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Teaching Our Children The Fine Art Of Dietary Balance - Part Two

Posted Jan 15 2009 11:46pm
After a friend read my recent post on teaching our children the fine art of dietary balance she called to tell me about a Today Show segment she happened to see that morning by Joy Bauer called “Feeding Your Kids: Seven Mistakes To Avoid.” She said this piece was extremely relevant to the point I was trying to make about how we as parents need to tread very carefully when it comes to the complete elimination of all unhealthy foods from our children’s diets. My fear, which was peaked by an article I had read in the New York Time Magazine entitled "Forbidden Nonfruit," is that if we completely remove these types of foods from our kids' diets they will only grow more determined to seek out and eat these foods when they are away from our parental grip. While I did not get a chance to see the segment for myself, at my earliest opportunity I did jump on-line to see if I could find a written transcript of this segment at the Today’s Show website – luckily I did.

I’m sure by now most of you are familiar with Joy Bauer. Not only is she a regular nutrition and diet contributor to the Today Show, she is also getting a lot of press lately for her “Joy’s Life Diet” -- can you imagine a better time of year to come out with a new diet plan? Well, anyway, in this piece, “Feeding Your Kids…” she makes a lot of very relevant suggestions about what NOT to do if you want to raise children that have a well adjusted and healthy attitude toward food. Based on my recent post, the one particular “Don’t” that caught my eye was “Don’t deprive kids of all sweets.” She describes studies that have demonstrated that a child’s desire for sugary or other unhealthy snack foods “increases, as does their consumption of these foods when they are finally given access to restricted items.” She recommends that we try to limit, rather than eliminate, these types of foods from our children’s diets in order to avoid this type of backlash from occurring. A couple of her other suggestions include:

--Limiting snack and after-dinner desserts to 150 calories.

--Doing our best to choose snack foods with healthy ingredients (i.e. no hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup, artificial ingredients, etc.).

--Whenever possible try to “sneak in” healthier items along with the sugar (e.g. strawberries with whipped cream topping).

Another great piece of advise is that we as parents should shoot for a 90/10 approach to our children’s diets (and probably ours too). As long as 90% of their food is of the healthy variety, 10% could be thrown out on the types of foods all kids’ desire. This approach will help to teach our children that nothing is “off-limits,” but rather that life is about choices and that as long as we are feeding our bodies plenty of healthy foods for energy and growth it is OK to occasionally indulge in something less-than-healthy too.

Interestingly, one of her suggestions was my personal goal for this week’s series of posts. Since the New Year I’ ve been trying to incorporate more fruits into my kids’ diets, but choosing to do it with a bit more pizazz than usual in order to keep them interested and excited. I've spent sometime researching new fruit-based recipes on-line and at the library and have found several great ideas.
Starting tomorrow I'll share some of these ideas with you -- many of these recipes my family has enjoyed already. Until then you should click on the link and read more of Joy Bauer's suggestions in order to avoid making these common food mistakes with your kids -- I know I learned a little more.

Photo By: NKZS
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