To My Children: It’s Not Your Fault

An unhappy woman sits in a child's bedroom with her head in her hands. She is holding a soft toy that belonged to her child. The bed in front of her is empty.

An unhappy woman sits in a child's bedroom with her head in her hands. She is holding a soft toy that belonged to her child. The bed in front of her is empty.

 

I’m sorry I am not a perfect mother. But I know I am the perfect mother for you! I may not keep a perfect schedule. Or a perfect house. Sometimes I have no idea what to make for you to eat, and I feel paralyzed. I don’t always have all the answers to your questions. Sometimes I say the wrong things. Sometimes I cry. 

 

It’s not your fault.

 

I’m sorry it made you feel sad, when you saw me crying. Or saw me hurting. I want you to know what it’s like to really feel, and not pretend to you that this world is always a happy place. I want you to know that emotions are not something you must fear and avoid, but rather experience, and grow from. Allowing yourself to feel, makes you a stronger person. But sometimes it can be too much for your little mind, and you don’t know quite how to handle it.

 

It’s not your fault.

 

I’m sorry for the times I get angry, and raise my voice. Sometimes parents get frustrated because there are a whole bunch of big people things we have to do, and sometimes it feels like too much. And sometimes getting loud feels like a good release.

 

It’s not your fault.

 

I remember when I was your age. And when I felt the tension and anger from my parents. I remember thinking that I must be a bad person. That they must be angry because of me. And I started to believe that I must be bad. And that stayed with me for a very long time.

 

It wasn’t my fault. And I’m not bad.

 

Sometimes parents hurt. Sometimes we feel angry. We want to stay strong all the time, because we want to protect you. But when we try to stay strong all the time, well sometimes the feelings inside build up, and just come right out!

 

It isn’t your fault. And you are not bad.

 

I’m sorry that I’m not a perfect mother,

but I know that I’m the perfect mother for you

5 Foods To Avoid Introducing to Children

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There are many foods out there that are marketed to parents and children. Companies produce fancy packaging, loud commercials with happy kids, and buzz words for parents like:

“part of this nutritious breakfast”

“part of a balanced meal”

“18 vitamins and minerals included”

“healthy whole grains”

We are HUGE consumers here in the U.S. and we fall for much of this marketing. Foods are even packaged to appear healthier, by using colors that consumers view as a healthy color…like earthy greens and browns.

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It’s all marketing.

Here is a piece I wrote all about the marketing of food in our culture.

Many of these processed convenience foods have added vitamins and minerals. However, these vitamins are synthetic forms and therefore are not assimilated and utilized well in the body. Real vitamins and minerals come in real food (meats, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and healthy fats) and do not need to be synthesized or added to food.

Synthetic Vitamins:

  • Vitamin A: Acetate and Palmitate
  • Vitamin B1 (Thiamine): Thiamine Mononitrate, Thiamine Hydrochloride
  • Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin): Riboflavin
  • Pantothenic Acid: Calcium D-Pantothenate
  • Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine): Pyridoxine Hydrochloride
  • Vitamin B12: Cobalamin
  • PABA (Para-aminobenzoic Acid): Aminobenzoic Acid
  • Folic Acid: Pteroylglutamic Acid
  • Choline: Choline Chloride, Choline Bitartrate
  • Biotin: d-Biotin
  • Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid): Ascorbic Acid
  • Vitamin D: Irradiated Ergosteral, Calciferol
  • Vitamin E: dl-alpha tocopherol, dl-alpha tocopherol acetate or succinate

List taken from: The Global Healing Center

 

Most processed foods in general will keep your child’s blood sugar spiking and plummeting. Your child craves more sweets and sugary foods, and never feels satiated. In the primal community this is known as being “sugar adapted”. Yes, children do need carbohydrates for energy. I’m not suggesting a low-carbohydrate diet for children. There is a huge misconception that people who follow the primal lifestyle eat low-carb. That just isn’t the case. Most children consume massive amounts of processed carbohydrates on a daily basis, and this is considered the cultural norm. Therefore anything less than that is automatically viewed as low carb. It starts with parents being told by medical authorities that they should start their baby on nutrient void rice cereal to fill them up. Next it leads to drinkable sugar laden yogurts marketed to babies, then cute little plastic toddler cups filled with finger sized crackers and cookies, then it leads to big bowls of sugary cereals. Removing these processed foods from a child’s diet and offering real food to children does not make you a bad, rigid, or depriving parent. You may feel like a fish out of water at times, but you are making the right decision for the health of your children, both now and in the future. Children can get adequate nutrients from a real food diet of meats, vegetables, fruits, and small amounts of refined sugar-free treats made with natural sweeteners. Yes it might not be as convenient as we are use to in a rush rush culture, however, the future health of our children depends upon us making changes in the right direction.

