tIt doesn’t really matter what your children eat. What matters is how often they eat it. Whatever it is.

Stop worrying about broccoli or candy. It does not even matter if your kids consume Goldfish crackerssweetened yogurt or juice.

What matters is whether your kids eat foods in proportion to their healthful benefits. What kinds of foods do your kids eat most often?

Teaching your kids to eat right is kind of like baking cookies — it’s not enough to know the ingredients, or even to get them all into the bowl. You need the correct amounts of flour, sugar, butter and eggs in relation to each other to produce the ideal outcome.

Proportion matters.  Here’s an easy way to get it right:

1) Don’t think of foods as individual delicacies. Instead think of food in groups.  But…

2) Don’t use traditional groupings like dairy, fruit, meat, or protein, carbohydrates and fat. Instead, group foods by how frequently they should be eaten.big bunch of grapes growing on the vine

Category 1 – Growing Foods 

  • Fresh, natural foods that look basically like they did when they came off the tree, out of the ground, or from the animal.

Category 2 – “Fun” (Processed) Foods

  • Growing Foods that have been modified: French fries, creamed spinach, chocolate milk, sweetened yogurt…
  • High fat processed foods: cheese, processed meats…
  • Foods that aren’t found in nature: hot dogs, chicken nuggets…
  • Snack Foods: rice cakes, crisps, crackers, pretzels…

Category 3 –  Junk Foods

  • Ice cream, chips, candy, soda, sports drinks…

How does your child’s diet stack up? Most kids eat most frequently out of category 2, the “Fun” (Processed) Foods.

The Nutrition Perspective.  Feeding your children primarily from Category 2 – Processed Foods – is like trying to fill a bathtub without a drain stopper: you never quite fill your kids with the healthy stuff because the overall nutritional values of items they are eating is constantly being drained away.

The Healthy Eating Habits Perspective. Regularly feeding your children “Fun” (Processed) Foods can undermine your ability to get them to eat Growing Foods.

  • Don’t take our word for it, test this by asking your child whether an oatmeal breakfast bar is more like a bowl or oatmeal or more like an oatmeal cookie. Better yet, do a blind taste test.

It’s important to manage “Fun Foods.  Read More on ways to improve your kids snacking.

Remember, every chocolate milk or fruit candy makes the natural version a harder sell. teach them great eating habits and they’ll make the healthy choices all by themselves.

 ~Discover your families own path to healthy eating happiness~