“Salad is my favorite” said no child ever. (Or most grownups for that matter!)
Don’t most of us wish that were the case, though?
Don’t you wish our cravings are for avocado or watermelon instead of candies and sugary treats?
That we wouldn’t be scraping creamed spinach from dinner plates into the trash can, again?
When I was pregnant I had fantasies about how perfectly I would parent. I would be like June Cleaver or Donna Reed. Hair perfectly coifed, house spotless, skirt swishing as I presented perfectly balanced meals to my family who would look up at me joyfully and say, “Boy, I sure do love your lasagna!”
In reality, my hair was in a ponytail, I was in yoga pants for the 23rd day in a row, and I was close to tears begging my toddler to please, please, try just a tiny bit of broccoli. He, however, sat there with arms crossed and lips sealed as resolute as a pharaoh. He was NOT going to put that green stuff in his mouth.
Why do we put ourselves through this! Why is getting our families eating healthier so important?
Many of us already know that poor childhood diets can set the groundwork for many adult diseases such as osteoporosis, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. But it can also affect kids in the classroom. A study by the NIH in 2008 showed that children who have unhealthy diets don’t experience the same levels of academic achievement as their classmates who do eat healthily.
It’s so important that the First Lady Michelle Obama has made improving the quality of school lunch her mission during her tenure in the White House. Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver started the Food Revolution and tried to get schools and communities all over the world to change how they feed children.
It took a while, and there were times I would have paid them $100 to eat a tomato, but over the years, we’ve made a lot of progress. Now my kids love fruits and vegetables. When they want a snack they grab carrots, celery, or an apple. My husband and I are eating healthier too.
Here are quick compendium of the 20 ways that I learned along the way to get my family to be healthy eaters.