Let’s face it, most of us simply don’t have the time, the interest or the skills to track the nutrients our children consume. Quite frankly, just getting food into them multiple times each day is about all we can muster.
That’s why all the nutrition advice out there often useless: Not only can’t we keep track of how many servings of vegetables my our kids are supposed to eat, we don’t even know how many vegetables are in a serving, right?!
Just keeping up with the data is a full time job in itself:
- All those different ages translate into different calorie needs.
- Different calorie needs translate into different serving sizes.
- On top of this, the nutrition approach also asks us to remember how much juice everyone drinks, how much spinach is in their slice of lasagna…
Maybe this is why, if we’re totally honest, we are all slackers.
Food manufacturers take advantage of slackers by selling us foods that appear to meet our children’s nutrition needs, but which ruin their eating habits instead. Read How Brands Bite You in the Butt.
Don’t worry though, you can rule as a slacker. All you have to do is tweak your approach.
There’s an easier – and more effective — way than nutrition to feed kids: Just get the ratios right.
But it’s not the ratio of protein to carbs, of fats to fibers, or of processed to refined grains that you need to track. (That’s too taxing.)
You only have to consider one thing: Do your kids eat real food more often than they eat:
- Processed food-like substances (to borrow a phrase from Michael Pollan)
Tweak the basic Healthy Food/Junk Food model most of us use when we’re making decisions on the fly.
Of course you know more about nutrition, but when pressed, most of us boil everything down to one thing: is it healthy or is it junky? So take what you’re already doing and modify it like this:
Then, instead of thinking of “Fun” Foods as alternatives to Growing Foods, think of them as sharing time with the Junk Foods.
Most parents feed their children more “Fun” Food (meaning processed) than anything else because it’s easy.
From a nutrition perspective some “Fun” Foods might not be so bad. (Although the more you know, the harder it is to believe that.) Read: Are Chicken Nuggets Really Chicken?, Mac & Cheese Scores Again! and Is “Yogurt-Covered” Really Yogurt?
But from a habits perspective relying on Fun Foods is a disaster. These foods all point kids in the direction of junk. That’s why they have to share time with the treats. Read Cookies for Breakfast?
Contrary to popular advise, it’s the habits, not the nutrition, that shape how your kids eat.
So be a slacker and forget about nutrition. You’ll be doing your kids a world of good.
~Discover your families own path to healthy eating happiness~