If you have been following my Feeding Your Children series then you have identified your own historical relationship to food, you have released, you have written affirmations and you have visioned for your children’s future. Now, let’s get right in there with our kids and Set The Stage for a successful relationship to food.
Visit a farm: Forty minutes outside of urban Los Angeles, there are acres and acres of farms that offer tours for children wherein they can ride on a tractor and then hand pick their own fruit and vegetables. Most commercial farms have programs like this set up. You can join a public tour or bring in your own group of families. This plants the seed of the literal process of growing food and the excitement of picking the food themselves often translates into effortless vegetable consumption.
Read books about bodies, nutrition, digestion and health: Reading a fictionalized account on the topic of nutrition helps children understand the reality of the relationship between food, nutrition and bodies; your children can identify with the characters and there will be a camaraderie for their actions. My children have enjoyed the Berenstain Bears’ series and there are many more.
Cook together: Choose menu options with a lot of room for variation and improvisation, such as smoothies and stir-frys. For a smoothie, as long as you have a liquid (water, milk, almond milk, coconut milk or juice,) and a banana, any additional fruits, nuts or boosts are fair game. Your children can enjoy dictating the ingredients and experimenting with which fruits dominate the flavor: strawberries, mangos, oranges, blueberries, etc. You can use frozen fruit all year round. With a stirfry, as long as you have oil, you can use what ever vegetables you want. You can add potatoes or rice, and even nuts or seeds for protein. This leaves a lot of room for your child’s whim. Also, experiment with different herbs and see how that changes the flavor: garlic powder, yellow curry powder, salt, pepper, dill, basil, yellow mustard powder, soy sauce, ginger; when your child discovers which seasoning they resonate with they will experience a sense of ownership around food and they will look forward to the meal. You may be shocked to discover certain seasonings are more than tolerated, they are desired! Your children will soon be concentrating on their favorite spice more than the fact that there is zuccini in the stirfry.
Involve your children in menu planning: You can create a chart with a weekly menu and ask your children to choose which vegetable, which fruit, which protein to include in each meal and which snack from day to day. They will look forward to eating it in a new way when they’ve been involved in the choice.
Enjoy the process!
About Jessica Williams
Jessica Williams created L.O.V.E. Parenting with a series of techniques for effective communication, deepened connection and more joy in parenting and life. Jessica is also the creator of www.UltimateParentingCourse.com with the best of today’s progressive parenting experts together in one program. Jessica is a featured expert internationally on both Mothering.com’s Ask An Expert and the upcoming www.KidsInTheHouse.com. Jessica is a regular contributor to Mothering Magazine’s All Things Mothering, LA Parent Magazine, LA Mom Magazine & DailyBuzzMoms. She has been interviewed on television and radio and taught workshops at family wellness centers, schools and doctor’s offices. Her BirthKit has helped women have a transformational & empowering birth. Jessica maintains a private coaching practice in her native Los Angeles where she lives with her husband and their three children. “Truly amazing woman. I love her advice.”—Carrie-Anne Moss. “All you have shared has helped tremendously.”—Lisa Bonet. “I am experiencing nothing short of a miracle thanks to your laser beam approach.” –Andrea Bendewald.