According to the government's latest nutritional guidelines, half of what your child eats should be fruits and vegetables. Nope, not hot dogs, not chicken nuggets, not pizza, but the stuff that comes out of the ground that almost every child detests. I wish I could say that my kids beg me for more peas and broccoli, but I have a couple of children who only perk up to the sound of ice cream and tater tots. To be fair, so do I.
The difference is that I'm the adult, which make me responsible for making sure my family is healthy. In the past, I used to try everything to get my kids to finish their veggies from bribery to trickery to all out war and nothing seemed to work. It was frustrating and I knew something had to change. Then, I stumbled upon a book that put it all into perspective. The book is called French Kids Eat Everything and it offered a series of rules that made parenting your kids to eat well so obvious!
Taking a cue from the French, here are 10 rules every parent should follow. I know, the French think they're so smart, but this time, they really are right!
- Parents: YOU are in charge of food education
- Avoid emotional eating -- no food rewards, bribes, etc. (this is a tough one!)
- The kids eat whatever the adults eat -- no short-order cooking
- Eat family meals together
- Eat your veggies -- no excuses
- You don't have to LIKE it but you do have to TRY it. Say this at every meal.
- No snacking. It's ok to feel hungry between meals.
- Slow food is happy food. In other words, eat slow!
- Eat mostly real food
- Remember, eating is joyful