more tips and thoughts about feeding kids

So I was just hanging out with my friend Karl, a single dad to a 6-year old adopted son. He said his son has a very strong personality and he can’t “make” him eat anything. So Karl carefully observes what raw fruits and vegetables his sons likes, and leaves them around for him. As if he doesn’t care whether Jayden eats them or not. A bowl of carrot and celery sticks, left on the table–gone! A big bowl of cantaloupe–gone! It’s a great tip from an intuitive dad who watches for ways to help his son be healthy.

On Saturday, I had dinner with my friend Jennie before deciding last-minute to go to the BYU-U of Wash game where I paid a ridiculous sum for scalped tickets, for me and my sons.

I tease Jennie that for a really educated person with an advanced degree, she is surprisingly ignorant about nutrition. (But then, I have this reaction often, probably because I was blessed with a mother and grandmother who taught me well and were good models. Thus the genesis of this site and my books, to help fill that knowledge gap.)

As an example, my son came back from the salad bar and I told him I meant to suggest he get some FRESH pineapple, not CANNED. Jennie asked,

“Why, is the canned not as good for you?”

And so we were talking about her upbringing and how the reason she doesn’t know anything is that she simply does what her mother did. For instance, she asked, “Is Jell-O good for you?” (She really did ask me that.)   I told her it’s just sugar and a little gelatin and chemical food coloring, and she said, “When I make dinner for company, my friends ask why I always include Jell-O, and I have no reason except that my Mom always did. When I think dinner, I think Jell-O.”

This is pretty profound, if you take a minute to consider it. This should get us through those moments of discouragement when our kids complain, because habit and modeling are so powerful well into adulthood.

As for me, I simply can’t serve a dinner that doesn’t have a raw green salad. Even though I didn’t get along with my mom as I was growing up, she absolutely always served a huge green salad. So that is what I know and understand and copied.

Once again, I have this message for you: stay the course, teach them correct principles.

5 thoughts on “more tips and thoughts about feeding kids

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  1. Lol! this is how I get my husband to eat fresh fruits and veggies. I’m not as successful about the veggies unless I actually make his dinner plate up for him, but if I leave fresh fruits around that I know he likes,.. out on the table he will almost always grab and eat them as he’s on the go.

    we definitely copy our moms. My mom was always looking for the next wisdom in health and teaching me about serving balanced meals by always providing greens and fresh fruits and vegetables in the dinners or *trying* to sneak extra veggies into regular meals like spaghetti. She wasn’t always successful for all that sneaky,.. but we got the message more fresh foods and more veggies in everything makes for a healthier me. So now what do I do,… look for ways to improve my nutrition just like she always did. It’s what people who want to be healthy do right?

  2. Wow! I needed to hear that today. I grew up with a mom who did exercises with Jack LaLanne in the morning and read Adelle Davis books and always had a vegetable garden–so now I exercise and read books on nutrition and have a vegetable garden. Even though my kids do turn their noses up and roll their eyes every time I say anything about health or food, they do hear me. Today my oldest turns 18 (and although I am 56, I am told I look about 40) and told me her boyfriend’s mom is having a hard time with their dog as it stays up scratching all night. She told the mom it was probably the dog food and she should add cod liver oil to the food. I don’t know if she could tell how proud I was, but I told her she gave the best possible advise. So you are right–be the example as kids do listen and observe!

  3. I was raised on casseroles, store-canned vegetables, iceberg lettuce for dinner and meat & cheese sandwiches on white bread, with a piece of fresh fruit (usually an apple) for lunch. Breakfast had to be cooked–hot cereal, pancakes, eggs, french toast, toast, etc. We only got cold cereals once a week–which was a good thing!! We drank either water, re-hydrated powdered milk, or kool-aid. Desserts were only on Sundays or when there was company. We did have an apricot tree in our back yard that we really enjoyed and then hated in the summer!! We canned lots of apricots. We also had a couple of orange trees–not good for eating, but good for juicing as long as you added some sugar.

    It was too expensive then to buy many fresh vegetables, although my parents now eat a lot of fresh stuff. As soon as I got married, I tried my hand at gardening. For several years it was hard, as I lived in the desert, but finally I live in Washington State where we can usually grow a decent garden. I’ve written before about how cancer led us to eating a mostly vegetable diet, so it is possible to change. But unfortunately, I did so after most of my kids were gone. The few left resisted the change, so I cooked two ways most days and still do whenever they come to visit. I’m still trying though!! I guess that is all we can do! I leave out lots of veggies and fruit whenever they are here.

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