Next to bedtime, the second most stressful time of day for parents is dinnertime. In fact, pretty much any time of the day is tough in our house when it comes to food. My five-year-old twins beg constantly for candy, drinks and sweets—or, as author Vicki Lansky terms them, Continuously Advertised Nutritionally Deficient Yummies, aka C.A.N.D.Y.! Vicki Lansky has been in the parenting business for a long time, not only as a mom (and now a grandmother), but as the author of more than 30 books that have been bestsellers for decades. So, she knows how to tame tricky parenting problems, especially when it comes to getting kids to eat more nutritiously.
I don’t have to tell you that obesity has become a real problem with today’s children. They’re coming down with obesity-related complications, such as diabetes and heart disease, that previous generations never saw until adulthood. Today’s parents need to take control of their children’s eating habits before they become so ingrained that they follow them into adulthood. But hand a kid a piece of broccoli and he’s likely to sneak over to his friend’s house to gorge on a bag of M&Ms. Healthy foods just don’t look all that appealing next to the bright wrapping and interesting flavors of typical junk food. So, how can we make kids want to try—and love—food that’s good for them?
Fortunately, Vicki Lansky has quite a few ideas on the subject, which can be found in two of her books, Feed Me I’m Yours and Taming of the C.A.N.D.Y. Monster. These timeless classics have been around for a long time, but they’ve been updated and modernized for today’s families. If you’ve got a baby, then Feed Me I’m Yours is where you should begin. It discusses the pros and cons of homemade versus store-bought baby foods, and provides recipes for making your own baby cereals, fruits, vegetables and meats. Don’t be intimidated; it’s much easier than you’d think! The second chapter tackles finger foods for babies from six months to more than a year. Another chapter discusses the challenges of feeding toddlers. Also provided are recipes and tips for preparing snacks, breakfast foods, and seasonal foods, and even planning birthday parties and having fun with kitchen crafts! If your kids are past the baby and toddler stage, I recommend that you get Taming of the C.A.N.D.Y. Monster. The first chapter seems to be written especially for my family: “Tasty Alternatives to Junk Food Snacks”! I can’t wait to try out the Frozen Banana Rockets, Yummie Balls and Jell-O Pizza on my picky eaters! Subsequent chapters cover desserts (like Better-for-You Brownies), disguising vegetables, main courses, school lunches (and we all need help getting out of the peanut-butter-and-jelly rut), and eating on the run. There are even tips for shopping and reading labels so you can choose the most nutritious but delicious options for your family.
Feed Me I’m Yours and Taming of the C.A.N.D.Y. Monster can really help take some of the stress out of feeding your children. Vicki Lansky’s tips and delicious recipes have been time- and parent-tested. I’m really excited about trying some of the wonderful treats in these books with my family. Hopefully, I can convert my little junk food fans into healthy eaters! Please check out Vicki’s books and other resources for parents on her website at www.practicalparenting.com.