How to Get Your Kids to Eat Healthy - and Stay Healthy!

by Amy Coates, RHN, BSc


There is only one way that really works when it comes to getting your kids to eat healthy foods. You must eat healthy yourself. You simply cannot get upsey if your child chooses white bread over multigrain if you raised them with white bread! Children learn by example. They want to be just like you, so your actions must match those you want to instill in your children.

When you go out to a restaurant and order, say, pancakes for your kids - PLEASE do yourself a favour and do not get your kids excited about the arrival of pancakes! I see this all the time when I am out. The food is on its way to the table and the parents get all excited "Look Ava, look what's coming!!" And then the parents clap their hands and go "Yaaaayyyyy!"

As far as I'm concerned, the attachment of this much excited emotion to pancakes is not a positive event. This is the perfect action to take if you want your child to turn to food to feel better about his/her situation later in life. Get your kid excited about learning to count to 10, or learning to say the alphabet - not about the arrival of pancakes to the table!

If you're going to keep snacks in the house, they're going to get eaten. If there is anything that you really don't want your kids to eat - then don't buy it! It will be a lot easier to skip the chip aisle in the grocery store than to endure your 5-year-old's "I want chips for breakfast" tantrum when he sees them in the cupboard!

We buy a select few treats to enjoy in the house - occasional chocolate and brown rice chips - and we don't run out to buy more as soon as they're gone. Anything that is processed or high in sugar must be eaten moderately and seen as a special event. Sugar impairs the immune system for hours after even a teaspoon is consumed. Giving your kids something full of sugar (commercial juice is no exception) is like turning off the antivirus program on your laptop for 6 hours at a time, every time you indulge. It opens the door to bacteria and virus' every time.

If your kids are frequently sick with a cold - look at their diet. Is it full of sugar, wheat, and/or dairy? If it is, you'll want to start weaning them off of these foods straight away. Do it slowly if you must, but do it now. Dairy is the number one allergen in children and its consumption manifests as ear, throat, and nasal infections as the body mounts its immune defense. Wheat is the second common allergen. Anyone who consumes these foods will have problems sooner or later.

For instance, my brother developed ezcema all over his body at the age of 22. I developed eczema and severe sinus and ear infections when I was a baby. I didn't discover the source (dairy makes me break out almost instantly) until I was 24! This is why I am so adamant that these foods be removed from the diet if these problems are present. There is no need to suffer these ailments at all. Have a bed-wetter in the house? The above recommendations stick. Bed-wetting may simply be the bladder's way of purging toxins during sleep. If your child is eating foods to which he/she is allergic, the body will get rid of offending food/drink any which way it can!

Are you eating a heathy diet? Look at your diet, and then look at your child's diet. Think of just one thing right now that you can do to improve both of them! And then do it! Take action now, and see results for a lifetime.




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