How to Teach Your Kids to Eat Well at Home
by Missy Chase Lapine
In today’s world, parents face challenges that just weren’t an issue a generation ago. My parents never had to deal with a global health crisis stemming from rampant obesity among children. Eating was a simple action back then, involving little more than food, a table and mouths.
Thankfully, my parents taught me that when a new challenge pops up in life, there are ways to meet it. And so, for all of you out there who may feel a sense of helplessness when it comes to your child’s less than ideal diet, let me say this: there are plenty of practical steps you can take today that will help you and your kids eat healthier and live longer, happier lives.
Make every effort to eat well in front of your children. What message is broadcast if that luscious fruit bowl on the table is only frequented by fruit flies? Go up to a bowl of strawberries, select a red ripe yummy, and pop it into your mouth with a long, languorous, “Mmmmmm!” Rest assured that you have made an impact which will ever so slightly counter the 81 ads a day your children see on TV condoning junk food.
If you have some time, grow your own little garden. Even an indoor herb basket is sufficient. Don’t expect your children to become instant gardeners toiling with a hoe. Perhaps their enjoyment will be an occasional visit to their tomato seeds that are sprouting. Again, the smallest things add up to a deeper connection to real food.
Shop with your kids at open air markets. The sights and smells are wonderful, the vendors are friendly and often encourage people to try samples, and there are no distracting candy bars in the vicinity. You can have your kids be in charge of selecting fruits and veggies
Missy Chase Lapine is the former publisher of Eating Well magazine. A mother of two young daughters, she knows how picky kids can be—and she’s got the kitchen experiments to prove it! She is on the Culinary Arts facility of The New School, in New York City, and also gives cooking classes and coaching to busy families hoping to learn how to eat healthier. Her book, The Sneaky Chef, is published by Running Press. Her next book The Sneaky Chef: How to Cheat on Your Man (In the Kitchen) will be out in April 2008. You can learn more about Missy at her website, www.thesneakychef.com