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Get Children to Eat Healing Foods

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Get Children to Eat Healing Foods

Compared to 50 years ago, we Americans eat drastically fewer vegetables and whole foods. Yet we are bombarded by toxins in enormously increased amounts. In 1980, we manufactured or imported 200 billion pounds of manmade chemicals a year. Today that figure is 27 trillion pounds.

First and foremost, as citizens we should find ways to reduce the burden of toxins in our environment, and change the system that allows this assault on our children to continue.

As prospective parents, start eating healthy foods even before your child is conceived, at least twelve months before you plan a pregnancy.  (One scientific article on the subject bears the title “You Are What Your Mother Ate.”)  But that should include both partners.  Some physicians recommend that pregnancy-planning women get tested for their nutritional levels; it probably makes sense for the partner to be tested, too.

How to get a young child to eat more produce and whole foods? Here’s what I learned (unfortunately, too late for my own grandchildren) from a wise friend:

• My children eat these foods because their taste buds are not polluted with synthetic flavorings or sugar.  I was careful to not introduce junk food to her and to my son.  Let’s face it, a carrot will not taste sweet and delicious if your child is getting donut holes or Captain Crunch for breakfast.

• Just because an infant spits out a food at your first attempt to give it to them does not mean that they don’t like it.  It’s just different to them, so you reintroduce it time and time again until they accept it.  Since babies learn a lot from facial expressions and voice tone, new foods should be introduced with a smile on your face and words of encouragement.

• We’re a one meal household:  If there’s a family member who does not like a particular food I’m making for dinner, I will not make a separate dinner to their liking just for them.  I will never cater to such pickiness.  If a child skips a meal because they hate what you are serving, that’s ok because they won’t starve to death from missing one meal; however, there’s no junk food in the house for them to fill up on till the next meal.

• It’s more difficult to get a child who has been altered by having junk foods to switch to healthy foods, but it is doable with patience.  I’ve made extensive use of children’s picture books that get the message across.  When possible, children should be allowed to help prepare the meals or do the shipping.  They also seem to like to grow the food and eat it right from the garden.

P.S.:  If your young child has a Fisher Price play kitchen set, throw out all the ‘garbage’ plastic foods that it comes with and replace then with plastic fruits and veggies.

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Read more: Children, Diet & Nutrition, Eating for Health, Family, Health,

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Alice Shabecoff

Alice Shabecoff is a freelance journalist focusing on family and consumer topics, and co-author of the recently published book Poisoned for Profit (Chelsea Green). Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Washington Post, Christian Science Monitor, and International Herald Tribune, among other publications. She was executive director of the National Consumers League, the country’s oldest consumer organization, and executive director of the national nonprofit Community Information Exchange.

99 comments

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8:45PM PDT on Mar 14, 2014

Thanks for sharing.

6:34PM PDT on May 6, 2011

Whole foods (the original ones) are healing!
You are what you eat...so true!

6:06AM PDT on Mar 21, 2011

most parents are too useless and selfish, so fighting with kids to eat properly or even learning how to cook tasty healthy dishes is out. make some pizza pops and hot dogs and dinner is ready.

9:56PM PDT on Mar 20, 2011

Point is, introduce variety young. When they're old enough to actually eat regular foods, not mashed up, it's easy, because a banana only needs to be peeled. Blanched & chilled carrots are great for teething tots.

People always used to muse, because my son, whose now 11, used to gobble up home made egg rolls, miso soup, and a variety of other veggies, including Brussels sprouts and broccoli.

What helps? Let them help in the kitchen so they know what happens to the food. My son's been baking peanut butter cookies, pumpkin pies and more since 20 months old. He gets to help pick foods to make into suppers.

I've always avoided packaged foods and cook naturally. Sure we eat a bit much, but who can resist the fruit salad?

9:51PM PDT on Mar 20, 2011

Point is, introduce variety young. When they're old enough to actually eat regular foods, not mashed up, it's easy, because a banana only needs to be peeled. Blanched & chilled carrots are great for teething tots.

People always used to muse, because my son, whose now 11, used to gobble up home made egg rolls, miso soup, and a variety of other veggies, including Brussels sprouts and broccoli.

What helps? Let them help in the kitchen so they know what happens to the food. My son's been baking peanut butter cookies, pumpkin pies and more since 20 months old. He gets to help pick foods to make into suppers.

I've always avoided packaged foods and cook naturally. Sure we eat a bit much, but who can resist the fruit salad?

9:16AM PDT on Mar 20, 2011

thank you

8:26PM PDT on Mar 19, 2011

thanks

4:20PM PDT on Mar 18, 2011

Ive always cooked all sorts for my kids. One used to pick out the mushrooms the other capsicums. Thats was, and still is ok, but I have never not made certain dishes just because they didnt like a particular ingredient. To the readers who don't like carrots, try grating them and mixing with grated cheese...delicious!

2:01PM PDT on Mar 17, 2011

I really liked the article on how to get your children to eat healthy foods.
When my children were little they were actually allowed to have two vegetables they did not have to eat if they really hated them otherwise they were to eat what they were given, i.e they would make them physically sick. I had five children and all of my children as adults love fruit and vegetables and are teaching their children as well.
I do have an autistic grandchild and because of the texture thing he is very hard to get to eat a lot of things however it is doable as he chose to be strict vegetarian at a young age and will eat a lot of vegetables etc with talking, he is not keen on fruit. We are a vegetarian and vegan family who eat wholegrain and wholefood organic veg and fruit and do not generally have rubbish snack foods.

5:25AM PDT on Mar 17, 2011

I'm blessed in that my daughter eats ALL fruits and veggies, including spinach and brussell sprouts. Thank youf or some very interesting tips x

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