Kids and Food – Four Things I Believe
When the little one presented herself, instructions weren’t included. So we read a lot and spoke to relatives/friends/doctors. And aside from some fairly basic (mostly safety-related) tenets, turns out nobody agrees on anything. Let cry vs. don’t let cry. Crib vs. your bed. Antibiotics vs. no antibiotics. So you take it all in, and just go with what seems right for your family.
There’s plenty of conflict and angst in the food/kid area too. Here are four things I’ve come to believe about kids and food (complete with sepia-toned father-daughter hand shot with mirepoix):
- That’s What’s For Dinner
- Be the Change
Don’t expect the tot to eat healthy while you pack doughnuts down your neck. Kids see, kids learn. That’s how they roll. Make the good habits by being the good example. And if it’s anything in a box or a can, try for better. Yes, it’s more expensive to eat fresh, local, non-processed. But we all just get one body. So open the wallet and take care of it. Also, everyone’s got to keep moving — particularly in this house of foodies. The gym and SoulCycle for the grownups, jazz dance, ballet and swimming for the little one.
- Train the Help
Good relationships with food are crafted by actually making and enjoying food. Enlist the kid early. Between ages 2 and 5, that’s the investment period where the ‘help’ ain’t so helpful. But around 6, it starts to turn, and by 7 you can really integrate them into productive prep. Mine peels onions (she has goggles so she doesn’t cry), seeds and cuts cucumbers, mixes stuff, measures, whisks, etc. Cooking develops planning and organizational skills, and provides tasty rewards. Plus it’s good uninterrupted time together.
- Don’t be a Militant Loser