Sunday, March 31, 2013
This has been rolling around in my head for some time now. So bear with me, please...
We all know that we cannot control the actions of other adults. Not only is it nearly impossible, it's rude and uncalled for. We CAN, however, control the actions of our children (whether biologically ours or those in our care for a time). In fact, it's our responsibility to do so!
Given this, why do I constantly see things like "I won't force my kids to eat healthy. Just because I'm on a diet doesn't mean they have to be"?
Now, I'm not talking a treat. Goodness knows I take great joy in introducing my nephew to the delights of lime slushies (what is an auntie for, after all?), but why would I regularly want to contribute to the unhealthy habits of those I love?
My parents introduced me to great, healthy, whole food from a young age. In fact, I had NO IDEA there were cereals with sugar in them until I went to school. No clue at all. I loved All Bran and Shredded Wheat (which wouldn't fit with my current lifestyle but certainly aren't the poison that Lucky Charms and Corn Pops are!), ate fresh seafood with my dad while watching the 80s Celtics, etc. They taught me a love of food that has made being healthy as an adult SO much easier because I don't have to learn to love all these foreign foods!
Why are our children's "go to" foods chicken nuggets and french fries instead of roast chicken and avocado? Why do they crave M&Ms instead of strawberries? Because we teach that to them!
Don't be afraid to introduce healthy eating from the start. My friend Christy is a great example of this. She runs a web site called Raw Y'all which, as you may guess, discusses her relationship with raw foods. She's completely a raw foodie and is raising her daughter to be the same. And her daughter not only loves it, but helps create new meals with her mom! She's not being deprived, she's being saved from a life of struggles!
I am so proud of my sister for teaching my nephew about real food. The boy simply LOVES fresh fruit. We laugh because my sister was going to offer him a surprise (a chocolate chip cookie) at the holidays and said something to the effect of "nephew, do you want a treat?", to which he replied in that wide-eyed way only a three year old could "A clementine?!?!?!" She's done good. :)
Even if your child has NO issues with weight in their lives, learning to eat real, whole foods will contribute to a healthy life in so many other ways. You wouldn't give them poison in a pill, let's stop doing it in food-form.