Whole Foods Lifestyle For discussion of whole foods and more natural diets.

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Old 08-03-2006, 03:20 PM   #1  
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Default Raising Whole Foods Kids

I was not raised with very good eating habits. I'm sure that has contributed to my current weight problem. Now I have my first little one due on Tuesday (ack!), and one of my biggest worries/fears is that I am going to teach her bad eating habits and help lead her to the same life long battle I've had with my weight.

I saw on a couple other threads different people discussing how they were raised to eat well (or not), and how they are raising their kids to eat well. I am looking for thoughts and ideas on how to do this in the real world. I can see how you could do it "on paper," but I also know that when the..erm... fit hits the shan, so to speak, that sometimes easy and convenient with kids is a lifesaver.

I've got 5 or 6 months of breastfeeding (hopefully!) before I even need to start actual real food with the baby, but its been on my mind a lot. I really don't want to be a big contributor to poor eating habits. Actually, let me rephrase positively - I really want to be a big contributor to really great, healthy eating habits for my daughter.

Is just getting my own act together enough, do you think?

-Sara
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Old 08-03-2006, 03:47 PM   #2  
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Getting your own act together will help a lot - kids learn so much by example, and the way they grow up eating, and seeing YOU eat, will have lasting effects.

I think it really is true that the more you expose kids to fruits, vegetables, whole grains, etc. the more they will develop a taste for them. It's also true that it can take many attempts before they will try something new - but eventually they'll give it a go. My son had spinach on his plate about 12 times before he ever actually took a bite - but one day, he decided to taste it, and now has spinach salad with us for dinner every night. He's 3, so it's pretty cool

Encouraging healthy eating is truly one of the best gifts you can give your child, IMO, and I think it's wonderful that you're giving it so much thought. In my experience, getting to them when they're so young, before they even know about things like McDonalds, lollipops and Pop Tarts, is a big help. My son is a type 1 diabetic and so has never really been ABLE to have candy or other junk, and so really has no taste for it now - he's as happy with an apple as other kids are with a box of Smarties or a cupcake. When I realized that, it really hit me how much we as parents CAN influence the way our kids think about and approach food....whether they have health problems that require us to or not.
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Old 08-03-2006, 03:53 PM   #3  
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Start 'em early! Also, I insisted on making my son eat a certain portion of the vegetables served to him, usually half. I taught him from way young why it's important to eat spinach ("it fights cancer!" "it's good for your blood!"), and I made him try new foods every few months or so because tastebuds change.
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Old 08-03-2006, 04:05 PM   #4  
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Believe me, YOU CAN DO THIS! Both for yourself and for your baby girl.

Keep your kitchen filled with the good stuff. Don't even bring a lot of junk foods into your home. Buy a good variety of healthy snacks and ingredients for healthy meals. When it's time for something to eat, your only available options are going to be good options!

Make 'junk' food the occasional treat, not the daily standard. My kids eat chocolate cake, candy, soda (only when their grandparents give them a few sips...very rarely), juice (only 100% fruit juice with some water added, and other not so healthy foods once in a while. I don't need to deprive them completely of typical kids' treats. I just need to teach them the meaning of moderation.

Make healthier choices at fast food stops. Even at McDonalds, my oldest will get a double hamburger happy meal. She doesn't like the bread, so she just eats the burger. She gets apple dippers with it and chocolate milk. It's one of the more healthy choices, but it is still an occasional thing.

Organize your time so that you can prepare healthy meals. As a new mom, you are going to be soooooo overwhelmed and will hardly find time to even shower and brush your teeth! Eventually, you'll settle into a routine. You won't believe me when you are waking up every 2 hours with her, but believe me, it'll come! When you get your routine down, and as she gets older, make the time to cook. And if DH does more of the cooking, well, hey! Just keep trying to convince him to become a SuperFooder! Or atleast to cook meals for you and DD using them as the ingredients.

Try to ration out the snacks for her at the beginning of the week. So as she gets older, she can just grab for a healthy snack that is right there at arms reach.

Know that 'easy and convenient' can be healthy and nutritious too! Unfortunately, fast food spots have convinced us that quick meals equals crap food and that it's okay to give that stuff to our precious kids!

