Parental responsibilities and rights

You might consider that part of parental responsibilities and rights includes keeping your talk about nutritious food positive, while expecting some reaction to your changes toward good nutrition.Avoid adopting the attitude, as you speak to your kids, that eating good food is a chore to be endured on our way to dessert.

With a little thought and effort on your part, children become “invested” in the process of improving the family’s nutrition, through the several ideas that follow, and many more you may think of.

First, ask your children to taste a new recipe and suggest ways to change it.What does it need more of, or less of?Treat the experience as a taste test.I have a lot of experience in this, having tested every one of the recipes in this book on my own four kids (sometimes several times, because I didn’t get it right).They loved telling me what they liked and what needed to be different, and they contributed many ideas to the recipes herein.

Second, have a child help you make the recipe, or give him the entire responsibility.My mother always started dinner with the “compliments,” such as, “The salad is compliments of Robyn.The vegetables in the soup are compliments of Dave,” etc.We rolled our eyes at this tradition but secretly appreciated the acknowledgement of our contribution.

Third, as you’re educating yourself, educate your kids.As with so many things, knowledge is truly the key!Some of your children may relish the opportunity to read each chapter of this book with you, and discuss it with you afterward.Everyone knows “vegetables are good for you,” but when we know several very specific reasons why they’re critical to a quality life, suddenly we care more.Then it’s a group project everyone is invested in, not just you, and they know what’s coming next in your plans to get healthy, and why.Tell your children what you’re learning as you read 12 Steps to Whole Foods.

Someone once said, “I’ll go to the ends of the earth for you, if I know WHY you want me to.”I often use the dinner table conversation as a parental responsibilities and rights opportunity to talk about why the foods we’re having are so good for us.I use descriptions relevant to my children’s lives.They may not be interested in a discussion of the interplay of phosphorus and calcium in soft drinks, especially when they’re too young to study chemistry.However, my competitive soccer players are very interested that carbonation robs their red blood cells of the ability to exchange oxygen–they are therefore more competitive than soda drinkers because they abstain.

A teenage, weight-lifting son might be interested to know that Bill Pearl was a vegetarian Mr. Universe.He’d be interested to know that Arnold Schwarzenegger said that while Bill didn’t convince him to become vegetarian, he did convince Arnold that a vegetarian can be a world-class bodybuilder.That leads into a conversation about proteins–which proteins lead to lasting muscle mass and why.