 Pictured:  Burgers On A Stick with dipping sauce!

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What are MY top 5 suggestions of foods to avoid giving to children?


1. Cereal

Any and all cereal. Rice cereal for babies, cold cereals, quick oats, etc… Here is a blog post I wrote about cereal. In a nutshell: Cereal is made with grains (usually with added sugar and food dyes), and grains are broken down into the body as sugar. Yes, you do need carbohydrates in your diet, but there are more nutrient rich sources that will not leave your child’s blood sugar to spike and plummet. Eating a bowl of cereal makes the child’s pancreas work extra hard in order to process it all. It also fills them up with little nutrients or healthy fats. I also wrote a Primal Feeding Guide for Babies and Toddlers which explains why rice cereal is not a good first choice of foods for infants.

*low nutrients

*synthetic vitamins added

*anti-nutrients that can affect digestion

*high sugar

*low in quality fat and protein

 

 2. Kid marketed crackers and cookies like those little golden fish crackers, and little bear cracker cookies, etc.

Just like the cereal above, these small toddler marketed crackers and cookies might look exciting and fun, as well as easy and quick. Kids may love the taste of them. However… for all the same reasons mentioned above regarding cereal, these crackers are full of artificial ingredients, synthetic vitamins, food dyes, high amounts of sugar, and are very low in quality nutrient-dense fats and proteins that children need to feel satiated, happy, and stable. Again, this gets children sugar adapted and reaching for processed carbs vs real food. Did I say avoid all carbohydrates for children? Absolutely not. Here is a post I wrote all about healthy snack ideas for children.

*low nutrients

*synthetic vitamins added

*low in quality fat and protein

*high sugar

 

3. Most commercial yogurts:

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Commercial yogurts contain as much sugar as a bowl of ice cream or other sugary desserts. One 8-ounce serving of low-fat or fat free sweetened yogurt can contain as much as 47 grams of sugars. This amount of sugar is equivalent to almost 12 teaspoons of sugar. People think because it’s yogurt, it must be healthy. Most yogurts should really be treated as a dessert rather than a nourishing snack or meal. It is difficult to find yogurt that does not have some or all of the fat removed from it. Fats are nutrient dense sources of energy for growing brains. However, yogurt manufacturers are still removing fat from yogurt, and adding sugar and food dye. If you are going to give your child yogurt, the best option is raw (unpasteurized), unsweetened, full fat yogurt. Plain yogurt does not contain any added sugar, but still contains naturally occurring milk sugars called lactose. An 8-ounce serving of plain yogurt still contains approximately 12 grams of sugar. This amount of sugar is equivalent to 3 teaspoons of sugar. Homemade plain yogurt that has fermented for 24 hours, does not contain sugar. The lactose is digested by beneficial bacteria, bringing the amount of sugar down to nothing. Raw yogurt has beneficial enzymes and probiotics to help with digestion, and can help colonize the gut with good bacteria. It can be sweetened with a little fruit or drizzle of raw honey.

*very high sugar

*food dye

*low in quality fat unless full fat

 

4. Kid Marketed “Energy” bars:

 

These “power” or “energy” bars marketed at kids contain a long list of ingredients that can be harmful on the gut, and contain a high amount of refined sugar. many contain as much sugar as candy bars, even organic ones. Please note… not everything that is labeled “organic” is necessarily good for your body. An organic pop tart is still a pop tart. It still contains high carb, low healthy fat, low protein. We want our kids to power up with nutrient rich healthy fats and proteins!

