometimes buy a bag of chips that they can share, but I don't keep cookies, cake, or other processed snacks in the house. We have granola bars, fruit, nuts, and yogurt, which I encourage them to eat as snacks. I am also on the lookout for a healthier option to the granola bars, as I think there are fruit & nut bars out there that have less processed ingredients and more whole ingredients. Baby steps! - 3/4/2009   10:48:19 AM
  • 38
    I serve whole foods and as much organic as I can afford (I use the dirty dozen list) at home. I also teach my children about foods, labels and health. I don't buy junk food unless it is for a special occasion and try to purchase foods as close to their natural state as possible. However, my kids eat whatever they want when they go to their grandparents' or friends' homes. If I am with them, then I try to at least help them moderate their servings, but I don't forbid the junk food. I figure that if they are eating healthful foods at home, some junk food every week or two won't kill them. Hopefully, they will make wise choices most of the time when they are grown. - 3/4/2009   10:41:09 AM
  • 37
    my daughter has to watch what she eats. she had to start learning how to read nutritional labels when she was 5. she is type 1 diabetic. i always have been calorie crazy. when i was a teenager it scared me because some times i would refuse to eat more than 1000 calories a day. even now, though i weigh as much as i do, i have a hard time hitting my calorie range. i am supposed to eat 2200 and i get in about 1500. i do think though, my healthy eating habits have influenced my kids. they snack on fruit and vegetables. i never have to argue with them about eating their veggies. they love salads and whole fresh fruits and vegetables. they eat whole grains and i cook from scratch most of the time. i do think they are more aware of what they are eating because of what we have to pay attention to because of my daughter and then myself. so far it has been a good thing though. - 3/4/2009   10:20:16 AM
  • COLLOMR
    36
    I set a healthy example for my kids. We eat breakfast at home each morning, the kids pack their lunches (our schools do not have cafeterias) and I cook dinner 6 to 7 nights a week. I always have one or two vegetables at dinner. The kids have eaten whole grains since day one and are used to that. We have a fruit bowl on the counter. I don't buy soda.
    On the other hand, I make desserts 3 or 4 nights a week, I make cookies for their lunches, we eat ice cream & chips on occasion and while I don't buy much candy, I do not ration the candy they do get for holidays.
    We often hike, bike, swim or run as a family and my 3 kids are involved in various sports. No one in the family has a weight problem. I think it is all about moderation and balance. - 3/4/2009   10:16:37 AM
  • 35
    I try to maintain balance with my family's meals. We always have at least one veggie with dinner and we snack on fresh fruit often. My son likes his treats, but he knows that they are treats and he only gets them on occassion. My eating habits lately have probably been worse than his (cravings during pregnancy are hard!) When he sees us eating salad he wants it too, and he gets his own little bowl of salad with a bit of reduced fat dressing just like us. I think it's all about balance, not restricting things completely. If I tell him no to all junk food, then when we aren't around he will go overboard. But he limits himself too, and he doesn't even like soda so I can avoid that issue for a while. - 3/4/2009   9:48:46 AM
  • IM_AMY
    34
    I've ran into some people who had weight issues and in my opion went too far pushing them kids to stay thin. I wish the author would have gone on to suggest some guidelines. - 3/4/2009   9:21:51 AM
  • 33
    One of the reasons I have such difficulty with the idea of tracking my food as an adult is that as someone who has struggled lifelong with obesity I have unpleasant memories of certain foods being declared "not my 'kind'" and such foods were off limits to me. I had to weigh / measure portions. I detested all of this and rebelled...thus feeding into my lifelong preoccupation with food.

    Now I'd rather stick with foods that are healthy, avoid my trigger foods (high carbie/starchie foods) and have accomplished much WITHOUT tracking my foods.

    But to reach my weight goals I think I may yet have to conquer this Achilles Heel and take a hard look at tracking after all.

