How do you deal with exceptional foods, commonly called "junk food", at home? We all want our children to have a good diet but should we forbid them everything?
Scientists have shown that the earlier he althy lifestyle habits are acquired in a child's life, the more likely they are to be maintained in the future.
We must take the time, first of all, to take stock of the education given to children about food. Is there a place for exceptional foods or not? And this place takes what proportion? The idea here is not to tell ourselves that the family just eats he althy foods, nor to make ourselves feel guilty by saying that we are not eating well. You just have to be aware of where you are starting from.
Second, we must take action to intervene in our food lifestyle. Whether we are in one extreme or the other, it is time to return to the right balance. We must now allow exceptional foods to enter or limit the space they take up. For example, you could set up one day a month where the children choose what they want to eat for supper (makedeliver pizza, eat macaroni au gratin, or pick up ice cream for dessert).
Certainly, the first times will be more on the side of junk food… but they will surprise you with their choice!
It is important to educate children about he althy foods and exceptional foods. When they are small, simply use the word “special” when offering cake or cookies for dessert. The same thing when you're visiting grandparents and there's unlimited candy and chips: it's a special occasion.
Of course, we must accompany the children in recognizing the signals of satiety so that they do not make themselves sick. When they are a little older, we can look with them at the list of ingredients and the nutritional information on the packaging when we go grocery shopping. They can also be involved in the preparation of meals. At this point, name the ingredients and try to qualify them in terms of he alth. For example, if you add butter to sauté vegetables with a drizzle of olive oil, you might say the butter tastes good but using less of it (because it adds olive oil), it is not so harmful to he alth.
Remember that you are role models for your children; food is no exception. When you have a glass of wine with supper on Saturday night and your child asks for juice, it's time to give it to him.give as a special occasion. The same goes for movie night at home, popcorn and candy are not hidden away until the kids go to bed.
Pleasure of eating
You have to teach them how to eat it while controlling the quantities. The parent must act as he would like his children to act. It's a great way to reconsider our eating practices for the well-being of the whole family.
No matter how we manage them, exceptional foods are/will be part of children's lives, sooner or later. Our role is to accompany them in the place they take in their lives and above all, to keep food as something pleasant. In the acquisition of he althy lifestyle habits, as in all learning, pleasure remains the main element of success.
Gazelle and Pumpkinfrom Family Ministry (available online)
My first recipe book, by Ricardo, published by La Presse
The collection Mandarine and Kiwi, published by Bayard