Here is an example of ingredients from a popular brand of energy bars targeted at kids:

INGREDIENTS: Organic Oat Blend (Organic Rolled Oats, Organic Oat Flour, Organic Oat Fiber), Organic Tapioca Syrup, Organic Cane Syrup, Organic Chocolate Chips (Organic Dried Cane Syrup, Organic Unsweetened Chocolate, Organic Cocoa Butter, Organic Soy Lecithin, Organic Vanilla Extract), Organic Fruit Paste Blend (Organic Date Paste, Organic Fig Paste, Organic Raisin Paste), Organic Cocoa, Organic Soy Butter (Organic Roasted Soybeans, Organic Soybean Oil, Salt), Organic Chocolate (Organic Dried Cane Syrup, Organic Unsweetened Chocolate, Organic Cocoa Butter, Organic Soy Lecithin, Organic Vanilla Extract), Natural Flavors, Organic Milled Flaxseed, Organic Sunflower Oil, Sea Salt, Baking Soda. VITAMINS & MINERALS: Calcium Carbonate, Dicalcium Phosphate, Ascorbic Acid (Vit. C), Ferric Orthophosphate (Iron), Zinc Oxide, Niacinamide (Vit. B3), Beta Carotene (Vit. A), Thiamine Mononitrate (Vit. B1), Riboflavin (Vit. B2), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vit. B6), Folic Acid (Vit. B9), Cyanocobalamin (Vit. B12). ALLERGEN STATEMENT: CONTAINS SOY AND TRACES OF DAIRY. MAY CONTAIN PEANUTS, WHEAT, AND TREE NUTS.

As you can see the bar contains mainly grains and sugar (both cane syrup and fruit sugar), soy, processed oils and synthetic vitamins and minerals.

If your child is participating in sports and needs extra boosts of carbohydrates, try making homemade energy bites or balls. You simply process nuts with dates, shredded coconut, and coconut oil. Here is my recipe for Blood Orange Coconut Balls.

 5. “Whole Grain” breads:

 

The breads today are not the breads of our ancestors. Our earliest ancestors did not eat bread. Approximately 10-12 thousand years ago (note that we’ve been around for over 200,000 years in our human form) grains were introduced into our diet. Many traditional cultures did not have bread as such a huge portion of every meal. They did not eat sandwiches daily. They also knew how to properly prepare breads (soak, sprout, and ferment) so that the body can digest and assimilate nutrients from it. The issue related to bread consumption is not only just the buzz word “gluten” that we hear. Yes, gluten is a huge offender to many people. Probably more than we can begin to realize. However, there are many other components to bread that can also have an affect on our health. Breads that are not properly prepared contain phytates and lectins, also known as anti-nutrients that can bind to minerals and render them unavailable to our bodies. These anti-nutrients also contribute to inflammation and leaky gut. Leaky gut can lead to allergies and autoimmune conditions. There are proteins found in bread other than gluten that may also have a profound affect on many people. Just like cereal, cookies, and crackers, eating bread as a staple keeps children sugar adapted, and not feeling satiated.

So what can I give my child in place of bread?

Some suggestions: Applegate Farms (GF, dairy free, soy free, and humanely raised) deli meat roll-ups, bun-less Applegate Farms grassfed hotdogs usually cut up with toothpicks and dipping sauces, bunless burgers or lettuce for the bun. Almond or sun butter used as a dip for apples or carrots rather than on bread. On the occasions my children do have bread, I make sure it is the Sprouted grain kind. However, sprouted or not it is still digested in the body and broken down to sugar. Therefore, eating several slices a day would still have a profound affect on the sugar handling of a child.

*anti-nutrients

*low in quality fats and proteins

*high in sugar

*pro-inflammatory

In a nutshell… carbohydrate rich processed foods tend to be high in sugar and low in nutrients. It might not be easy to cut these foods out and replace them with real nourishing foods, but try in steps.

What are some tips to getting your children to enjoy real food?

 

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*Involve them in the process of cooking. If your child helped prepare the meal, they are more likely to enjoy eating it.

*Children love to eat things on platters with toothpicks.

*Children love to forage for food! Take them apple picking and berry picking. We also love to collect fiddlehead ferns in the Spring.

*Explain to them the reasons behind your decisions.

*Lead by example. If those processed foods are not an option, they will start to enjoy real food more.

 

About Kathryn:

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Kathryn Kos is a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (NTP)  through The Nutritional Therapy Association, and a Certified Lactation Educator/Counselor through The University of San Diego. Her undergraduate degree is in Movement Science from Westfield State College. Her Master’s degree is in Rehabilitation Counseling from Springfield College. She specialize in healing digestion, balancing blood sugar, balancing hormones, and autoimmune conditions. 

