Connecting Your Children with Food – Part 2

There is a bumper sticker that says: “Insanity is hereditary, you get it from your kids.” It’s true. Who knew you were going to have to be a short order cook/ magician just to get kids to try something besides French fries? But don’t despair. There is a secret room where all your efforts get stored up, and eventually a human being that knows how to use utensils will walk out of that room and say: “Here, let me do the dishes!” or not, but at least you will know you gave it your best shot. Meanwhile, don’t give up.  Here are a couple more thoughts that might help.

Have regular meals.

It does sound dull. Just the word “regular” conjures up something like a bowl of stewed prunes… But regular doesn’t have to be boring.  Lets go with the definition that says: “Happening at times that are equally separated,” Lots of room to be creative there. So onward!

There are a variety of opinions about meals vs. grazing. To date most of the evidence suggests that regular meals make a big difference. This may sound like a kitchen prison sentence, but don’t let that trip you up.

You can suit meals to your lifestyle. Give yourself permission to make ahead, and/or really simple, the same with snacks if you choose to make them part of the routine.

Sometimes it’s impossible to get something together and give it the kind of thoughtful attention that say… Angelina Jolie’s Maid might, but you’re not “Laura Croft -Tomb Raider.” All you have to do is keep putting one food in front of the other. I have a friend who plans out an entire month of meals ahead of time. I’m thinking of asking her to move in.

Eat with your child.

If this conjures up images of goo on a high chair tray, all I can say is, “This too shall pass.” Meanwhile, if you can, try to enjoy food with him or her, or in the case of the high chair goo, maybe – beside him/her.

Imagine yourself in a chalet, on a flower covered mountainside as you hold out a plate with the soufflé that will shortly be ground into the carpet or pitched to the dog. Why the Chalet? Because it’s somewhere else, but also because the definition of an expert is someone that lives at least a hundred miles away and I’m pretty sure France is at least that far. I have been told that “The French,” famous for loving food, also love to talk about food. A good portion of the French mealtime is spent talking about and appreciating the food they are eating. In the US we would call this “mindful eating.” During the meal children are made aware of tastes, ingredients, colors and textures, where the food came from and how it affects them physically. (Important in developing an understanding of satiation, and portion control.) It must work since all French children are thin and healthy. OK I’m making that up, but they do have a considerably better average than we do when it comes to health and eating habits.

A nice presentation doesn’t have to be fancy, or take three hours. If it’s a baked apple on a plate with a daub of cream and cinnamon, chat it up. Kids take their cues from you. If you are attentive and appreciative, they will be too. Bonjour!

The very best ideas are always out there waiting to be discovered, so please feel free to share your ideas and experiences, thoughts or questions.

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