Start early and keep it going! Kids won't think about the junk food that they're missing if they aren't constantly exposed to it. If I gave my girls soda every day and then stopped, they would go nuts for it! I stick to my guns and they know that water is top choice! I don't get one single complaint! It's not negotiable and they know this.

Be sure and tell others (family and friends) what your wishes are when it comes to feeding your daughter. Other people have no problem going against what you requested! As a new mom, they will think they know what's better for your child than you do! Be firm with them and make sure that everyone who is around her is looking out for her best interest, as you are. If they aren't supportive of what you want to feed her, then you need to stress the importance of it with them again. Worrying about hurting their feelings is not as important as making sure your child is properly nourished!

I tell you what, when you see how much she is growing and developing, you'll want every single morsel that goes into her mouth to count towards meeting her nutritional needs. Kids in particular need very nutritionally dense foods, in the smallest quantities of food. Their stomachs can only hold so much. You'd hate to fill up your child on junk food, and she still didn't get the nourishment that she needed for the day. Every bite counts with small children. I believe most moms realize this and make every effort to give their children healthy foods. You will be no different! It's going to be your first instinct, trust me!

And the fact that you are caring so much about this before she actually arrives proves it! I'm so very proud of you and your DD will be too!

Looooooong post, and I could write more, but I'm sure there will be tons of reassuring advice coming from everyone!
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Old 08-03-2006, 04:12 PM   #5  
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OMG, phantastica, glad you mentioned that you tell him the 'why' behind healthy eating! Education is key! My oldest will tell EVERYONE who will listen that they need to eat healthy food. She understands the importance of strong teeth and bones. She'll eat every morsel of her fish and veggies and will proclaim, "I ate it all so I can be real strong like Superman!"

This is one subject that 'Because I said so' won't work as well as 'You should eat your fruits and veggies because they help you ____________'. This will certainly help them make proper choices later in life when you aren't around to do it for them.

Excellent poing phantastica! Excellent!
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Old 08-03-2006, 04:32 PM   #6  
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Oh, kids are easy! Babies especially.

As my kids got older and I could reason with them, I would simply explain that I prepare healthy meals (and we ALWAYS eat dinner as a family). I expect the food I prepare to be eaten. Children should not be given the choice of a different meal than the adults (except for very, very special circumstances). I made my children TRY at least one or two bites of a dish before they could declare "I don't like it." (And it had to be a normal sized bite, not just a itty-bitty nibble.) Eventually, they decided that most of what I fix is good, with only a few things that they dislike but that they'll eat anyway. (My DS is 11 and my DD is 15.) Sure they have their favorite, less healthy meals that they prefer, but if I give them those on rare occasions they are satisfied and I know we're not blowing everybody's diet!
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Old 08-03-2006, 04:35 PM   #7  
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Rabbitt -

Congrats on the impending birth of your first baby! So exciting. I can't speak from the perspective of a parent (since I'm not one) but my one piece of advice would be to emphasize the healthy foods (and if that's all you're serving at home, what choice has the kid got?) but do not be too rigid in restricting the less healthy choices. Restriction and rigidity around food can lead to hoarding, eating in secret, shame and (surprise!) weight problems. A book that addresses this topic is Preventing Childhood Eating Problems.

This is probably not the type of answer you were looking for but perhaps it can be helpful in the future or for someone else here.
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Old 08-03-2006, 06:17 PM   #8  
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My father OVER emphasized healthy eating and weight was always an issue. While I developed varied tastes at a young age, which I will always thank my parents for, it never seemed natural- just a result of them having an overweight child.

Fast forward to the birth of my half-brother. It's a primarily vegetarian and almost wholly organic and whole food household and he does extremely well with it. I think it's because that's just the house he's always known and he never developed a taste for junk within the home- I couldn't even tell you if he's ever had kraft macaroni and cheese. I was "deprived" (put on a strict diet at age 3 or 4), but he is not. He is taught to love good food and knows why "bad" food is bad for you. I'm glad my father figured this out!

