Hi, my name is Kim and I am happy to be part of the Less Than Perfect Parents Team. I will be here once a month providing you with information on raising happy healthy children from the perspective of a holistic nutritionist. In this space I will chat about feeding your baby, your toddler, your school age children and your family.
Today we are faced with the very scary fact that today’s generation of children will not outlive us, their parents, due in most part to lifestyle – diet and physical activity. Wow! If there ever was a time to make change for our children, it is now!
So, just what can you do? Start small, involve the entire family and stop beating yourself up about past decisions. As parents we do way too much of that. You can only make decisions based on the information you have at the moment. If new information comes your way, then you can make different choices, if you feel that is right for your family. I am here to provide information, make you think, challenge the way you look at food and how it is marketed and then it is up to you to decide what to do with the information.
Where do you start? What changes do your make first? How do you deal with children who enjoy the foods you know they should not be eating regularly? Here are a few tips I often use when consulting with families. It won’t be easy, nothing good for us and our health usually is, but the benefits are amazing. You will feel it, you will see it in your children and best of all you will be setting a solid foundation for health and well being for your children now and in the future.
- Take a look at your child’s current menu and pick out the healthiest foods they eat, incorporate these foods as much as possible into their meals and snacks.
- Begin to offer new foods with their favourite healthy foods.
- When you offer new foods, offer small portions…just a “taste” to begin, and expect your child to make faces, silly sounds, etc. as they make a drama out of tasting it. The drama is okay as long as they are willing to try it.
- If they don’t want to try it, don’t force them. If they don’t like it, don’t worry. Just smile and say thanks for trying. And then…try again next week.
- Slowly reduce the “junk” foods you are bringing into the house, replacing them with healthy foods. If the “junk” foods are not in the house, they can’t eat it.
- Make the healthy alternatives easy to get so your child has options when hunger strikes. Have fruit visible and accessible on the counter, chop up vegetables and store at eye level in the fridge, create quick and easy snacks they can grab on the go – homemade muffins, hummus and crackers, etc.
- Get your children involved. I know your trip to the grocery store is much quicker without them, but involving them is important. Let them help decide what is on the menu for dinner, let them help with meal preparation, and so on. Involving them in the process means they are more likely to enjoy eating it. And the pride on their faces as they sit down to a meal they help prepare is priceless.
These are just a few first steps to take when you are working to change family eating habits. Keep in mind changing habits is never easy. You have to keep trying. Know this when you start, set small steps for your family and change only a few things at a time. It is a process, a journey; it does not have to happen overnight.
And remember your children are always watching…so make sure to set a good example.
Please join me each month as I help you navigate the world of nutrition and healthy eating. I look forward to sharing with you, answering your questions and helping you raise happy, healthy children.
Kim Corrigan-Oliver is a certified nutritional practitioner specializing in nutrition for mom, baby and toddler. You can find out more about her and her services here. And you can connect with her on Twitter and Facebook.