Question: Dear Luise: I have three kids and am very interested in healthy nutrition for children but two of them eat junk. My youngest dislikes candy and loves vegetables. When it comes to my children, eating healthy is difficult because they all want different things. I have a list of healthy snack recipes that I often use, and again, my youngest one loves them. But how do I get my two older kids, (9 and 12), to think about what junk food does to their bodies? I am tired of preaching to them. Thanks for your thoughts, Pauline
Answer: Dear Pauline: This is a huge problem for most conscientious parents today because our society doesn’t back you up. A nine year old and a twelve year old are away from home as much or more than they are with you.
I wouldn’t stop preaching but I would let up to some extent. If you don’t have junk in your home, then that’s part of the day it isn’t available to your two oldest children. And, yes, compliment your youngest as often as you can to reinforce the natural preferences being made.
Some of the snack food choices children make are based on peer pressure and some of it is hereditary and/or metabolic. Who knows? Just keep pointing everyone in the right direction without drawing a line and making it an open battle. If you do, you will lose. Live by example and pray a lot!
To get some help with all of this, because I know it is pretty daunting, go to www.keepkidshealthy.com and www.kidshealth.org/parent/ You are way ahead of the pack to be concerned and pro-active about what your children eat. Good for you.
Talk at PTA about what kind of lunches are served at school and what kind of vending machines are available to the kids on the school property. Be pro-active about healthy nutrition for children, band with other parents and don’t give up! Blessings, Luise