Teach Kids to Eat Healthy for Life

I’m on a mission to eat as nature intended and teaching my kids to do the same. I’ve embraced the ‘wholefood’ philosophy, which to me, means eating food as nature provides it, e.g. whole milk, as opposed to skim milk or cream. I figure if that’s how nature dishes it up then that’s how I’m meant to eat it!

I’ve taught my kids about food groups, e.g. protein, carbohydrates, vegetables, etc. how much they should have and how they benefit their health. I give my kids cod liver oil mixed in 100% juice because of the essential fatty acids. I’ve explained they need this oil for their brains to work properly and they don’t mind drinking it at all! When packing lunch boxes they usually have vegetables, homemade wholemeal bread, homemade nut butter and fruit. They understand that nuts, eggs and meat are protein. Their school allows them to take nuts, however if we have run out, one will say, ‘Oh no! We’ve got no protein! We better boil some eggs!’

Jewel (5) and her homemade chocolate balls for recess this week! 200g dried dates, 200g roasted, salted peanuts, 1 tablespoon cacao/cocoa, 1 tablespoon honey blitzed together then rolled in preservative free desiccated coconut!

My kids know about artificial additives, flavours, colours and preservatives. I don’t buy anything with numbers in it. I’ve explained the dangerous side effects from these additives and they happily avoid them. With meat, I avoid pork and processed meat because of the added preservatives, and prefer to buy chicken, beef and local/sustainable fish. As we only drink rainwater at our house, Jewel (5) wanted to buy some juice for a treat, using her pocket money from chores. She was drawn to the ‘fruit drinks’ because of the cartoons on them. I showed her the label and explained that this was mostly water and sugar with artificial additives. I showed her some real juice, which was 100% fruit with nothing else added. She understood why the real juice was a better choice and bought it.

Our bodies don’t need sugary cakes, but I’m not opposed to a sweet treat. Life is about balance and I figure if we are eating healthily at home 90% of the time, then it’s ok for my kids to eat whatever they want at someone’s party. My kids are allowed to make treats at home for special occasions, like someone’s birthday. Even then we still prefer healthier options and use Jude Blereau’s Wholefood cookbooks and I especially love her Better Buttercream for icing cakes. It has much less sugar in it, and my junk food loving hubby didn’t even notice it was a healthier icing! I colour icing naturally, using freshly squeezed beetroot juice, a pinch of turmeric, or cacao. You can’t even taste the beetroot or turmeric! I add natural flavour using real vanilla extract.

My kids know that food companies and advertisers are businesses that are trying to make a profit, and not to be swayed by them. We don’t have a TV aerial and only watch DVDs, and in the car we listen to audio books so they’re rarely exposed to ads. I’ve met parents who never allowed their kids to have any treats and caught their kids eating toothpaste as a way of treating themselves! Each to their own, but how will this play out in the real world when the kids are adults? Chances are they will eat all the things they were never allowed to and end up unhealthy. My kids have told me about parents who allow their kids eat ice creams and junk at the canteen every day! I’m wondering if these kids have been taught the dangerous real life consequences of eating so unhealthily, like getting diabetes!

As a parent it’s my job to teach my kids about food, where it comes from, the effect it has on their body, and how to prepare it, so they can make informed decisions about what they put in to their bodies and know how to eat healthily for the rest of their lives, and teach their children to do the same. So start the food conversation at home! You never know where it can lead- I recently had a chat with Kale (8) about the pros and cons of genetically modified food! Have you started teaching your kids about food?