It’s time for our monthly twitter chat again tonight (Sept 19) called #eatkit and we’re exploring the challenges and solutions to raising healthy eating kids. We hope you can join us tonight – just follow these details. Or if you missed out we’ll be posting the #eatkit archive here.
So of course it got me thinking about how I weigh up the science on driving healthy habits in kids, with my own real life experiences being Mum to Master 7 and Miss Ten. Since I first started my career as a paediatric dietitian in London at Great Ormond Street I’ve been fascinated with how feeding kids is not as easy as it appears, especially if there are associated medical or developmental problems. Now before you click away, don’t for a minute think that it’s all brown rice and broccoli at our house. In fact, I think my kids have had far more than the average treat and fast foods as I try valiantly not to be the family food cop. But I do seem to be winning in some areas and have some advice that may help in your happy home:
Teach kids where our food comes from
Ask kids of today where milk comes from and you get some pretty interesting answers. A carton. A supermarket. A big tanker. And even those who correctly say ‘cow’ (or rice or soy or almond), can’t always explain how …they just know to say ‘cow’. So what’s the simplest answer to this modern day dilemma? SHOW them. A great place to ease your kids into regional foodie road trips is with a farm stay or visit to a berry farm. Come with my family on a virtual tour in our archive post visit to Penny Royal Raspberry Farm.
Get kids in the kitchen
My kids have grown up perched on my lap at the computer (while I wrote or blogged) and also sitting on the bench in the kitchen (while I cooked or baked). So it’s no surprise that Master 7 is a computer geek and Miss Ten is a keen cook. I’m particularly passionate about teaching cooking as a life skill for good health. If you’re looking for inspiration on tools and cookbooks check out Miss 8’s (at the time) archived posts on “Kitchen Ussentials for kids” and “Must have cookbooks for kids” like the Silver Spoon for Children below.
Have a set system for snacks and treats or sometimes foods
If you be a good girl at the grocery store, you can get a treat. You didn’t eat all your veggies, so you can’t have ice-cream. Oh my poor darling, let me get a band-aid for your grazed knee and a little candy to cheer you up. Sound familiar? If you have childhood memories of food treats being connected with rewards or punishment or comforts, then chances are you will copy these behaviors with your own children. But the problem with this is, it simply teaches children that treat foods are the most desirable and this can set up future patterns of emotional eating. Read my archive guest post on the subject and the system for a treat box and self moderation that has worked for us.
Persist with the peas and broccoli, please
Were you forced to eat your broccoli before getting dessert as a child? Are there veggies your dad didn’t eat and now as an adult you bypass them too? With international nutrition surveys showing that kids are not meeting daily vegetable targets, many even failing to eat one serve a day, it’s time to plant some fresh ideas. Read my archive post for GI News on Raising a vegetable lover.
To celebrate all the wonderful parents and carers that are lovely Scoop readers our latest cookbook giveaway is Party – the Ultimate Kids’ Birthday Party Book. It’s full of fab themes, step by step craft instructions and of course healthy and treat foods for party time. Drop us a comment below to go in the draw and the most creative answer or the strongest “pick me” will be chosen. Entries open to Australian residents and competition closes 5pm AEST Wednesday 26 September.