Are children eating healthy these days? It depends! Some are, some might not be. The question could also be: are we feeding kids the right way?
- Some have cereal for breakfast, chocolate milk and a pasta or a cheese sandwich in school, mac n cheese or chicken nuggets when they get home. That right there is not the most nutritious diet.
- Others might have oatmeal and fruits and berries, vegan coconut yogurt or maybe chia seed pudding in the morning, rice and beans or veggie patties for lunch, a salad and a vegetable soup at night. That is healthier.
- Other children might eat even healthier than that!
So it all depends on what food choices the family is making - what is it that they often say... 'it starts at the grocery store' :)
Even though we might be talking about healthy eating for quite young children here, I will still tell you a little bit about my son who is in 9th grade because it relates to what I said earlier. He eats something like the second option I described above, just more fruits. And that is great of course and he is rarely sick.
But one thing that worries me a little is that he often doesn't eat anything in school. The teachers have spoken to me about it, but no matter what I say he doesn't change his mind.
In his opinion the food at school isn't good quality (and of course he might have a point there), so he doesn't go to the cafeteria at noon like the others. Instead he eats dinner when he gets home around 4pm and then a second time around 7 or 8 pm, instead of only once. After that he still has his evening snack around 9.30pm, tea and fruit or tea and oatmeal.
He has never been someone who gets tired early. Rarely goes to sleep before 11. But then again, he is already quite 'old' - I wouldn't advice any young kids following his example ;)
When trying to make sure your children are eating healthy and weaning them off of having junk, what I would suggest is to try and live with the wining and complaining for a while. When they get used to new foods and food products that you buy, the wining will slowly die out.
Read more about why feeding your children junk isn't the best idea here.
Often if both parents are not in agreement with what's good food and what isn't, it can become a big stress factor in the family.
For example, mom maybe lets the kids eat candy but dad might be a nutritionist or maybe even a dentist (!) and might have strong views about candy consumption - or the other way around.
Or, imagine mom is vegetarian and dad follows the paleo diet or Atkins (lots of meat and no carbs)... I actually know one mom who is a raw vegan and her husband always wonders why she doesn't want to give this or that to their kids. It causes a lot of friction in their every day lives.
Same thing if extended family members want to have their say all the time. It can be terribly hard. I hear stories like that all the time.
My advice if that's you? Just hang in there and stand your ground. Learn more and more about nutrition for kids so you will have an easier time defending your views if necessary.
Another quite effective strategy is to just smile, but know deep inside what you know is your truth.
People are scared of all kinds of changes and anything that differs from the 'norm'. But you know what you want and that is the most important.
Keep your children's future health in mind and just keep feeding them your own way. And if you need any advice or any specific nutrition facts or want to know the nutrition requirements for toddlers or older kids, I'm here.