    Don, Co-Leader of All Health Professionals and Laid Off But Staying Strong SparkTeams - 3/4/2009   8:43:09 AM
  • 32
    I have to laugh - SP bloggers and I almost always catch and blog on the same articles in the news! This one caught my eye because of its comment on nutrition classes in schools sometimes being part of the problem - I volunteer teach nutrition classes in public schools - and also because I have 2 kids, 5&9. Raised just the same way, my 9yo daughter ALWAYS chooses healthy, my 5yo son ALWAYS opts for junk. I don't force them to eat as I do but at this point - I do the shopping and the cooking, so I can control what comes into the house. Outside the house? I just hope that the lessons from home will prevail. Really, as parents, isn't that what it's all about? Teach them, model what you teach, then let them go.... - 3/4/2009   8:26:19 AM
  • 31
    For those who are asking, "What's wrong with juice?" Here are the facts: 8 ounces of unsweetened, pure OJ has MORE calories than 8 ounces of regular Coke. While it's true that the former has some vitamins vs. no nutritional value in the latter, your body reacts to them both in essentially the same way--as it does to all liquids. Liquids run through the pipes, and get excreted very quickly WITHOUT filling you up. Therefore, after a glass of juice, you've had over 100 calories, and you are no more full than if you'd had a glass of water for 0 calories. And the more juice you drink, the less water you'll drink, because you can only take so much liquid. Whole fruit, on the other hand is loaded with fiber, which fills you up. So, no, it's not even close to the same thing. Anyone who is trying to lose weight is terribly sabotaging themselves by drinking lots of juice. I know. Juice was the main source of my weight gain. All that said, I do let my 6-yr-old daughter drink juice, but only about an ounce at a time mixed with 4 or 5 ounces of water. - 3/3/2009   11:25:33 PM
  • 30
    I can be slightly obsessed and kinda controlling. I TRY to teach my kids that if they eat healthy I'm more likely to let them have treats. I tell them they MUST have fruit in the morning (though they rarely do) and they MUST have all the food groups for lunch. They also have to eat whatever I prepare for dinner, which is sometimes their favorite and sometimes something new (that they're not too sure of). My 13 yr old will fight me tooth & nail about the fruits & veggies and I worry I'm "forcing" him too much. Then there is the 5 yr old I sometimes worry 'cuz he'll talk about fat...which he is the OPPOSITE of! I try...sometimes too hard... - 3/3/2009   10:20:55 PM
  • 29
    I'm not the cook in my home, my hubby is, but when I do decide to cook it's so different from what he prepares. I use to have a daycare where the government paid me for meals and I had to show someone my meal plans and have a balanced meal to be reinbursed for it...well that taught me how to balance my meals. when I cook, I have a little bit of each food group in my meals. My friend always teases me about always having a plate full of food...salad, Veg, fruit, bread, meat, beans etc... Where when my hubby cooks we could have two types of potatoes, all kinds of noodles, fried meat...ugh. Not only do I cook differently then he does, when I do cook the family eats at the table together, when he cooks everyoone serves themselves and scatters to the wind...I need to cook more often uh? My girls eat what they like and I wish it were healthier, so I encourage them as much as I can and try to encourage my hubby to not bring "junk food" in the house, but it doesn't always work! - 3/3/2009   5:57:17 PM
  • 28
    My mother always restricted our food. Only one treat a day, she would dole out our halloween candy and only let us eat healthy fruit. Although I try to eat healthy I do not restrict my kids from eating anything. I do not make food "taboo" but I try and make them aware of their choices by pointing out when something is not a "healthy" food. I always try and point out when a food is healthy or not healthy and I never ride my kids about what they choose to eat or not choose to eat. My children are very cosmopolitan in there taste and some of the healthiest foods they love to eat are sushi and japanese foods such as stir frys and low cal soups. I try to make sure they have a balanced diet. - 3/3/2009   5:28:41 PM
  • 27
    I am trying to teach my kids about healthy vs. non-healthy foods and the fact that our bodies "run better" when we eat healthy food *most of the time*. I definitely talk to them about the fact that junk food now and then is totally fine because I think that's a realistic approach to anything...all things in moderation as they say. I don't give them junk food as a "treat" though. If we eat at mcdonald's or have candy at the mall, I say something like "that was fun, but that probably wasn't the healthiest food of our day so let's make sure to make some good choices for dinner so our bodies say thank you!" I just try to make sure that my kids are learning about balance and not to "be afraid" of junk food. That being said, there are certain foods that I tell them are "full of chemicals" and make our bodies say "eeeew" (like doritos) and then point out that there are lots of other crunchy salty things they can eat that taste good AND make our bodies happy. But, when they come home from their grandparents' house and say they had doritos, I say " oh well, every once in a while is no big deal" and then feed them healthy food at their next meal and say "I bet our bodies are are saying THANK YOU right now, don't you?" - 3/3/2009   4:45:13 PM
  • 26
    I do believe there is a fine line between educating children to make healthy choices and pushing it to the point of obsession (or in the other direction, no education at all). Like all things in life, when kids are completely deprived of something, they WILL seek it out at some point. And the effects of no nutritional education are obvious. Nothing is completely off limits in my house--but it is limited in quantity. I will tell my kids "if you choose this candy for a snack, you may only have one piece, or you could have a whole banana" I was always forced to eat all the food on my plate and portion control has always been an issue for me, so I'm trying to teach my kids about weighing the choices and moderation. They are also well aware that I exercise everyday---but I tell them it's because I want to be healthy and have energy--I never mention I'm trying to lose weight.

