Parents Are The Problem

Why you can’t get your children to eat healthy food

A hungry child will eat well. A child who can’t fathom hunger won’t.

I hear it from parents all the time. They see what my kids eat and say, “I could never get my child to eat like that.”

You’re right. You couldn’t. But not because it isn’t possible. You can’t get your kids to eat well because it takes discipline, resilience, and persistence. It’s easier to feed them junk than to be in constant negotiation about what they will and will not eat.

We’re lucky to live in a world of abundance where most children will never have to go hungry. The benefit of such an environment is evident. But we’ve shifted into a new set of problems that have resulted in skyrocketing childhood obesity, a world where more people die from diseases of excess than malnutrition.

It doesn’t have to be an either/or situation, and I see the issue of poor childhood nutrition (outside of the lowest socioeconomic demographic) as a matter of parental laziness. It’s easier to give your kids what they want when they want it than to reinforce frameworks for healthy eating. I understand the challenges, but the cost you and your kids will pay down the line will leave you in regret.

Healthy eating is one of the simplest, most valuable gifts you can give your child. If you have the means to provide nutritious foods but stock your household like a tuck shop, you’re not serving your kids. Nor are you helping yourself, for that matter.

If you’re looking for clear actions to improve your child’s nutrition, I’ve listed the most effective three below.

  1. You must be the example. What do you think your child will do if you eat sugar, processed food, and snacks throughout the day? Why do you even have juice, candy, ice cream, and other junk food in your house? Because your kids ask you for it? Who’s the adult here?
  2. You get what you get. I put healthy food in front of my kids. If they don’t want to eat it, that’s fine. But when they tell me they’re hungry, they get the same food pushed back in front of them. I am relentless with this rule.
  3. No snacking. Snacks are unnecessary and probably a result of food industry manipulation. Most of us snack out of boredom, not out of necessity, and if kids understand they can hold out for snacks all the time, why would they eat their meals?

I don’t want to preach from my soapbox, but I’d rather offend and help you than be polite and ineffective. I fail to see the benefit of kowtowing to your excuses for raising a family of sugar addicts. Change requires a reality check. You’re the parent, and your child’s health and nutrition are a matter of your diligence. So, start being diligent.

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