As a parent I want my children to be able to eat what they love. The times, when I serve them meals which they don’t particularly like, and I watch them eat without enthusiasm, break my heart. I have to strive not to cave in and give them what they crave, but which I believe is not proper nutrition. However, I’m not so stringent, really. Once or twice a week, I give them what they love. But, what I’d really want for them is to get used to eating healthy foods and to learn to make healthy choices. I cannot give in because I’m doing what I’m doing because I love them.
When my kids where toddlers, I love baking and making desserts for them. It makes me very happy to watch them eating heartily. When they got older, it’s difficult to wean them away from the taste of kiddie treats.
I now realize the importance of starting kids young, I mean really young. Give them sweets occasionally only. Get them used to vegetables and low fat foods. Never make fast food visits a weekly routine. Let them have some, but almost never. Inculcate in their young minds what they ought to be feeding on.
Our journey toward healthy eating as a family started when our eldest son got overweight. He was twelve. Because diabetes and hypertension run on both my side and my husband’s, it crossed my mind to have our son tested. It turned out that his cholesterol and triglyceride levels are way over normal limits. And, he was twelve. That was our wake up call.
We overhauled our pantry and emptied our fridge. We searched for healthy recipes. Learned new methods of healthy cooking, particularly low fat. Luckily, salt is not a problem with us. We trained ourselves to a whole new set of tastes and flavors. Adopting a healthy way of eating is a lifestyle change for us.
Healthy dietary habits is a lifestyle, not a fad. If we treat it that way, it’ll become sustainable. I’m not saying it’s easy. Habits are formed over periods of repeatedly doing them, it will take roughly the same amount of time or even more to unlearn them, and learn new ones in their place.
It is very important for parents to realize that they must lead their children to a healthy lifestyle when their minds are still more pliable and open to a lot of learning. The choices a parent makes may be heartbreaking. He simply has to endure it, to realize that what is right ought to be done. So, parents must lead by example. They must be steadfast and disciplined.
Much of the future of children depends on their health, and much of their health depends on their parents. Most lifestyle diseases can be prevented through healthy eating. It should be the first focus of parents when it comes to their kids’ health.
If parents can train their children to make healthy food choices, majority of our health problems can be solved several years down the road.