 

 

I am speaking at Paleo FX! Get your tickets here to see my talk!

 

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* Please note: This is a personal blog.  All data and information provided on this site is for informational/educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitution for professional medical advice.

 

 

 

 

 

The Clean Eating Teen Discusses “Back to School”

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First of all, I just want to give a HUGE thank you to Kathryn for giving me this wonderful opportunity to write for her blog. You rock!!

My name is Natalie Wester! I am a high school student from Texas, and run a health blog, Clean Eating Teen.

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Everyone who knows me, knows I am a HUGE health and fitness nut. I am known around family, friends, and school as the “hippie” chick. And they’re right! I have BIG plans to obtain a certification in holistic nutrition, as well as to become a certified yoga teacher and personal trainer. I’m so passionate about this field, that I’m usually seen carrying nutrition books around school campus.

I help my family and peers in any way I can, trying to help people obtain a healthy and active lifestyle. I make meal plans (with any donations I earn going towards yoga teaching tuition) and workout with those interested, and love to share anything I know about health and nutrition to those wanting to learn more.

It get’s chaotic sometimes, managing school work with a healthy diet and fitness regimen. But I don’t let my busy schedule become an excuse to neglect my body. That (along with grades, no doubt) is one thing I will NEVER let myself slack up on.

Before I started taking care of myself and nourishing myself properly, I was sluggish. I was not in shape, I did not eat well, and overall my performance was no where near as it is today. Don’t get me wrong, I always did my best and never fell behind… but since converting into a healthier, “clean diet” form of living, boy… are the differences HUGE! I feel better, have more energy… not to mention my skin cleared up, eyes whitened, and hair got shinier. I even lost some (healthy) weight!

Sometimes it gets difficult, but with proper preparation, it is more than possible to stay on track after it is time for the lazy summer time days to go away! This post is about how I keep up with my lifestyle during the school year… and how you, weather you are still in school or working, can too!

Exercise:   

 

My high school starts at 7:30 AM. I used to do my workouts after school, and that worked for a while. But eventually, I piled on after school activities, and before I knew it, I was lacking energy to work out after I got home from a long day.

My solution? Workout before school.

I am not saying that people can’t exercise towards the end of the day… actually, many prefer this! However, I have always been an early bird, and this was really the only time I found I had enough energy to get my body up and moving! Plus, it energizes me for the rest of my day.

I like having a pattern that I can rely on everyday, and I know for sure that my mornings will go un-interrupted for a workout. I could never say that about after school, because I never know when I need to stay for a project, tutorials, or another after school event.

            During school months, I wake up at 5AM. I workout for about an hour, until 6AM. Then I eat breakfast and am dressed and ready to leave by 7AM. I do this every day.

            In order to ensure efficiency, I prepare things the day before so I don’t have to waste time in the morning! I lay out my workout clothes. If I know I am doing yoga, I get my mat ready. If I am doing strength training or a DVD, I get out the equipment and have the DVD in the player. These simple tricks shave off precious minutes that you can use getting work done!

            This also includes knowing what you will be doing, routine wise, the day before. Are you going to be going on a run? Is it leg day, arm day? What DVD or routine are you doing? By knowing this, you take the guessing out of things and can mentally get yourself ready to tackle your workout.

            It is definitely a challenge to start this, but if you are passionate about staying active, you will make the adjustments needed. It only takes a few weeks before the habit sets in, trust me!

            Of course, because I wake so early, I usually go to bed by 9ish. I never have been able to stay up past 10PM easily anyway, so this wasn’t hard for me, especially after a LONG day of school, theatre, homework, ext…

            Now, I know that not everyone can get to bed this early. People have meetings, children, a spouse and family to tend to. I am just telling what works easiest for me, as an example to help you set your own goals with something of a path to fallow! J

           

            Here is a round up of tips for this category:

-Workout in the morning, or whenever time is easiest and most likely to be available and not interrupted.

 

-Go to bed earlier, regardless of when you workout, to ensure you have enough energy the next day.

 

-Lay out workout clothes and get needed workout equipment ready the night before.

 

-Have in mind what routine or workout you will be doing the day before you do it.

