04 May 2009

Your children will thank you

Do you recall the excitement you felt when you knew you were bringing a child into the world? Nothing felt so surreal, so fulfilling and so anticipatory in life, right?

Knowing that a life was growing and would come out into the world to be nurtured, cared for and loved to the fullest! -- BY YOU... THE Parent!

When a baby is born, we quickly learn what is very important. Love your baby, be gentle and most importantly, feed your child --- carefully and properly.

There is a method that every mother and father is taught, that first due to our baby's new digestive system, we must start out with milk -- breast milk, or some sort of formula. And eventually over a few months, as their systems mature, they strive, they will want for something with more nutrients.

What is in those jars? Fruits and vegetables!! That is what! Apples, apricots, cantaloupe, cherries, green beans, peaches, pears, potatoes, spinach, strawberries, and winter squash. We take our time, introducing our precious creations to the world of foods and interestingly enough, we start with nature's best. Some mothers choose to make their own fresh fruits and vegetables and that is a beautiful thing. Today we are very lucky to have organic baby food and other naturally made choices because we have learned that ideal nutrition is very necessary.

Knowing that we are taught that babies must start their food journey with the most natural and healthiest foods on earth, why do so many of us quickly take our children on another food journey far away from this healthy start? Toddlers, no more than 1 1/2-2 yrs old, are suddenly dictating to their mothers that they will ONLY eat chicken fingers and french fries. How did that happen?

Yes, life can be quite challenging especially if parents are working and have more than one child. But it's still important to remember that whatever choices you make today as a parent for your child will matter considerably as they grow up. If you give into their requests for junk food everyday, you are laying a foundation for them to believe it's not important to take health seriously. Which leads to children growing up becoming teens and young adults who struggle with their health and now devote time and energy to "trying to find out how to change" all the wrong they have been doing. And this time and energy sometimes spans their lives for decades.

Sure children should be able to enjoy the comforts of being children, but not at the expense of causing health problems, obesity and image issues later on as they become teens. And these problems become emotional and psychological issues very quickly. Who do you think our children will blame in the end when they are struggling with issues about their bodies? Why set yourself up for suddenly dealing with a crisis about your child's well-being? You had the upper hand in the first place when you brought them into the world! Run with it!

We are a very educated society and food companies are trying to produce healthier cuisines. Statistics show that the obesity rate in children is an ever-growing number. Some parents say that they can't afford the costs of healthy foods for their children, and so that is why they indulge in a lot of not-so healthy foods. But price will be paid in the future. There is no savings!!!

It's all about balance, understanding the benefits of food and what a child's diet really and truly NEEDS. It's very easy to sit down and have a conversation with your children about their health, their bodies, how they function and the fact that food HAS a PURPOSE. If you can send your child to school to learn from a teacher all they have to know academically, then you should be WILLING to do your job as a parent and teach them why they have to care for their bodies.

It IS very easy to lead by example and embrace healthy food. It IS easy to learn how to prepare healthy dishes. And it IS very easy to convey to your children that healthy foods ARE delicious!

Food for thought: A child that feels healthy, can run and jump, feel confident, perform well... is a child that has a mind free from worry about how they look and feel---- and can focus on doing their best and being happy.

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