    And I don't understand about the fruit juice either. There are many options for no sugar added, and while it doesn't replace a piece of fruit exactly, I don't think it is a bad choice for a drink. In fact, my kids like milk so much I find I have to limit that and balance with juice to avoid constipation problems. I've allowed my kids on rare occassions (eating out) to taste soda, but they don't really like it. I feel it's important to let them try most things, and lead them to make the best decisions. - 3/3/2009   4:33:59 PM
  • 25
    Now that I am on a healthier kick, I always add fruit to breakfast or snack & add veggies to lunch & dinner. They seem to like mixed veggies rather than broccolli. My younger children play basketball and are pretty fit. My older daughter weighs 100lbs overweight but we are working on it always. - 3/3/2009   3:05:52 PM
  • 24
    As a mom to 3 girls I'm very aware that they see and hear everything. I never talk about weight, fat, calories or other negatives around them. They see me eat right and exercise and sometimes they ask if they can go running with me. I expose them to all kinds of food choices and I don't deprive them of anything. They have had a Happy Meal but it's a treat. Like every couple of months.

    I always have fresh fruit cut up and in bowls on the table when they get off the bus and they go right for it. My 2 year old ASKS for broccoli!! Start'em young and just asking them to try something is important. If they don't like it I don't force them to eat it, we'll just find something else they do like. - 3/3/2009   2:37:18 PM
  • 23
    It's all in how you present your choices. To paraphrase, you can lead a child (or an adult) to healthier foods, but ya can't make 'em eat it! But if all you offer a child is healthy foods & explain why they are good for you (eg: milk for strong dinosaur chompers aka teeth) most kids will usually choose wisely. - 3/3/2009   2:03:39 PM
  • DLCJ21
    22
    Why don't you let your child drink juice? A glass of 100% fruit or vegetable juice is just like consuming the actual fruit or vegetable. I don't see anything wrong with a glass of juice occasionally or maybe even once a day.

    Now the stuff that is packed with hfcs and sugar, I definitely understand, its just as bad as soda, but with 100% juices, you're not getting empty calories like you are with soda or non 100% juices. - 3/3/2009   1:50:33 PM
  • 21
    We don't stress over exactly what we eat, as long as it is healthy. Fortunately, my children do not enjoy soda or juice. So we don't have it in the house, only for parties. My children do enjoy the usual junk food "mac and cheese, chicken nuggets and french fries". However, I do make it wholesome - baking instead of frying. Using low fat milk and less butter, whole grain breads and pastas. Yes, they love brownies and cupcakes, but in moderation. Isn't that what is all about, moderation?

    My son also has a peanut/tree nut allergy, so I have to be careful about various processed foods we eat due to their processing techniques. So that ironically has helped me keep healthier foods in the house. - 3/3/2009   1:34:49 PM
  • 20
    I know from experience that rules of eating healthy can backfire.

    My mom would never let sweets or junk food in the house. I remember as a young child when I would visit friends, I would beg for cookies, sweets, etc. And gained a lot of weight after age 12.

    I always gave my children the choice of what to eat and never made them even taste any one food. Today, both are grown and prefer healthy foods. They know the dangers of eating junk. I on the other hand, had to learn the long, hard way.

