The breakdown of the traditional large family has created various complications when it comes to raising children. When many of the families were immigrating here from European countries, they had a large variety of ethnic foods. Eating was a communal activity that involved uncles, cousins, grandmothers, and a large variety of people. A lot of time was spent on preparation of the meals to build up a diversity of ingredients that kept things interesting. If you were fickle and did not like what was prepared, you didn’t eat. There was no TV dinner, fast food restaurant, or instant alternative to cry about.
This lifestyle was very beneficial. The wisdom of the elders and the healthy foods they prepared would be handed down through the generations. Children would grow up and associate many healthy foods with loved ones and some of the fondest memories of their lives. Nowadays, working parents and grandparents are all too busy to cook healthy foods. Eating is more of a private occasion of whatever they might be able to pick up or stop for after work. Children who are exposed to these junk foods early in life will become fickle eaters who demonize vegetables and healthy snacks as inferior peasant foods.
Fast foods actually work a lot like illicit drugs by stimulating the pleasure centers of the brain. The high levels of saturated fats, sugars, in calorie-packed processed foods can have your kids chasing after pizzas and coca cola like a rat navigating a maze for more crack. Children can become manipulative and throw temper tantrums to get their pleasure center rewards. Perplexed parents will cave in or try to force children to eat natural foods as punishment. These children may then go on to suffer from obesity, attention deficit disorders, hyperactivity, and type-2 diabetes. This is why it is so important that we take care of what our children put in their bodies.
Why is Junk Food So Accessible to Children?
It is difficult for many parents to teach their children healthy eating habits because they look like total hypocrites. The problem with eating healthy for everyone these days is time and money. Fast food is inexpensive by comparison and an easy solution to fill your child’s tummy.
One solution is setting aside time on your days off for making large volumes of your own healthy fast food or TV dinners. It is possible to freeze a large variety of ready-to-go healthy meals or snacks that you can quickly heat up in your toaster oven or microwave. Instead of ordering pizzas, you can turn anything from a pita to a bagel into a pizza with some shredded cheese, veggies, and pizza sauce. Mothers might even consider building a family diet based on weight loss programs for women to reach health goals simultaneously.
Investing in a large chest freezer and cooking a variety of large meals that you can divide into portions and reheat on busy days is the best idea ever. If you know how to cook and can follow recipes to produce really interesting dishes, this is an awesome idea. The problem with food is that it is more entertainment for our mouth than anything. It is hard to make a meal satisfying because we do not create the diversity of dishes like large communal families did in days past.
How to Transform Fickle Eaters
If your child is already a fickle eater, it is never too late to pull the plug and get them eating healthy foods. No matter how much they cry for junk foods, you have to hold out and explain that junk food is no longer in your budget. If there are particular foods like peas or carrots that they have a psychological aversion to eating, you can blend these vegetables up and incorporate them into quiches, soups, and sauces to trick them into eating the foods. High-carb fruits like bananas, boiled eggs, peanut butter, alkaline water, whole grain pitas filled with unprocessed meats and vegetables, and maybe a small piece of chocolate will give your children a balanced and nutritious lunch every day.
Promote Healthy Eating Patterns
When your children eat is as important as what they eat, so it will be up to you to create a consistent schedule for meals and snacks. As time goes on, their bodies will grow accustomed to a routine and you can plan meals reliably around their hunger. This will help everyone in the family stick to a constant pattern for meals, so you won’t have to feed younger children at a different time. When everyone is eating at the same time, it will be easier to ensure they’re eating healthy.
Don’t “Push” Good Nutrition
You might do this by refusing to let your child snack, or by forcing your child to eat healthy foods. In either case, the results may be disastrous. By simply providing healthy meals, you’re doing your job. Let your child choose for himself which foods he’ll eat. As long as you’re not bringing unhealthy options into the home, you’re doing your part. Attempting to force your child to eat vegetables, for instance, will only build up friction and cause the child to resist your efforts.
Let Your Children Participate
While you have the final decision in planning meals for your family, it can be beneficial to let your children help with the grocery shopping. As you shop, you can teach your children how to read nutrition labels and which foods are okay to eat. If you own or rent a home with a yard, you can even let your children create a fruit and vegetable garden. Growing their own foods will help them appreciate the food that much more.
Nutrition is important for everyone, and we know it is especially difficult to convince children to adopt healthier eating habits. As the meal provider, it will be up to you to adopt new tactics for getting everyone in your family to eat more wholesome foods and to enjoy their healthier options. These suggestions hopefully helped you get your children on board with a new diet that will promote better health, but there are thousands of options out there. Find which one works best for you!