You know that niggling feeling, the one when you know you should be doing something, but somehow you can’t be bothered or the thought of it is so overwhelming that you just don’t know where to start, so you don’t, but feel shit just the same?
Feeding your children healthier food must be one of them. Surely, parents who give their kids rubbish just to save them from starvation must know that they are doing something wrong, right? But then sometimes I’m not so sure.
I personally know quite a few parents who opt for an easier option and just give their kid what they want. I can understand people being busy, I can understand convenience, and I can understand food allergies, but feeding your child chips, coke and fortified milk, because that’s pretty much all they will eat is not right under any circumstances. Similarly, adding four leaves of spinach to a bowl of rice is not making it very healthy or nutritious, and does not cover daily fruit and veg intake. The parents I know are educated, living in developed countries with plenty of food and help available to them.
I am honestly amazed. I don’t think that I am perfect and I am usually not quick to judge, but come on! This is not the kids’ fault that they eat that way, it is their parent’s fault for getting them into that state. I am sorry if you are one of those parents, not because I am apologising, but because I genuinely feel sorry. You must feel pretty bad about this.
When reading studies about fussy eating, I came across quite a few reports of 1-2 year old children not eating any solid foods, not eating a single fruit or vegetable and of mums running around the house chasing baby with a spoon. I know some kids may have actual problems with their digestive system, or behavioural issues, but these are otherwise healthy children I am talking about.
The research is clear. Eating habits formed in the first couple years of life seriously affect child development during subsequent years. What’s more, it is the parents’ practices that can make things much worse, force feeding being one of them. Anxiety while eating doesn’t help anyone, and food soon becomes something to be hated.
Maybe you just ended up digging such a deep hole that you don’t know how to come out of it? Maybe you just gave up? Whatever it is, it is never too late to change. It may not be easy, but the stakes are huge.
I do not believe that kids are fussy by nature. They are simply not thought how to eat in the right way. As a result both parents and the baby suffer.
For starters, offer a selection of healthy food and only healthy food, leave your baby with it and let them eat whatever they want while you eat your healthy food and lead by example. That’s it, just try it a few times and see the improvement. It certainly won’t get any worse, so you have nothing to lose.