October 23, 2007

Healthier Eating for Kids

I decided to participate in Lori's Six Week Health Challenge. We are picking six things/areas in our lives to improve health wise and sort of coaching each other during the process. One of the things I wanted to work on was my daughters' eating habits.

In the beginning I was very strict about what they ate. They would eat anything and really preferred vegetables to french fries in the restaurants, to the amazement of others. Since I had Sarah I've really relaxed my standards, and more recently, I've relaxed them a lot more. Knowing what is healthy and right and doing it are two separate things. I know what I should be doing, but have lacked the time or motivation to do it.

My girls have gotten rather picky- especially the middle one. She's good at breakfast, ok at lunch, and terrible at dinner. She doesn't always have a snack in the afternoon either. My kids are definitely snackers though, and I just can't bring myself to deny them food. Currently, the healthy foods they like are : eggs, oatmeal (not Sarah), cheese, yogurt, carrots, apples, fruits, green beans, green peas, broccoli, peanut butter, potatoes, beans and cole slaw believe it or not. Oh and they love avocados but we don't always get them due to price, and of course all kids' favorite- corn.

The not so healthy but not awful things are: turkey products (ham, bacon, sausage we don't do pork much), deli meats, hot dogs, crackers and snack items like pretzels and Goldfish crackers, canned fruits and veggies, and for Sarah she eats some Gerber toddler meals and meat sticks about 2-3 times a week. The bad things include boxed macaroni and cheese, ramen noodles, process cheese and baloney, among others.

The older two aren't good water or milk drinkers. I allow them about 4-6oz of juice a day non-diluted. (I still dilute Sarah's 50/50 with water) Sarah drinks plenty of milk, but the other two will only drink it if there's nothing else or if I put chocolate in it, which happens 1-2 times a week.

Anyways, all that to say, I'm just not sure how to help their tastes change back to healthier foods. It is my fault because I do have a big workload, and it's much easier for me to take help from the store. Then I look around and think " Well other people let their kids eat much worse and they're ok." Which is true, but if I feel like I should do better, then I probably should.

Mostly I just want them to accept the food I put in front of them and eat it without complaining. At the very least just taste it. And for those of you that don't allow snacks, what do you do if they're hungry? With my youngest she is still growing a lot and I don't want her to go hungry.



Anonymous said...

When our son was born, a missionary friend told me, "You know, Aboriginal children living in the Outback think wichety grubs (those giant white squirmy things found in Australia) are FABULOUS eating. If they can love the taste of those, then our kids can find KALE to be fabulous, if we train them effectively."

She was so right!

There are only a couple of odd things my kids won't eat now, though every few months we'll give it another go.

We also do this one thing, and have ever since my oldest was three. When we go grocery shopping, we look about once a month for something we have never tried before. I make it a big adventure and get really excited to try the "new, cool thing". Then we prepare it, eat it, and talk about what it reminds us of that we DO like to eat. Sometimes, but very rarely, do we ever spit it out and gasp, "EEeeeeeewwww!"

If my kids ever go to someone's home, I can rest assured they will be willing to try just about any food, and will think of what it "reminds" them of that they like. Works like a charm!!


Rachel said...

I never denied mine snacks, but did try to make it healthy with fruits and nuts, etc. Honestly, it does sound like your kids eat pretty healthy. :) Mine will try anything. And like yours, they prefer the good stuff over the bad. We are trying to eat more organic and fresh stuff as opposed to canned. We also did taste tests and the kids loved that. Which do you prefer? canned or frozen green beans? We talked about color and texture and taste.. and calories and sodium and the time to cook the item - granted, mine are older, but it really helped them get involved and they loved it. We do "fast food" frozen pizza, hotdogs, corn dogs, etc.. on Wednesday. It's a rush day and it helps mom, plus the kids feel like they are eating the stuff they want; it's just limited to once a week.

Anonymous said...

My son loves coleslaw, also. I always thought that was strange. I think you are doing a great job with feed your children. Keep up the good work.