Getting children to eat healthy food begins at a very early age. Healthy foods should appear in their bowls the very first day solid foods are introduced. For clarification purposes healthy foods are organic fruits and vegetables. Meats and dairy products, other than mother’s milk, come later.
The introduction to solid foods sets the stage for the future eating habits of children. Hence, it is crucial not to introduce toddlers to process sugar, processed foods and preservatives of any kind. Individual servings of single items fruits or vegetable cooked and or crushed within the kitchen come highly recommended.
When parents serve healthy foods at a very early age there will be very little opposition to fruits and vegetable at the table, whether at home or in school. Healthy foods given to children when they are older carries the burden of reprogramming their eating palette. This results in relationship conflict as parents force children to eat nutritious foods.
This struggle eventually manifests in the school cafeteria as children refuse to eat their vegetables when cafeteria monitors instruct them to. Many school children work away from the cafeteria table without eating their fruits or vegetables. They do not have a taste for their vegetables or fruits most students crave chips, cookies and ice cream and those items are the first to be eaten at cafeteria tables.
Even if children love vegetables it does not guarantee that they will eat them in schools. There will be a time when the academic pressures and social demands within the school make students emotional eaters which means they are not paying attention to what is good for them but what makes them relieve their distress. Natural they will reach for the cookie, cake or candy when on tray or in lunch boxes and later if time and their interest allow they will eat their fruits and vegetables.
The best way to combat inappropriate selection of cafeteria food among children begins with letting children bring lunch to school. Taking lunch to school gives parents more control over what their children eat. The brown bag lunch can consist of organic fruits and vegetables and very little sugar or salt resulting in better eating habits. However, packing a lunch is not always possible, consequently parents look to the school to offer healthy food choices. But with no one there to reinforce eating of the “peas” healthy consumption gets down graded to emotional gratification. Read the discussion on school lunch to learn how best to get children to eat healthy.