The biggest example I have is from when I saw him at Christmas. He had won a gift certificate for an ice cream cone from Sonic. He pestered me all morning until I took him to redeem his prize. Thinking he would gobble it down the moment he got it, he actually put it in the freezer and never thought anything of it ever again. It was more about collecting his "prize" than eating ice cream. This from a kid whose Halloween candy sits in a bowl in the living room until after Christmas.

Congratulations on the upcoming arrival and good for you for taking steps to ensure a healthy and happy child! It's definitely do-able!
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Old 08-03-2006, 07:24 PM   #9  
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My kids are allowed one drink that I don't consider nutritious a day. (this is juice even 100%, chocolate milk, soda, etc.) He chooses when he will get that drink and what it will be, most of the time it is either the juice or the chocolate milk, still really good for him. He can have all the water and white milk that he wants. He has always eaten wheat bread so that is not even odd. He has just rolled with everything else that I have eaten and changed. Sometimes getting him to eat is a chore, what I do is he has a time limit to eat in. If he is not done, he a) is done, no finishing and b) he gets no snacks until the next meal and c) he only gets water to drink until the next meal. I do not want to teach the clean your plate mentality to him. I think that was part of my problem, so if he does not finish it he does not get anything else. Simple. When most of the foods that I prepare are whole foods he just gets them in his diet. My 2 year old little girl is already eating well. She will eat anything in front of her.

Also any snacks or other stuff has to be preapproved. And talking about Halloween candy, I usually have to dump out his bucket for the next year. I do not deprive him of this he just usually does not eat it.

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Old 08-03-2006, 09:38 PM   #10  
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First, congrats on the new baby. I love that new baby smell. Breastfeeding is a great start. You can't encourage the baby to finish a set amount of food if you can't see it. For my kids (14-2) they have always had skim milk, whole wheat bread, fruits and veg. The biggest changes I have made have been to really cut back on the processed sweets available at home. They get plenty from school and sports. We have unlimited fruits and veg (as long as a meal isn't in an hour) and yogurt, low fat cheese and milk in moderation. I find not making a big deal about food is best. Be matter of fact. Here is what OUR family eats, others eat differently, we do this because we value our health (or in the case of my 5yo "muscles")
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Old 08-04-2006, 01:02 AM   #11  
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Interestingly, I went shopping yesterday for the first Superfoods book (I have the second one already) and found next to it - Superfoods for Babies and Children (incidentally not written by Steven Pratt).

I didn't get a chance to look at it, but here is the link to amazon.

Its a battle trying to beat all the advertising and media that targets kids and encourages them to eat crap - but I think with persistance you can change their view.
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Old 08-04-2006, 12:20 PM   #12  
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Thanks everyone for the great comments and encouragement.

I really want to be healthier, and raise my daughter to be normal with food (whatever "normal" is ). I've been thinking about it for the last 9 months or so - how am I going to model good eating habits, when I don't really have much of a clue about them myself. "Good eating habits" for me in the past always equaled "diet" and "restriction," which is so far from where I am now mentally.

Even though I'm not really yet fully on board the way some of you are, I've been drifting toward a whole foods lifestyle for about a year and a half. Now, with the guidance of the superfoods book and having this board here with all you fabulous people, I have a structure to help me really get going with it.

Reading all your posts about the changes, and what you're eating, etc., is just getting me all pumped and excited.

-Sara
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Old 08-04-2006, 12:29 PM   #13  
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My son is raising his daughter on whole foods. She gobbles green beans and carrots like candy! He even got upset with me when I bought the Gerber Graduates dinners to feed her here, since it wasn't fresh, natural, or whole enough.

It's really all what they get used to. I can never understand parents who say things like "My child refuses to eat broccoli, all she wants are french fries and burgers". Well, littlebit wasn't born with a happy meal in her hands, it was put there by someone. I regret that I didn't know more about this when my own son was born. Your child is very lucky to have a caring mommy to give her a great start. You'll do fine
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Old 08-04-2006, 07:49 PM   #14  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suzanne 3FC
I can never understand parents who say things like "My child refuses to eat broccoli, all she wants are french fries and burgers". Well, littlebit wasn't born with a happy meal in her hands, it was put there by someone.
I'm just as confused about this as you are! I just don't get it...
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