    Thank God, today I eat healthy and love it! - 3/3/2009   1:27:50 PM
  • 19
    I eat healthy and seldom drink soda - water or milk for me please.
    My husband is complete opposite. He prefers white and if I don't buy white he either won't eat or will buy it himself. He is a huge soda pop drinker, will not drink water, milk occasionally.
    He grew up with 12 siblings. His mom's quote, which he still quotes today, "it's not about quality, it's about quanity." My husband will not buy quality food because it's too expensive. He believes cheaper the better.
    It's a battle when it comes to the kids. I buy heatlhy cereal, my husband wants the sugary cereal. My kids eat the sugary stuff, as well as pop-tarts (Yuck!) Wrestling season is an awful time around the house. I try to encourage my son to eat healthy and exercise to control the weight. I hate the statement generally heard regarding wrestling, "cut weight". My husband has been involved in wrestling almost his entire life and this is his way of doing it. It's a guarentee fight in our house.
    However, my kids do love fruit and veggies - fruits especially.
    I'm the healthy eater, my husband is the junk food junkie - the kids fall somewhere in between. I encourage the kids to eat healthy as much as possible. My daughter (14yrs) actually eats pretty healthy, my son (10yrs) not so much. - 3/3/2009   12:27:01 PM
  • 18
    I think the biggest thing is teaching my kids that cooking your own food matters. I definitely got into the habit of eating out a ton - which helped in no small way to widen my waistline. Yes, cooking is an effort, and yes, I'm tired when I get home from work, but what I tell the girls is that healthy people need to be in charge of what they put in their bodies, and cooking is how we do that. I try to help them see that treats are an important part of home eating - but they are just treats. "Regular" food should taste great and help your body do its jobs. Still trying, though! - 3/3/2009   12:08:52 PM
  • JOEFIT89
    17
    My Mom never prohibited any type of food when I was growing up. However since she was the one doing the shopping she always bought fresh food she cooked herself (wonderfully I might add) and she almost never bought junk (aka cookies, chips, fast food,...). So I didn't make junk food a habit. We used to go out for a rare burger and ate cake at birthdays but I knew, without being told, that these were exceptions not the rule.
    If I ever have children I wish that I would be as balanced and worry-free as my Mother. However, I can't see myself happily feeding my kids a meal from a fast food restaurant. I think that when I was growing up, while people understood that burgers and fries from a fast food restaurant weren't exactly healthy food, they didn't realize just how unhealthy it can be, even if eaten only on occasion! It is still something I have to work on, being more relaxed, but I have time ;) - 3/3/2009   11:52:54 AM
  • 16
    I have started to use more wheat in things like pasta.. My daughter said that she hated it.. i cooked up a pot so whole whet noodles and just put them to drain and she came my and wanted some.. i said sure and took some out for her and she ate them.. i then told her that they were wheat,, she said that they were good that they had a nutty taste but she liked them..I think that she just needed to try them before she said yuck to them.. i made grilled cheese for them and the only bread that i had was whole wheat.. i asked her if she would try them and she said that she would she liked them okay she did not eat the crust but that was okay with me.. this is a kid that would not try any thing like this before.. so a break through i hope so.. she is getting more and more like me she want to know about cal and fat .. She is 12 and i do not want to start on her about this.. she is fine i just want them to eat better than there mom..i do not want any of my kids to be like me i can only set an example and hope that they will see me doing it and do the same - 3/3/2009   11:50:08 AM
  • CMARTIN9
    15
    We fix the kids breakfast at home. They take lunches we fix them to school. We eat dinner at home 6 days a week. And we keep a big bowl of fresh fruit on the bar. I hope they are learning to eat healthy by what we feed them, which will help them make the right choices when it becomes their time to choose. We don't really talk too much about food being good or bad. We do have snacks, including ice cream & candy in the house. Our goal is balance and moderation. I'm the only one with a weight problem in my house! - 3/3/2009   11:37:47 AM
  • 14
    I think it is all in the way you view foods and introduce them to kids. My older grandson doesn't eat vegetables and only a few fruits. My younger grandchildren 4 and 6 they have always had fruit and vegetables and for snacks they prefer them over sweet things. When we go out to eat they will order salad over fries there choice. I think part of it is they don't watch much tv where they can hear eat your veggies they are good for you or on the sitcoms where kids won't eat veggies YUCK!!!!. Plus there mother and myself love our fruits and veggies. - 3/3/2009   11:22:07 AM
  • JSAMILA
    13
    I try not to be obssesive about reading the labels. I grew up eating plenty of processed foods & I'm just fine. I definetly feed my kids plenty of fresh fruits, veggies, meats, etc.., but I also have cookies, chips & sweet treats for random snacks. I find that the kids I know who never get to have sweet treats gorge on them whenever they have the chance. I am teaching my kids about balance & not overdoing it in any area. I think it is ok to have sweet treats as long as there is proper balance. Lets face it, kids are only kids for a little while, they already grow up too fast! :) - 3/3/2009   10:46:16 AM
  • 12
    I look at calories and labels so much that now my 4 year old asks "how many calories mama" Not that he understands but it is cute. Hopefully when he is older, like teenage years..he will be conscious of what he puts in his body. - 3/3/2009   10:45:32 AM
  • 11
    I think the best way to show our kids is by being a healthy example of what a good lifestyle is every day! - 3/3/2009   10:26:50 AM
  • 10
    Absolutely! My son is 7 years old; he asked for a veggie plate with my yogurt dips for his birthday party. I remember how my parents used to tell us to clean our plate. Now I encourage my son to put down the fork once he feels that he's eaten enough. He's doing pretty good in that department. - 3/3/2009   10:03:38 AM
  • DEBWILBORN35
    9
    I think as long as we serve healthy options at home, what a child is going to eat outside of the home may occasionally be 'bad', but will generally be just fine. At restaurants my six-year-old will always choose fruit over french fries, but also likes to have some ice cream after her meal. And she loves vegetables - which I didn't at that age, probably because my parents never served them to me. It's all about balance. - 3/3/2009   9:53:11 AM
  • 8
    Great article. - 3/3/2009   9:42:23 AM
  • 7
    My parents didn't allow the kids to drink soda. Now as an adult myself, I don't particularly care for soda. The only time I'll drink it is if it's the only thing around, but I much prefer milk and water for drinks. I remember ordering milk to drink at a restaurant and the server looked at me like I was crazy and had to go to the bar to find some. - 3/3/2009   9:31:38 AM
  • 6
    there are a few things that I tell my daughter (now 14) and I leave the rest up to her. I do try to model the behaviors I think will keep her healthy and have and serve lots of fresh fruits and veggies at meals. She likes to open the CSA box our box often has asian pears in them and she likes those. Here are some basic phrases I use.

