The overwhelming response to our post It Doesn’t Matter WHAT Your Kids Eat! was that it just can’t be that simple.
We advocated switching how you think about food. Instead of paying attention to nutrients like calcium and protein I suggested you organize foods according to how frequently they should be eaten:
- Growing Foods: These are the fresh, natural foods you should eat most frequently.
- “Fun” (Processed) Foods: The modified, packaged, sweetened and/or high in fat – that you should eat less frequently.
- Junk Foods: The foods we all know that we should eat least frequently.
“What about not serving your kids processed foods, or finding alternatives without all the additives?”
1) In our culture you have to be incredibly disciplined to avoid processed foods altogether. And even if you can in your own home, your children will eventually encounter them out in the world. When they do, don’t you want them to be prepared?
The research shows that denying your kids access to food leads to hording and overeating. It may be healthier to eliminate processed foods from your kids’ diets, but it’s not better for their understanding of how to navigate the world we live in. They need to know how to put moderate and junky foods into their diets in an appropriate way rather than be absorbed into their addictive clutches. It is a vital skill for living in today’s food world.
2) “Healthy” junk foods – treats without the additives – still teach your children to eat junk food. They don’t care how something’s made. That’s why a cookie is always a cookie!
“So instead of replacing real junk with a healthy equivalent, which just perpetuates poor eating habits, you would advocate portioning?”
Yes, but not just portioning the size of the food in any one sitting. I’m advocating paying attention to how different types of food fit into your children’s overall diets. No one food matters as much as striking the right balance. What’s important is their relation to each other. That’s the beauty of proportion – it promotes a diverse diet where foods are eaten in the correct ratios.
Is it too simple? No. But is it simple? Yes. That’s why it works. There are no menus to memorize, no portions to measure. Just a plan for making decisions about how often to eat something. As parents we do not need to make things more complicated, this way we can help our children create great healthy, balanced eating habits for life whilst creating zero stress or difficulty for ourselves.
Remember, every time you feed your children you teach them something. The only question that remains is this: what are you going to teach them?
~Discover your families own path to healthy eating happiness~