I love watching videos of raw foodist Roger Haeske with his beautiful daughter Rainbow, and his son Andrew. What a delight to see two children not stuffing themselves with ice cream, hot dogs and chips. If only more parents understood that there is no such thing as children who don’t like to eat fruits, vegetables and greens, only children that have been taught to dislike them.
See, even kids who have been exposed to junk food during their gestational period, still have the advantages of uncorrupted taste buds, no detox hunger, small stomachs and no preconception of what food they like. As such they are ideal incubators of good and healthy habits. So use this time to introduce your child to fruits, vegetables and greens in order to give them the healthiest start in life, and safeguard them from bad habits you yourself spend years trying to get rid off.
While my daughter does eat unhealthy food quite frequently, I am delighted to have instilled in her a love for raw organic produce. In fact, given the option, she herself chooses to graze, rather than have big meals, and to have 70% of her calories come from raw foods.
This summer, while we were vacationing in France, Sophie (my daughter), opted to consume most of her meals in the form of fresh squeezed juices, supplementing them with nuts, bread, cheese, yoghurt and chocolate.
Watching her do this delighted me, especially after watching parents trying to feed fruit to children addicted to tacos, pizza and McDonalds meals. I felt bad for these moms and dads knowing how much harder it can be to correct bad habits rather than to build good ones from the start.
Yet even if your children are older, it is still not too late to try and introduce them to superfoods, and having gone through the struggle with my own younger sibling, I made a list of a few guidelines that helped:
1. Don’t expect your child to eat healthy if you don’t. Children are copy cats, and they can smell hypocrisy from a mile away. If you’re eating a doughnut, don’t expect little Amy to be happy with her apple.
2. Grow a kitchen garden together with your children. Even the pickiest child will be tempted to taste the fruit of their labor. Make a big deal over how beautiful and delicious the produce is.
3. Go berry picking. There’s thousands of blackberries that rot on Ireland’s bushes every year, and there’s even some strawberries. Chances are there are some wild berries around where you live. Kids love eating them straight off the bush.
4. Replace juices from concentrate with homemade fresh squeezed, organic juices. Get rid of the pulp, if your child gets picky, and have them drink several cups a day.
5. Talk to your child about nutrition. Kids love attention from mom and dad. They also love to be treated like adults. So explain to them why certain food is more nutritious.
6. Always have healthy snacks laying around the house. Pull out that fruit bowl, seed jar, and carrot and celery stick platter. Put away the candy and cookie jars.
Remember, it is your primary duty as a parent to raise a physically and psychologically healthy and balanced individual. It is absolutely not your duty to teach your child how to abuse their body to receive maximum instantaneous gratification. The habits that you ingrain in your little ones now, will last them their whole lifetime.