Most moms want their families to eat well, because they recognize wholesome food creates the building blocks for good immune function, amongst other things. Too many times I think we ascribe the “common cold” (for example) as a matter of germs, when in fact, it could just be an overloaded little (or big) body trying to detoxify all of the crud created from poor food choices. Furthermore, eating is a cultural and social act as well, and we eat for the pleasure of fellowshipping with others, too. So “eating well” also means enjoying what someone else has lovingly served.
So how does a mom successfully teach their children to eat well? Or how does she encourage her husband to do so?
Mom, it starts with you!
- Educate yourself about what real, healthy eating entails, especially if you grew up as a picky eater, or grew up on canned, processed foods. I would especially examine what you believe qualifies as “healthy” if you have had, or have, any dental problems at all. A good place to start would be to poke around the Weston A Price Foundation site.
- Demonstrate your own willingness to try new foods and new methods of cooking. Make it an adventure! Come home with something new from the grocery store. Demonstrate humility in examining your beliefs and your habits. Ask questions. Learn.
- Implement regular mealtimes. No matter how “organized” you are (or aren’t), you and your family do need to eat. Give yourself enough time to create a wholesome meal, and create an environment of reconnecting with one another without the distractions of TV screens or texts or telephones (etc). Again, eating isn’t just about food; it’s about relationships.
- Understand that every person is different, and beware the “just do x and y will occur.” What works for one mom in feeding her family healthy food might not work for you, and some folks are just more into maintaining control over everything than making any changes at all (think about your wee ones and teaching potty, or regular napping….). Better to work to win their hearts than to fight over broccoli. Better a supper of herbs and peace than a roast and irritations, right?
- Train your children that what you’ve taken the time to cook and serve…is what is served. This is not about being a martyr (who is willing to cook four different meals to please four different kids). It’s not about your comfort level, of taking the easy road to just avoid confrontation. It’s not about YOU. It’s about having the courage to teach your child that eating or at least tasting what is served, regardless of what it is, is a matter of respect and gratitude for the cook. Teach this well and hopefully you won’t have grandchildren that demand chicken nuggets three meals a day.