CHILDREN: Getting Children Involved with Their Food Choices.

July 24, 2017


I came across a video clip on pre-preparing healthy school lunches this morning and what came up for me was those questions I asked about my children’s nutrition and dietary issues and the debate about forcing them or leaving them to choose for themselves what they like to eat. Oh, and the guilt trips!! 

I loved the clip for various reasons. The first being my love affair with zip-lock bags! I’m giggling! “Haloooo! Nothing to do with healthy food choices!” - Nonetheless . . .

My freezer and fridge have these rows & layers of neatly packed, quick to defrost bags of food since the hateful chest-freezer packed up! THANK GOODNESS!! (No more backside in the air for me with my head buried in the bottom of the freezer digging for the “lost pack of chicken drumsticks”!!

It’s also a wonderful time-saving idea for busy parents and picky children - children should help with the preparation though.

  • They will appreciate what goes into preparing it & look forward to enjoying it too! There is nothing more frustrating than finding untouched lunches, especially when a lot of effort goes into planning healthy meals free of preservatives & sugar.
  • It’s an opportunity to bond and have fun – I’m all for having fun!
  • It’s an opportunity to be creative with food;
  • It’s an opportunity to discover your child’s likes/dislikes in making healthy food choices based on their body’s unique requirements and learning to listen, love & nurture their bodies.

I have so much ease now that I choose to “listen” to what my children’s needs are. What do I mean by that? To give an example:

My nephew had an allergy for green beans, avocado and broccoli. His tongue used to swell up and his lips would itch and yet, he LOVED green beans! Luckily, it only lasted for about 8 years and he now munches away on his green veggies quite happily.

Good food

Then there is this friend who told me that he used to insist that his son enjoy a “healthy” glass of orange juice at breakfast every morning. The child had “breathing difficulties” which he didn’t want to call asthma or an allergy but just an occasional “chestiness”. When the child left home for boarding school, he NEVER drank orange juice again and the chestiness was something of the past. It was only afterwards that the dad discovered that orange juice might be bad for asthma sufferers and why his son disliked the orange juice. - The child was "in tune" with his body and naturally refused to take it.

We think because they are small and have less life experience that they don’t perceive what goes on with their bodies – if given options to choose from a wider selection, children will choose what their bodies require. Children are more in tune with their bodies than we realise.

Listening to their needs is not just about what their body’s ask for but being able to identify when it is a craving created by food sensitivities. The less variety, the greater the possibility exists of developing a sensitivity to the food that is their “staple”. They actually start craving food they should avoid (at least avoid for a month or two unless a nutritionist advises a longer break) due to the presence of anti-bodies created against those foods.

Sometimes dietary issues might be the root cause of learning challenges and behavioural difficulties - it is so unfair that a child carry a "label" because of that. It is one of the first things therapists try to rule out when working with children.

The other question is what is truly healthy? Let’s take the convenience of pre-packed juices. Fruit juice contains far too much sugar than what nature intended, if compared with what is present in its “natural packaging”. According to research sugar is as addictive as any other drug, with just as many side-effects to health, diabetes being one. Various study cases, my personal experiences, along with those of friends whose food choices are mindful of the amount of sugar it contains, all testifiy that they are far healthier since cutting out excessive and hidden sugars.

It’s not easy raising children “preservative free” and maintaining nutritionally balanced diets with all the exposure to "instant" food and tempting marketing.

My message for today is “take note, be aware”:

  • Not everything that looks healthy is good for us;
  • Not every “good food” is good for every member of your household – not to mention that most “good food” is produced under “conditions-less-midful” these days. (a story for another time)
  • Create ease in your life by being more in allowance of everybody’s likes/dislikes and choices. – Ask “what can I buy/prepare today that would satisfy everybody’s needs & taste buds?” and see what pops up.
  • Balance and variety is important to satisfy the body’s needs.

Have fun with food

Awareness is key! - Have fun with food, try simplistic and easy recipes, try where possible fresh and “whole foods”, grow what you can as a fun project yourself, be adventurous and try a new food experience.

Oh! Before I forget, drink more water – it’ a miracle substance and sooo good for us! - A story for another day!

 

By: Stefnie Meyer

I never wanted to play with dolls – only real babies. - I play with food too!
I love children – maybe because I once was one myself . . .
Maybe because the “dust of heaven” still clings to them? The essence of life as we intended to live life vibrates in and from them. I conspire to remind everybody I meet to enjoy life the way they intended when they came. Do you know how to play? Really PLAY?
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