Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Top Tip - Ditch the Kids Menu

We all want our kids to eat healthy food but often struggle with making it happen. On Tuesdays, the Sprouts and I will share our top tips for making healthy living a habit from both a parent and child's perspective.

Before you gasp in horror, just hear me out. Remember that kids are just small adults. They need the same type of nutrition that we do - in fact, maybe even a little more since they're so busy with all that growing. So keeping all that in mind, on what planet are chicken tenders, pizza, grilled cheese and French fries considered healthy foods??? (Just a hint - it's not this one!)

No one would try to argue that these types of junk food are healthy. And if they're not healthy for adults, they're certainly not healthy for kids. These types of food, along with many others, are marketed as "kids food" by large corporations who have their bottom line - not your child's health - in mind. They all look really exciting and probably taste really good too, and left with the decision-making power, kids will probably choose to eat them. Fortunately for them, we're the ones who actually control whether or not they get to.

So before you say that your child won't eat broccoli or that they can't live without a weekly Happy Meal, remember that you have more control than you may think. After all, it's parents who control what food comes into the house, parents who control what types of meals are cooked each day and parents who pick up the tab when eating out. Right???

Fortunately, Jim and I have been on the same page about nutrition from the start, and that helps a ton. In our house, nutrition is as much of a safety issue as wearing seat belts. Certainly our kids would love to ride in the car with no carseat (trust me, they've asked), but as parents, we know it's not safe and we enforce the carseat/seatbelt rule. Healthy food choices are much the same . . . they may not be a child's first choice when given an option, but when made mandatory, they become a healthy habit.

If healthy food is the only option, kids will eat it. And if you are proactive about teaching them about the importance of nutrition, they may even grow to enjoy and appreciate it.


  1. Well said Momma Sprout! the health of our kiddos should be the most important thing on our very long "to do" lists. We have to stop claiming ignorance, stop being lazy and take responsibility for the health of our precious little gifts!

  2. So true. We go through great lengths to protect them in other ways, but it's not part of our culture (yet!) to think of nutrition as a safety issue.