Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Please, Just Eat Your Vegetables Already!

Once again reading through my favorite parent magazine (Parents) my eyes focused in on the title of one of the main articles highlighted, "How to Trick Your Child into Eating Their Vegetables". Immediately, the word "Trick" caught my eye. Since when should we have to trick our children into doing anything? Last time I checked, I was the parent & they were the children - NOT the other way around.
In today's society many kids really do hate vegetables & as much as we would like to point fingers & blame other things & people, the fact of the matter is that most of the fault does start with the parents.
From the moment we get that green light to start feeding our babies solid food, I have found it to be wise to follow the schedule the doctor typically recommends. These doctors certainly aren't suggesting a specific schedule of food introduction to be mean, on the contrary, they know very well how easy it is for babies to love the fruits & not so much favor the vegetables and this is why they say, start with veggies - first.
Secondly, I think we need to take meal planning more seriously as our babies start to become toddlers, then preschoolers, then grade schoolers & so forth. We need to make sure we are doing our best to add a variety of vegetables to our meal planning (and snacks), not just fruits as our children are growing up. Also, I have found that by continuing to add things like as onions, mushrooms, peppers, etc. to our cooking as we add lil ones to our mealtimes, they too can grow to love these things, thus creating a less "picky", more well-rounded eater. There is such a variety of veggies out there that we can create some really well-rounded eaters. Honestly, "picky eaters" are just not fun & can be quite frustrating at mealtime. Although some parents of picky eaters may argue that their children were just "born that way", I do believe that sometimes, as parents, we help nurture that in them even more, especially when we cater to them - even going so far as to make separate meals and/or place "special orders" for them. Mistakenly we tend to not only tolerate it, but cater to it as well, making it worse.
Creating healthy eaters does start right there in the beginning stages. We need to minimize the candy, juices, & other sweets, even during the baby stage of development (their first year). Some grandparents think it is so cute to feed the baby a lil' of this or drink a lil' of that, but it can actually sabotage the good eater you are trying to mold and shape your child into. Sugar, spices, & seasonings are good, no doubt, but once the lil' one gets too many tastes of that too early, we are going to taint their ability to develop a love for the more bland, but healthy stuff. This lays a foundation for creating a picky eater. You see, first the child MUST develop a healthy "love" for those foods that are good for them. Then later on, we can slowly teach them about the "sometimes foods" (those ones we all love - chocolate, cheetos, juice, candy, etc.) & also how to practice self-control/discipline.
Another HUGE thing is putting into practice leading by example. You can tell your kids all you want to "Eat their vegetables!" & you can continue to put it on their plates, but if you are not eating your own share of vegetables and/or you are constantly expressing verbally in front of them how much you hate vegetables, then of course they are going to eventually catch on & start being the same exact way you are. What parent doesn't want their kid to have better than what they had? If we were raised with less healthy eating habits & want to change this in our own kids than we must start with ourselves by making a decision to change. We have to lead by example - action & words. Gosh, that is so me & corn. To this day I despise corn, but you better believe if we have corn on the cob for dinner, mommy has 1 too.
I was watching this show recently & the lil' toddler was chomping down on a Popsicle, when the dad saw him with it the mom explained, "You bet that got him to finish up his broccoli". Unfortunately we are doing our children a HUGE disservice by resorting to bribery & manipulation to get them to do what is good & right. It may seem like the easy thing to do in the short term especially when they are crying about not getting any dessert because they refused to eat any of their vegetables, but in the long run, we are actually hurting them. We can't be ruled by our emotions, but rather, as parents, we must "stick to our guns" & stay consistent because we know we are actually helping them & their futures. Now just for the record, I am not saying that if your kid made a strong effort to make a dent in their vegetables that you should always with hold back dessert or whatever, you know what I mean. Lol. Its a huge responsibility, but we are the ones shaping own children's eating habits for life. Gosh, take it a step further & realize also that we are also the ones shaping how physically active they are going to be.
All in all, being a parent is a huge responsibility, but being a good parent starts with having the right heart & always desiring to grow, change, & improve. :)
- M&M Momma
With the cold weather comes
my girls obsession with warm pjs-asleep or not!

At their friend's birthday party 

No comments:

Post a Comment