    Avoid drinking your calories
    How many sweets does this make today? A healthy person limits their sweets.
    Fruit at breakfast helps to regulate your energy all day (while she's eating a breakfast every day that I made)
    Eating a variety of vegetables helps you keep cancer and diabetes away.
    Did you "Do" anything today? A healthy person get some activity in every day. - 3/3/2009   9:06:04 AM
  • 5
    I am still working on it. I only have one child left at home and he is extremely overweight. I am trying by example to help him change that. - 3/3/2009   9:05:18 AM
  • 4
    I turn to whole wheat pasta instead of white pasta and always serve home cooked meals. I discourage my children from eating at the school canteen everyday as the food served are mostly oily; noodle soup, fried rice, fried noodle, spring rolls, etc. I always encourage them to come home for lunch and bo back again to school if they have to. This way, they can save their daily pocket money and eat free at home - 3/3/2009   8:55:49 AM
  • 3
    I think you need to have a balance also. I like to buy as much organic as I can, but I also buy regular food and yes we do have processed food. Not as much as we used to though. And we do eat out. We talk about our eating habits alot and discuss the importance of eating healthy. - 3/3/2009   8:47:54 AM
  • RHYNIC
    2
    I believe that you can take any good thing to an unhealthy extreme - sure. Veggies are a normal and expected part of our dinner. When something happens that they are not present my kids will ask why. It's like no ketchup with french fries...if the ketchup is missing the fries are not the same...this is just a healthier version. I have never made my kids feel bad because of what they are eating, and we do have junk meals. Really it's all about balance. - 3/3/2009   7:41:48 AM

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