Healthy habits begin in the home, especially for our children.
The following are ideas taken from Gaye Chicoine`s E-book, Creating Healthy Food Habits in Children. Almost everybody is either a parent, grand-parent, uncle, aunt or friend that has some kind of influence on children. They are our future and our most precious possessions, so it is our duty to set a good example and help them become fully functioning adolescents and adults that have a lot to contribute to society.
It all starts with a healthy body and a healthy mind. Health is wealth and a healthy, functional body makes everything else we do while walking on this earth worth living for. When we start our children off with healthy habits from day one, or even literally from before their conception, by the time they’ve figured out there could be a different way of eating and living, they’re already hooked on a lifestyle that supports and creates strength and power for living well on a daily basis.
Raising six children with the concept of preventive care and a wellness lifestyle (when they didn’t even know what they were in for) has given us the tried and true experience of figuring out how to get kids to eat and enjoy nutritious foods. The fact is, if we as parents, take a little extra time to purchase and put together foods that nourish and build strong bodies at least 80 percent of the time, it pays off in lower personal health bills, saves time from sitting in doctor’s offices or emergency rooms, as well as taking stress off the public health care system.
We admit it is much easier to start children out on the right path, and with patience, even kids who have less desirable food habits can be converted over time. The key word here is patience without fighting, coaxing, bribing, forcing or convincing. Some foods will have to be presented to a child several times before the child figures out that it actually tastes good. Patience, patience, patience and it’s okay for kids to genuinely not like something.
These are the basic guidelines that were abided by while raising little people into young adults. These are just a few of the guidelines; in the E-book you get a lot more detail on how to implement effective strategies to get your children to eat healthier foods.
Food rules we developed that introduced our kids to a well-rounded diet that they truly appreciate today as adults.
- Simply, as the food provider, don’t purchase food you don’t want your kids to be eating. Only healthy foods are allowed into the house, which is good for parents as well.
- Enlist cooperation from grandparents, family members and close friends; treats yes, but keep it within reason and no more than once per week.
- Every one gets every item on their plate at every meal.
- Every one must have one bite of each item on the plate.
- It is the child’s choice to eat the amount of each item on the plate without any comment from anyone of authority over the child.
- If a child is “too full” and chooses not to try one bite of every food on their plate, that is the food available to them to fill up on until the next meal.
- The next meal always erases the previous meal’s stipulations.
- Mom or dad don’t make special meals for anyone, everyone gets the same food on their plate no matter if you are big or little, unless there is a serious food allergy or other health concerns. Portions are proportionate to size of eater.
- Everyone gets a turn choosing what will be for dinner. A choice of protein food, two vegetables and a carbohydrate food for the meal.
- Birthday dinner is always the birthday person’s choice without any negotiation or stipulation even if it is junk food.
- Saturday night family movies always provides an opportunity to eat something different like potato chips, chocolate, popcorn, sometimes candy and a soda water blended with fruit juice (soft drinks are never purchased).
- Eat very little processed foods unless you’ve processed them yourself
- Parents are to never use food as a reward or punishment for behavior not connected to food.
- Meal time is family time of which also needs to be a good time.
We didn’t want our kids eating junk or processed foods, so we didn’t purchase them and didn’t have them in the house except for special occasions and usually supplied by someone else.
In case you`re wondering if this system can work, if it`s worth the trouble and if it pays off in the long run? Well I am here to tell you that it is a resounding yes to all 3 questions. We will elaborate in future articles and webinars on what the effects have been so we hope you will stay tuned and invite your friends to partake in our online wellness project we have entitled The Gamma Lifestyle.
Dr. Ed Chicoine, Chiropractor
The information provided is for education purposes only. It`s not meant to diagnose or treat any health condition. If you have health problems, please consult with your doctor or other health professional before you make any major changes in your lifestyle.