During at least some of their childhood, you’ve probably watched your son, daughter, nephew or niece notice, “the grass is definitely greener on the other side of the fence.” One of the biggest challenges to your family’s healthy lifestyle is your child’s perception that other people are privileged simply because they eat differently. We actually hear this all the time from our Chiropractic and Weight Loss patients as they struggle to get their family to eat better.
As a parent, your strategic awareness and preparation for how the Standard American Diet (SAD) affects your child is paramount. BTW … all of the doctors here at Integrity Chiropractic are parents. Adults are just as bad though, conforming to the SAD just because “It’s easy”, “I’m so busy”, or “everybody else does it”. Moreover, ascribing to some new fad diet which promises to work especially for you is not any better. If you want to be healthy, you must not conform to American dietary cultural practices.
At no time is a parents’ advantage greater than in earliest childhood for understanding the crucial role of food in setting the course for either chronic disease or a lifetime of good health. You must establish a healthy routine. Capture the natural head start of early learning and use it to your advantage. The example you set begins with the prenatal diet, as well as the quality of your child’s food sources and choices.
By the time a child is ready to start their schooling; he or she has already developed a strong interest in being like their friends and doing what their friends are doing. Before your child is pulled by the influence of those outside your family, manifest healthful choices at home. Don’t let them conform.
Use family time to create an atmosphere of a healthy lifestyle. Your child will get used to this and will associate home and family with health for the rest of his or her life. Changing to a whole-food diet can of course be accomplished later, but it will be harder. Tantrums, grumbling and other exaggerations of angst may make your quest difficult. The earlier you do it, the easier it will be so here are 4 easy steps to success.
1. Start early and maximize the effectiveness of your efforts.
What mama eats baby eats…. Increase whole food in your body first and nourish your baby from the overflow. Breast-fed babies have a huge lifetime of health advantages over formula-fed babies. You will never again have the opportunity to make such a strong health impact, and at less expense than formula feeding. If circumstances only allow you to breastfeed your baby for a short time, the multitude of advantages is enormous, and will manifest throughout your child’s life.
2. Create a Routine: An easy, healthy routine is your greatest strength.
Become accustomed to buying, preparing and eating whole organic foods. Make them the first impulse for meal preparation. Your goal is to build a solid dietary foundation for your child, improving their overall habits for a lifetime. Eventually it will become second nature for them to reach for whole rather than processed foods and to value those produced without synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, MSG, artificial colors, sweeteners and preservatives.
Kids learn from experience to appreciate the great energized feeling they get from a handful of carrot sticks, a meal with dark leafy greens, or a breakfast of free range eggs. Make raw vegetables and fresh fruits available instead of boxed or bagged chips, cookies etc… Not only are they better for child’s health, they don’t have extra packaging or get stale in 30 minutes.
If you are just now transitioning to a whole-food diet, let your children binge on as much whole healthy food as they want. The inherent advantage of eating whole fresh foods is their sheer bulk replaces the chemicals and denatured food derivatives that we might otherwise eat. Now they won’t be full of crap, just full.
3. The first solid foods a child eats should be whole foods. Cooked squash, carrots, broccoli and other vegetables, avocado, banana and watermelon are good choices.
Snacks and meals for toddlers and preschoolers should be entirely whole foods. Their beverage is water, and that’s it, until you find an organic/raw milk source. And even then, the main beverage is water. As a matter of fact your infant should not have any milk other than breast milk until the age of 1 year. Toddlers don’t need to know that empty foods like pasta, cookies, and ice cream exist. They might fill you up, but they do not nourish! You should additionally stay away from citrus, strawberry, and peanut butter for the first year as they may trigger allergic responses. Also never give a child under the age of 2 honey!
Parents shout, “How can I feed them healthy food? Hot dogs, and macaroni & cheese are the only things that they’ll eat?” Obviously these parents started off with the wrong items in the kitchen. They are going to have to endure some tantrums to establish a better way of eating. This will be made easier if you limit exposure.
4. LIMIT media indoctrination of processed foods and pharmaceutical lifestyle.
The messages you’re striving to keep your child away from are delivered continually, and are deliberately placed in children’s programming.
- “You deserve a break today”, or “I’m lovin’ it!”
- Eat out, or open a package to get your ready-made food.
- Pour yourself a glass of colored liquid … “OH YEAH!”
- Your life is just not happy until you take a pill, or two, or three.
- If Superman likes it, so will you!
- And my favorites … “enriched” or “wholesome”
If you always have to de-program what the media is telling your kids, you won’t be able to compete. Start your own program! Advertise healthy foods and exercise not only with your words, but with your actions as well.
Limit TV, YouTube and social media applications. Plan to view programs with your child and explain why sweet foods on TV are NOT good choices. Yes, this will force you to actually interact with your children more.
Aren’t they worth it?
Don’t you want to keep them away from pressure marketing?
Don’t you want them to be free thinkers?
The concept is to be aware of what they watch, monitor what exposure you allow them have and manage the messages that are being fed to them! Remember that their lifetime nutritional choices start with your choices, MAKE YOUR INPUT COUNT. Enrich Their Present as Well as Their Future!