 

-Stick to your routine. Try to work out the same time each day to form habit, and stay committed! It get’s easier the more you do it. J

 

 

Food:

Everyone knows that school cafeteria food is… well, not food. It is actually a joke between my friends and I that everything the cafeteria serves is actually different shapes of ground horse hooves…

            Unless you are blessed to attend one of the few schools in the nation (or otherwise) which serves organic, homemade lunches… I HIGHLY recommend you make and bring your own. Actually, I don’t recommend it… I require it. I can’t tell you how many times my friends (who don’t even strive for a healthy diet to begin with) complain about the school’s slimy pizza or mock fish sticks.  If THEY have a hard time consuming it, I really don’t think it is wise for a health conscious student to put it anywhere near their lips!

            I also am astounded by how many people either A) Go without eating lunch (and not for monetary reasons) or B) Buy five cookies and a chocolate milk and call it a meal. This is also a big no no, and is another reason why bringing your own lunch is such a good idea. When you prepare your own food, you not only know what is in it, but you are guaranteed a meal that you like and that is nourishing. 

            This also goes for breakfast… some people do eat theirs at school, but most catch a bite to eat at the house before jumping on the bus or driving. Breakfast might even be trickier than lunch, because it is all too easy to forget about it until you pop out of bed late, and only remember it by the sound of your stomach growling while you frantically brush your teeth! Plus, most conventional breakfast items are no more than empty calorie sugar bombs: donuts, waffles, pop tarts and most cereals will not energize you for the long day ahead!

 

            I understand that making your own lunch may be time consuming, but this is where weekly food preparation comes in handy. If you don’t want to be making your lunch each night before, prepare a few containers of a basic, non spoiling lunch on a Sunday evening.

            Try making large batches of staples-it is a good idea to grill/bake/pan sear some ground turkey, chicken breast, pork chops, ext so that you can also have that on hand.

            I know many people, and many bloggers who post weekly about how they and their readers “food prep” for the week. A preparation can be as easy or as complicated as you would like. Heck, even if you just chop up some vegetables to have at hand for the week… that is better than nothing! Here are two examples of what you could do on a free weeknight to get ready for the rest of the week:

Ex 1. Say you are having grilled chicken for dinner, with a side of steamed broccoli. Instead of one chicken breast, go ahead and grill as many as you can… 6 or 7. While you are chopping the broccoli to steam, chop extra to toss into a salad for one of your lunches. Portion everything in separate containers, and then toss your broccoli with some greens and a chicken breast for a salad lunch. Easy peasy!

Ex 2. You are having breakfast on Sunday morning, hard boiled eggs with homemade (healthy-grain-free) pancakes. Boil as many eggs as you can (a whole dozen would be nice, for lunches and breakfasts!), as well as double, or triple your pancake batter. Peel all the eggs, and store them properly for easy morning protein, or chop them up in a lunch salad later. Use all the pancake mix, and (just like you would buy at the store), put them in portioned baggies and freeze them. You can heat them up in the toaster in the mornings easy enough, and if you are running out the door, eat them sandwich style with some almond butter between!

            Of course, these are just examples in which you make some extra of the food you already were preparing. You can also just make your week food separately! Don’t limit yourself to basic things either, even though they ARE easiest. Try making protein bars, meat patties, soups, stews, chiles… anything you can think of and have the availability to do!

            While prepping food is a great idea, it is also handy to buy a few items that don’t require much hassle to simple throw in a brown bag. I find that many companies carry “to-go” sizes of their products… I have also seen small individual bags of baby carrots, and of course pre-chopped fruit cups.

            Some ideas of ready-made, healthy choices would be:

-Unsweetened fruit cups

-Unsweetened apple sauce

-Pre sliced vegetables or fresh fruit

-Sliced, high quality deli meat or cheese (not pre packaged, sliced right in front of you by the butcher!)

-Organic cheese sticks or rounds

-No sugar added dry fruit

-Fresh fruit with a natural “to-go” method, like apples, bananas, and oranges

-Healthy chips (baked chips, sweet potato chips, kale chips)

 

Here is a quick round up for this category:

 

-Do NOT fall victim to the school cafeteria food line! Your taste buds AND your body deserve better than whatever they are serving. The extra time you put into making your breakfasts or lunches is well worth it.

 

-Prepare your food before hand! Be simple and simply chop vegetables up or make extra of staples you already need, or make actual things (protein bars, meat patties, soups) for future meals.

