Saturday, September 15, 2012

Lunch time!

A typical lunch at our house involves a source of protein left over from the previous night's dinner, veggies, and some fruit.  I strive to feed our family lots of fresh and healthy food.  This lunch included lemon-basil chicken, baked butternut squash (grown in our garden), steamed broccoli and cauliflower, and fresh red peppers and cucumbers.  And yes, my kids eat all these things!

We've certainly had experience with the kids being picky eaters at times.  I have found that starting healthy eating habits young really pays off.  I don't make special meals for anyone who doesn't like what is offered at a particular time.  Everyone is required to take at least one bite of each item on their plate every time it is served.  I follow this rule as well.  When I cook shrimp for my family I tell the kids, "Shrimp has never been one of my favorite foods, but I'm going to try it again to see if I like it yet."  I show them how I can try a bite and then take a bite of something else if I don't like the flavor.  "No, I still don't like it, but I'm glad I tried it."

Modeling healthy eating habits makes a big difference!  I don't expect my kids to eat differently than I do.  I often fix myself a healthy snack and my kids almost always want some when they see me eating it.  I try to give them healthy choices such as fruits, vegetables, and nuts for snacks.  If they are hungry enough, most kids will eat what is offered.

Sometimes we have conversations that go like this:
"Mom, I am so hungry.  Can I have something to eat?"
"Sure.  Would you like apple slices, almonds, or carrots?"
"No, I want something different."
"Those are your options."
"But mom, I'm starving and that is not what I want!"
"People who are starving are happy to eat whatever is available.  Let me know if you change your mind."

As parents, it is our job to help our kids develop good habits.  How and what they learn to eat will make a big impact on their health and well-being throughout their entire lives.

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