We own and run a bakery and my kids are super picky. So, getting our kids to eat healthy foods is super tough. Luckily, Dr Orlean Kerek of Snotty Noses is sharing her secrets with me today! And you too!
I’m Dr Orlena Kerek. I’m a paediatric doctor and mother of 4 children, aged 6, 4 and twins of 2. Our mealtimes are, how can I put this?… a bit noisy. The twins’ table manners are quite frankly, a disaster. But I know that my children eat healthily. Of course, they ask for sweets and cookies but they also eat lots of vegetables and fruit. They even ask for fruit and I know that they’ll grow up to eat healthily and reap all those benefits of a healthy diet and life style.
Everyone has good intentions. We want our children to eat healthily, but our kids seem to have minds of their own. We offer tasty healthy fruit. They want cookies. We offer vegetables, they want chips. (They count as veggies right?)
It’s so difficult in this busy world to make time to cook, to cook healthily, and to keep our children on the ‘healthy eating track’. Should I even mention introducing new foods? I know! A tricky subject for all of us.
What would you say if I told you it wasn’t really that difficult?
That when you know how, it’s just as easy to feed them a healthy diet as a junk diet. It’s just making a few changes here and there. You just need to be shown the way! You’re welcome to come to my next free webinar where I’ll share heaps of useful advise.
For now, let me tell you a few secrets. Or should I say a few rules that will make your life easier. Surprisingly they’re rules for us parents. If you stick by these rules, your kids will be eating healthy food before you know it. And the best part is that they won’t even know they’re eating healthily. They’ll just be eating tasty food that they like, that just happens to be healthy.
My Healthy Eating for Children Rules.
Max out on the fruit and veg. Look at your day and see where you can introduce more fruit and veg. Chopped up apple for breakfast? Carrots sticks for lunch? Quick and easy vegetable soup as a first course for dinner? Half of what you eat should be fruit and vegetables (with vegetables a bit more that fruit).
Be patient, especially when introducing new foods. It takes time, 10 -15 times to get to like something new. Before that, it’s rejected as ‘unknown’. When you give your child something new, expect them not to like it. You won’t get upset when they don’t eat it. You’ll know it doesn’t matter and than you need to present it another 14 times before they decide whether they do or not.
Don’t pressure children to eat. No more ‘one last bite’! Out with the ‘clean plate club’! Pressuring children can lead to the opposite. They develop negative emotions towards that food and refuse to eat it. You end up in a spiraling battle that you aren’t going to win. See Dinner Table Battles.
Learn to trust your children. You need to teach them to eat when they’re hungry and stop when they’re full. It’s difficult to trust them. We are a nation of ‘feeders’. I suspect it’s some evolutionary trait left over from when there wasn’t enough food. We live in times of plenty and we have to learn when to stop eating.
Have regular feeding times (for example, breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner.) Present your children with their healthy food. If they don’t want to eat, don’t worry. They can eat at the next healthy eating opportunity.
Present everyone with the same food. If they don’t want it, they can leave it politely at the side of the plate. (They may need to practise that bit!) (P.S. obviously not if your children have allergies.)
These are some tips to get you started. I know, it’s easy to say and slightly more difficult to do. Why not come and join me for my next FREE webinar. I’ll be sharing tips on how you can change your life from ‘bad diet and stressed’ to ‘healthy and relaxed’. It’s really easy once you know how.