 

-Pick up some to-go sized items of your favorite healthy products,  as well as other things you do not have to prepare before hand and can just throw into your lunch bag.

 

Just for reference, here are a few ideas for meals at breakfast and lunch.

Breakfast:

         Pre made hard boiled eggs with an apple and nut butter

         Pre made grain free pancakes or waffles with nut butter or honey and fresh fruit

 EASY, Paleo, Sugar Free Gluten Free and Flourless pancakes (two main ingredients… a banana and two eggs! Recipe is on my blog)

         Banana with nut butter or sunbutter

One of my lunches since starting school this year! Lettuce wraps with leftover turkey meat, and some baby carrots with homemade hummus!

Lunches:

-Salad with pre-chopped veggies, balsamic vinegar and pre grilled chicken breast or hard boiled egg

-Lettuce wraps with large romaine leafs, left over meat, or veggies 

-Pre made soups or chile

-Half an avocado with a can of tuna or salmon and fresh tomato and cilantro on top

-Left-overs from last night’s dinner… the best! 😉

I KNOW it is easy to make excuses when school and work gets tough. Who has the time-or the energy, for that matter- to eat right and work out?

            The answer is simple… if you REALLY want something, you will do anything to make sure it happens. So in other words… do you want a wholesome, fit and active life? If your answer is yes… then you DO have the time!

How do you stay healthy during school?

What are some of your favorite go-to workouts or meals?

Natalie

Facebook: www.facebook.com/holisticmealplanning

Twitter: www.twitter.com/cleaneatingteen

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Thoughts On Feeding Our Children With Love

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As parents we want to nurture our children-keep them healthy and strong. We want to shape their taste buds so they crave the foods that nurture their bodies. However, from day one we are undermined and that can shake our confidence and make us second guess our choices.

When I wouldn’t give my 1 year old ice cream at a party I was told “you don’t want him to feel deprived” and when I wouldn’t buy him a sugar covered blueberry muffin I had a friend tell me that he will go off to college and binge on junk food if I don’t let him have it now. Seriously?! It can be very overwhelming. On top of that we are busy, rushed, and believe that we don’t have the time to commit to our children’s nutrition. Our understanding of what real food is has shifted and what we think of as food really isn’t. “Snacks” as we know them come in a package with colors and health claims such as “heart healthy” “made with whole grain” or “100 calories”. Our Children get use to having snacks that come in a package or a box. We buy into this marketing-It says it is healthy so therefore it must be. We associate “treats” and packaged snacks with love and happiness. So if you don’t give it to your kids you may feel guilty-like you are somehow depriving them. That is NOT the truth! We are very much addicted to processed foods and refined grains. Food does not equal happiness or love (wish I could underline that 3 times). The saddest thing to me is the lack of confidence that we have in ourselves to make healthy choices for our children. We constantly look to medical professionals and books to answer all of our questions. However, the Doctor and the Author do not know your child like you do. We have lost trust in our instincts and ourselves. We don’t believe that we can do it, and that to me is very disheartening.

Our children are bombarded with mixed messages about food on a daily basis. The messages are everywhere-and come from TV, magazines, family, friends, stores, packaging. They even discuss “nutrition” with students at school, even though I don’t agree at all with what they try to teach them. We don’t want our children to have a bad relationship with food. Yet images and voices are everywhere and it can be overwhelming. As moms we judge each other constantly-“so and so won’t give her son food options and only offers what she cooks!” “So and so gives her son way too many options and now he is so picky”

So how do we feed our children with love and confidence so that they may grow to have a healthy relationship with/understanding of food? This is the bottom line-it is what we all want to do.

Here are some tips that I think may be helpful:

* Don’t listen to the peanut gallery. Remember the saying “water off a duck’s back”…let it roll off. Ignore nay sayers. Change the subject. Do not try to convince people why you choose what you choose (unless they ask and really want to learn from you). You will not change their mind. You are the best parent for your child. You were chosen to be their parent for a reason, and you know what is best for them. You know their personality-no book, other family member, or stranger knows your child like you do. If you didn’t ask someone for his or her opinion, kindly change the subject. You do not owe ANYONE an explanation for your choices. You know your child best of all. We all know the people who feel the need to judge you do so because they have insecurities within themselves.

