Healthy foods are a priority. I’ll be honest. It’s not hard for me to make healthy foods a priority because I love the flavor and quality. I am also very passionate about food. I love shopping for it, preparing it, dishing it out and making it look pretty, and I love eating it (when I’m not in my first trimester of pregnancy, that is!). One of my favorite things is cooking for other people. It’s my way of caring for them, making them feel comfortable, and enjoying them.
However, I also like knowing that I’m benefiting my body by what I choose to eat. If anything, shouldn’t the food we eat be beneficial to our bodies? Furthermore, I believe that as parents, we are responsible for not only feeding our children, but for monitoring exactly what our children eat. As it turns out, it’s especially important to feed them quality foods before they turn 2 because that’s when their taste palate is fully formed.
While it is easy and convenient (and I am guilty of this) to use things like packaged snacks and canned/jarred foods, the nutritional benefits of healthy, fresh, organic foods far outweigh the convenience factor. Personally, we are in tight financial times, and I cannot always afford to buy organic produce (although we always buy organic dairy). Fortunately, there are many websites out there that help us in determining when it’s important to buy organic. Buying organic is not simply a fad – it’s a very important thing to consider! Many “unforeseen” health problems stem from things like pesticides. This is not to be taken lightly!
Healthy food is also important for children whose parents have chosen not to vaccinate or are using an alternate, selective vaccination schedule. These children need to be protected in other ways – building up a strong body with healthy foods is imperative! Additionally, there have been studies which have proven that children who eat 12 hotdogs or more per month are 9 times more likely to develop leukemia. Hotdogs – really? Again, these are very serious matters!
The reason I regard this as such an important part of parenting is this: as parents, we are responsible for training up our children. We must teach them how to behave, how to reason and how to operate as healthy individuals. In order to promote an all-around healthy lifestyle, we can begin with food. We can teach them to enjoy eating the things that cause their body to grow and mature in the right timing, we can teach them to not over-eat or under-eat, and we can build up their immune systems by feeding them local, organic produce (and honey, after the age of 1). We can limit their diet to whole, fresh foods – without pesticides, without high fructose corn syrup, without other refined sugars, and without unhealthy fats. We can even help them form a diet that could protect them from cancer later on in their life (the book Anticancer has some very interesting things to say about this, though I don’t promote the book as a whole, and Dr. Sears has some great advice, as well).
Lastly, in case it wasn’t clear before – I believe we are also responsible for eating well as an example to our children. It will be highly confusing for them to see us drinking soda, eating fried, fatty foods, or downing chilidogs and other such unhealthy foods – and yet insisting that they eat their green beans and chicken breast. We must lead by example and teach them that healthy foods are tasty and enjoyable (because they are!). 🙂
Overall, I believe that fostering healthy eating is a key part to nurturing our children and setting the stage for ideal physical, mental, and emotional health. What do you think? In what ways do you feel you have succeeded in this area? What do you find most difficult? Do you disagree? I’d love your input!