By: Kristen Yarker
Want to know the often missed (But Hugely Important) strategy for your child’s good nutrition?
There is significant influence on your child’s eating habits and nutritional health that you likely haven’t considered.
Every parent I’ve met is willing to go to great lengths to get their kids to eat well and get the nutrition that they need.
They stretch their food budget to buy organic food. They avoid giving their baby sugar. They steer clear of salt. They worry about vitamins, minerals, probiotics, vegetables, whole grains. They feed them quinoa and perhaps even kale smoothies. They wonder if they should be giving their baby gluten.
But in the 6 years that I’ve been leading workshops on how to introduce babies to solid foods and helping families support their picky eaters to try new foods, I’ve seen that most parents have one huge blind spot when it comes good nutrition for their kids.
You don’t consider your own eating habits.
As the saying goes, actions speak louder than words.
In my experience this sure is true when it comes to kids’ eating. The importance of parents as healthy eating role models can’t be overestimated.
And kids notice their parents’ eating habits at a younger age than you likely realize.
You may get away with skipping meals and existing on highly processed junk food and caffeine for the first couple of months after you introduce your baby to solid foods.
But by about 9 – 12 months of age, babies notice that their organic, no sugar, no salt, superfood-containing puree pouch is different than your bag of chips. And, they’ll want the chips.
There’s even a stage during the toddler and preschooler years that kids particularly strongly identify with trusted adults of the same sex. Yes, this means that if Mom eats vegetables but Dad doesn’t, your son will learn that girls eat veggies and boys don’t eat veggies. As a boy he’ll understand that he’s not supposed to eat veggies. No matter how many times you ask him to take a bite of that broccoli!
What to do? Continue buying healthy food for your child.
And, use your child as inspiration to get your act together when it comes to your eating habits. It’s an important strategy for making sure that your child is getting the nutrition that they need.
And a fantastic side-effect is that your health will improve too.
Kristen Yarker, MSc, RD helps you experience the pleasure (and energy) of healthy eating. After 6 years of only working with the toughest customers (i.e. picky kids), she is now serving adults who want amazing energy to live their busy lives without sacrificing the pleasure of delicious food.