This simple practice will help you raise healthy eaters
"It is most important to give your child what is best, not what is most convenient."
As parents, you want to give your child the best nourishment. You invest time, effort, and finances into making sure they get proper nutrients. But even though you strive to only choose what's best and fresh, there where will be times when you will go for the most cheaper and convenient options.
But there is a way to start raising healthy eaters. And the key lies in thoroughly knowing the food you prepare and serve your family.
The Healing Power of Food
"It is most important to give your child what is best, not what is most convenient," explains Harvie De Baron, Baron Method Lead Nutritionist, in an interview with theAsianparent. "In terms of a child’s nutrition, fresh and real food lovingly prepared at home is always the best choice. Moms should take caution when buying packed food commonly seen in groceries since most of these are chemically derived or processed."
The Baron Method is the Philippines' first nutritional coaching and food education Program, that aims to teach families that lifetime of strength, vitality, and energy through is possible through the healing power of food.
"In Baron Method, we believe in Hippocrates’s philosophy which states, 'Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.' The body has a natural way of healing itself if it is given the right fuel," Baron further explains. "When battling chronic, autoimmune or lifestyle diseases, our approach focuses on boosting one’s immune system."
Want to Raise Healthy Eaters? The Key Lies in Knowing What Goes into The Food You Buy
Education is key, for both parents and kids. Often, when we head to the grocery, we just pick up what's on our list, without bothering to read the labels.
"Applying the Baron Method to everyday life is a matter of keeping this principle in mind when choosing food. It is about finding better alternatives for food that is highly nutritious and does not contain any additives, preservatives, and chemicals," explains Baron.
"It is not always easy to feed a child. Therefore, it is common for parents to give in to whatever the child wants to eat in fear that they will not eat at all otherwise," she further explains.
Examples of go-to snacks when we're in a rush are: canned food, instant noodles, fast food, junk food, cookies and candies.
"The problem is that these food choices make children prone to diseases even if only given occasionally because it does not in any way support their immune system. Those types of food destroy the gut microbiota, a cause for concern since as children, their digestive and immune systems are still developing," says Baron.
So where can parents start to make healthier choices?
- Avoid refined sugars, like the ones found in products with glucose, fructose, sucrose, maltose, dextrose, lactose, molasses, honey, evaporated cane juice, high fructose corn syrup, fruit juice concentrates, cane crystals and corn sweetener
- Steer clear of hydrogenated oils, sodium nitrates, artificial colorings and sweeteners.
- Aside from their lack of nutritional value, they can cause and/or aggravate mental disabilities, neurological disorders, cancer, diabetes, and heart disease among many other diseases.
This habit of checking the label will also benefit the parents, making them more nutritionally aware. In turn, they can care for their kids better.
When the children are in good health, it help them to think clearly, grow and develop more optimally and battle diseases.
Not All Processed Foods Are Bad
As we stated in a past article, not all processed foods are necessarily bad for us. Though fresh food, with its nutrients and enzymes are truly ideal, there are better alternatives if you're looking for healthy processed meals.
"Look for the organic seal by the USDA, European Union, Australia, Japan, Germany, France and Canada. These organic seals guarantee that ingredients have minimal to no chemicals added in, whether as an ingredient or in its production," says Baron.
However, it's important to remember that just because a food is organic, it doesn't mean it will help protect your family against diseases in the long run. It's still safe to serve organic meals in moderation.
Some of us fall into the trap of thinking that children can afford to eat unhealthy because they are still young. But healthy eating habits should be encouraged as early as possible. If they never develop a taste for unhealthy meals, they will not grow up craving it.
Want to raise a healthy eater?
The best way to cultivate healthy eating habits in your kids is to be a good role model. Kids pick up, and enjoy learning, good habits through following your example.
"Never underestimate your child's ability to comprehend," encourages Baron. "By explaining why certain food items are not good for them and how certain foods are good, you can slowly train them to choose better food."
What methods do you use to raise healthy eaters? Let us know in the comments below.