If given the choice, I think it’s safe to say that we would all choose beauty and vibrant health.
We would all wish to be smart and coherent.
We want people to like us and we want to have an abundance of energy.
Now as a parent, ask yourself what kind of kid do you want?
The food you give them makes a difference.
Food is among the few foreign substances that you take into your body that then in turn becomes your body. Other examples are water and the products you use in your house and on your body and hair. You literally build your body moment to moment, with each choice of food, and home, skin and hair care informing your body’s health and appearance. How healthy will my hair, skin and nails be? How well will my digestion function? What will my energy level be? Will I be grumpy or agreeable? This all stems from what you “put in.”
Now imagine creating a new life…
In her book “Real Food For Mother and Baby: The Fertility Diet, Eating for Two, and Baby’s First Foods,” author Nina Planck explains that at the time of conception, 50% of the health of the baby is pretty much sealed. The baby takes the health of the parents, half from the father and half from the mother. During pregnancy, the mother fully takes over building that baby’s body. Following birth, the cycle continues through breastfeeding and with first foods. It’s up to the mother to decide what type of baby body she wants to build. On into early childhood, the parents continue making the food and environmental choices that directly affect their child’s development.
Before becoming a health counselor, I spent three years as a babysitter During that time I observed a striking difference between children who ate healthfully and those who did not. The children whose parents fed them real /whole food were better behaved and had less illness. They were perky and healthy looking, with bright eyes, lustrous hair, and pink baby skin. But the children who ate standard kid food – macaroni and cheese, chicken nuggets and hot dogs for dinner and candy, candy, candy for dessert — were frequently sick and often poorly behaved. Their hair was stringy even after brushing and washing and their skin looked sallow.
What kind of kid do you want?
It’s up to you. Abruptly changing children’s diets can cause a host of problems, including tantrums and irritability. I have seen it first hand as a health coach going into household pantries, with parents desperate to change the health of their families and the children screaming in protest. It’s not pretty. I never suggest anything too radical, and recommend starting slow.
Here are a few tips that I give clients who want the best for their families but don’t want to do anything too drastic.
1. Swap Out
Simply buy healthier versions of what you normally buy. Opt for organic brands. At least with the organic versions you know they have no chemicals, hormones or antibiotics. You also want to look for products labels “non-GMO” when buying corn products or some soy—this means it is not genetically modified. When you purchase organic/ local vegetables and fruits you know that the seeds they used were fertile, meaning that they will yield many rounds of crops, year after year. These seeds are healthy and vital and not modified in any way. Conventional fruits and vegetables come from “terminator seeds,” which are modified to only yield one crop and then no more.
2. Add in more vegetables
Look for opportunities to introduce vegetables into kids’ diets. I have found that children really love butter, so sautéing carrots with grass-fed butter and sea salt should appeal to most kid palates. Kids also enjoy soups and stews; these are great meals to sneak in more vegetables through purees or simply hiding among all the other ingredients. You can make it a discovery game: “find the broccoli for mommy” or “where do you see the tomato?”
3. Keep it coming
Studies have shown that it can take up to 10 introductions of a new food for a child to try it. If it keeps showing up on the plate, eventually they will become curious and want to give it a go.
4. Be patient and soft
If you take time with them, then eating will be a lovely experience. If they push things away, encourage them. Children always want to be more like mommy and daddy, so show them how delicious foods are by making “yummy noises.”
5. Lead by example
The healthier you eat, the more inclined they will be to eat healthfully.
I know that if you follow these tips you will see changes. It is all about consistency. Remember the end goal is to have a healthy, happy, bright child. And yes, we all want healthy looking kids and that’s okay!