Clean Eating: Start when they are young…

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by: nokhoog_buchachon

by: nokhoog_buchachon

The other day while grocery shopping, I ran into a mama named Kimberly.  She was a tiny, sweet, soft spoken mama with an adorable little girl.  We talked about some crunchy stuff and something she said to me I wanted to share.  Now this may seem totally obvious to most of us, but there are some that don’t “get it”.

Start when they are young.  The first few years of your child’s are THE most important.  Your child is like a little sponge and they soak in everything you teach them from the ways your behave to the foods you eat.  Kimberly asked me if I made homemade baby food for my youngest.  I kind of giggled and told her that I did for my first son, but, “ain’t nobody got time for that with 5 kids.”  At this point, my 1 year old eats what I eat, which is pretty good stuff for the most part.

She then told me something that is a little upsetting and it bothers me that people think this is an OK response or reaction to ANY mom, be it a first time mom or a 5 kid “pro” like myself.  She said that people think she’s crazy for making baby food with only the best organic foods.  Why is this crazy?  Is it strange that a mom would want the best for her child?  Start when they are young.  If your child has healthy foods from the start, those will be what they crave.  Is it weird that a mom would choose not to feed her baby jarred food?  Not any more weird than the mom feeding her baby jarred food.  We all do what we think is best for our baby.  No one is any better, crunchy or not.  We should never make someone feel negative when they are genuinely doing what they think is the very best for their child!!  

My parents LOVE to give my kids sugar.  This occasionally drives me nuts.  My kids get super hyped up and then have bad attitudes.  Am I crazy because I want to limit my child’s sugar or artificial dye intake?  Am I overbearing, paranoid or just plain NO FUN for denying my children candy EVERY day?  No way!  My kids love fruit, veggies, yogurt, REAL FOOD.  If you start when they are young, it won’t be a fight to eat those veggies.  You won’t have to bribe your kids with sweets to clean their plate.  They will ask for SECONDS or even THIRDS of that steamed broccoli.  I promise you, this happens.  They will open the fridge and have a yogurt or a cheese stick as a snack instead of asking for a pop-tart or a cookie.

This idea of starting when they are young is not about being “better” than anyone.  It’s not crazy.  It’s not just something new moms do.  It’s about creating a healthy lifestyle from the start.  If you raise a clean eater, you won’t have (as many) of those fights over food or have to make special meals for the picky eater who will ONLY eat ramen noodles or chicken nuggets.  Of course, kids have phases and will test your patience sometimes, but I’d rather have a kid that would only eat broccoli for a month than a kid who would only eat cheeseburgers from a fast food chain for a month.  You’re not ruining their life or destroying their childhood if you don’t let them eat the entire stock of Halloween candy or their whole first birthday cake.  There are great alternatives and substitutions out there that are JUST as good, if not better!  Your healthy child will be happier in the long run if you can instill these good eating habits, just like good behavior from the beginning.