I am the happy mother of twin, seven year old daughters. I have been trying to feed them a healthy, nutritious diet. But sometimes this can be a challenge. I am currently working on an ebook trying to address the obstacles that may hinder well-intentioned parents from feeding their children a healthy diet. I would love your input on the challenges and frustrations you face each day with your children. Any comments or ideas you can provide would be so appreciated. Have a wonderful day.
I know, I know I should just make it myself. But I've had no luck making yogurt. I suck at it.
ETA: Ug, I just saw in another thread that Stoneyfield yogurt no longer comes non-homogenized. That is exactly the kind of thing I'm talking about. The less processed the better people! Cream-top is the best.
I will second what Chamomile Girl said, plus a variant: pressure from others to feed unhealthy food. I feel like everywhere you go, there is a grandparent wanting to load the kid up on sugar, or a bank teller giving the kid lollipops, Halloween buckets filled with candy... it's pervasive in our culture. Then there is the way unhealthy food is advertised, targeted specifically at kids with fun colors & characters... plus almost everywhere you go, the healthy options are outweighed 10:1. There's the ice cream truck, vending machines, pizza parties, cookies & punch offered as snack, and so forth. I feel like, to keep your kids on a healthy diet, you have to really rise above all these pressures, PLUS be prepared with alternatives that your kids will eat just as readily, even while their peers are right beside them, chowing down on candy.
It's easy (for me, at least) to feed my child a healthy diet when it's just us, and we're at home alone. It's a million times harder when we venture out into the real world.
My mom is the opposite. She's picky about some things, but goes out of her way to imply that said food is yummy. Milk is a perfect example. She hates milk, but helps me encourage the kids to drink it.
Thank you for your honest replies. I can relate to the availability (or rather unavailability) of some good, whole foods. I often wonder too why our grocery aisles are packed with so many foods that deteriorate our health and shorten our life spans, but the organic and natural food sections are almost nonexistent. Unfortunately, we live in a world that is driven by the mighty dollar. And it is very challenging for us parents that want to give our kids the best chance we can by feeding them nourishing, life-affirming foods. It can be especially hard to do this when we are constantly surrounded by friends and family pressuring us or our kids to eat just like them (fatty, processed, non-foods). So many issues to face. I guess we tackle them one at a time. Good luck on your journeys...
I'd like to second the comment about being "out in the world." I feel like I can't take my daughter to playgroup at the library because they load the kids up with sugary fruit juice and cheap cookies (loaded with HF corn syrup). And she's not the kind of kid who will munch on plain popcorn when there are cookies available, KWIM? Worse are the people handing her candy everywhere we go. She loves it, of course, but really? Is it necessary to hand every toddler a lollipop?
Also, people have been brainwashed into thinking that certain kinds of processed foods are "healthy." My MIL, for example, buys nonfat yogurt sweetened with aspartame and loaded with fake fiber, and she's always trying to give it to DD because it's "healthy food." Yuck!!!! I try to explain that there are all sorts of things in there that she shouldn't have, but to no avail. There are plenty of other examples of this: my DH thinks that Jif is healthy because it's peanut butter (I keep explaining that it's mostly hydrogenated oil) and Kraft singles, because they're cheese (no, there's not actually any cheese in there at all). And don't even get me started on all the "healthy vitamin juice drinks" and "natural fruit snacks" that are nothing but sugar-water and candy in fancy expensive packaging.
And restaurants, restaurants are the worst!!! Why is it that every food establishment in the Western hemisphere equates "kid food" with things that are a) fried, b) artificially flavored, c) loaded with meat, or d) loaded with sugar? I usually can't find an edible meal in any kids' menu for DD. I usually have to ask, "don't you have vegetables? or fruit?" then I get a bowl of sugary canned peaches or something. Ick. My daughter will happily eat pasta, vegetables, rice, curry, baked potatoes, cheese, beans, buttered bread, fruit, and soup -- why aren't any of those things on the children's menu?
For me, the entire way food and eating are handled at school has been a problem. Yes, the food is all processed - that is just a given. The bread is white bread, the fruit and veggies are canned, snacks are all refined carbs and pizza, chicken nuggest and nachos count as a meal far too often. But that I can live with, because I can (and do) pack a lunch for my son, and he's been allowed the school lunch enough times to know they don't taste as good as what I make for him.
What I can't get around is the fact that the kids are encouraged to scarf down their food as fast as possible. They have 15 minutes for morning snack, and 30 minutes for lunch - but they don't get the full 30 minutes to eat. That includes the time it takes to use the bathroom and walk to the lunch room, stand in line if they purchased a lunch, walk back to their assigned seat, unpack their lunch and eat. I've met my son for lunch before, and realistically he gets about 10 minutes to eat. The children are encouraged not to talk too much with their neighbors so they don't waste time. And if they take too long, they miss recess (especially this time of year, when they have to get snow gear on before going out). The social aspect of eating is completely lost, and the children are taught to shovel in the food as fast as they can. They have no opportunity to listen to their bodies, and I've seen my son lose the ability to know when he is full and know when to stop eating. These bad habits carry over to home, and are very difficult to correct.
Does this count? It doesn't address food directly, but it is a huge challenge for us!