* Feed your child with love and respect. Food is meant to nourish us, and it can be pleasurable as well. However, I think the best way to show love is to feed your children foods that you know are nourishing their body. Feed them real, whole foods. Not because a TV commercial, family member, or a package said so…we fall for marketing big-time. Marketing is all about sales and the health claims are false. Feed it to them because you know it is real food. It’s challenging, but take it one day at a time. I’m still learning as I go. They do learn to trust their body and how different foods make them feel inside. This past generation put a great deal of pressure on children to “finish everything on your plate” and fed into the “good eater/bad eater” mentality. You cannot force feed a child-that is just plain old wrong. Teach them to listen to their own body. Don’t guilt them with “what? You don’t like my cooking?” “Why aren’t you eating this?” etc. Don’t hover over and watch them eat. Don’t tell them how proud you are of them if they eat their food. A child is not good or bad for eating or not eating. This creates guilt, fear and uncertainty around food. Children learn to feel the sensation of fullness and stop eating when they are full. They actually learn to trust their own body. Make the experience of trying new things pleasurable and calm. You can ask what they thought of certain foods-but don’t get upset with them if they do not like it. It can take SEVERAL attempts for a child to actually decide they like something.

* There is no need to offer several different meals to a child-or make them exactly what they want for each meal. In my opinion, that does create a “peanut butter sandwich” everyday kind of eater. They do not yet fully understand what is healthy for their body. I’ve had several people ask me how do you get your children to eat these healthy foods? I choose to be firm, yet flexible. My boys are use to getting what is offered at each meal. If they are hungry, they will eat something from the healthy choices on their plate. There just aren’t other meal options. With that said, they get several different choices on their plate (and I try to include something I know they enjoy)-healthy meats, veggies and fruits to choose from. Now when they have an excess of processed foods (like say at a birthday party) they tend to get a bellyache and say, “why did you let me have that?” Kids adjust and learn to find healthy foods palatable. Trust that they will.

* Stick to your guns, yet pick your battles. This is the hardest part of raising children-outside influences. I have the hardest time with this over everything else. Birthday parties. Public schools. Family. I have this conversation frequently with my friends. Everyone has a different opinion on this. Some choose to avoid these types of outings all together. Some take their children but pack their own food. I personally do not agree with the amount of processed “food” that we as a culture feel is okay to give our children. You go to a “play place” (ie: bowling alley, bounce place, birthday party place) that says no food or drink allowed, yet all they serve is food cooked in rancid vegetable oils, processed junk, and soda. However, I know my children cannot live in a bubble. I have to believe that if the foundation for healthy eating is created at home, they will continue to eat that way in the future. We don’t have much of that stuff in my house, and they know that. We do, however, let them eat food provided at friend’s houses, birthday parties, and when we visit family. I do speak up if I feel uncomfortable. For example-I am opposed to my children having soda. That is me listening to my gut, and knowing something is not right. Don’t ever feel bullied into someone feeding your child something that you do not feel okay with.

* One of the things I was recently discussing with a friend are the mixed messages children today are receiving such as processed food advertisements everywhere; yet at the same time everyone focusing on the obesity epidemic, dieting, and healthy eating. That must be so overwhelming and difficult for children to process. It is for me as an adult. I try to teach my children about real food, and knowing exactly where their food came from. I want them to understand how animals are treated, how to grow food, what GMO’s are…who monsanto is. My hope is that they will be educated about food, but not overwhelmed and stressed about it. Instead of placing the focus on healthy eating, diets and nutrition, I shift the focus to a basic understanding of what is real food, and what is not. I will build upon that, as they get bigger. We plan to visit the farm where we get our meat from this Spring when the babies are born.

* Whatever you decide to do, be confident with your decisions-Your children know when you are not. They can read you just as well as you can read them. If you let them have something you really don’t feel good about, let it go. You let them have it, now move on. Don’t give it to them and then get stressed about it in front of them. They are counting on you to guide them confidently.

If you are accustomed to feeding your child processed foods then take baby steps and go easy on yourself. Slowly start transitioning to more and more homemade foods and shift away from the inner aisles of the grocery store.  Think outside the box (literally). Believe that you can feed your children real food, and you are not wrong, crazy, or overly strict for doing so! My next post will be all about real food snack ideas for kiddos 🙂

 

 

 

 

* Please note: This is a personal blog. I am not a Doctor or a Dietician. All data and information provided on this site is for informational/educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitution for professional medical advice.