One of the concerns when we were looking at daycare for my daughter was what she would eat. Up until she was 1 year old, I was vigilant about what she ingested – it had to, HAD TO be organic. That’s why I signed up for The Organic Box, so I could make her baby food and ensure she wasn’t getting any gross chemicals and GMOs. The reason for my vigilance was because of my concern for my daughter’s future.
With a history of cancer, type 2 diabetes, and other various illnesses from both sides of the family, I want to give my daughter a fighting chance at a life without cancer. I want to do everything I can to prevent a chronic or possible life-threatening illness when she’s older. And I know that starts with developing healthy eating habits from infancy onwards.
Early eating habits without a focus on healthful food have been linked to obesity, and chronic illnesses like type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Also, children’s bodies aren’t able to filter out contaminants and toxins the way adults bodies can – so they are more easily affected by them. Healthy Child, Healthy World has some free downloads with more information including the free ebook: Easy Steps to Eating Healthy & Safe Foods. One statement that really struck me was this:
“Today’s children are predicted to be the first generation to live sicker and die younger than their parents.”
I don’t know about you, but that scares me!
I’ve been less vigilant as my daughter has gotten older – when we eat out, and are on playdates with friends, I can’t afford to be as picky. I feel as though there’s a fine line between being cautious and being a little offensive (after all, other parents feed their kids all kinds of stuff – I don’t want them to feel as though I’m judging them). She has eaten at fast food places and has had food with sugar in it. But I do my best to keep it at a minimum because I really think her future health is worth it. Many children who eat too many sugary foods may end up needing to visit their dentist – like Dentist Brewster – to help them and their parents overcome and combat their child’s tooth decay. This video by Healthy Child, Healthy World says it all (click on the link to see it).
Would you send your child to a daycare that had KFC every week??
Sometimes what’s out there really shocks me. We found a daycare for our daughter that really emphasizes healthy eating so they have an in-house chef and try to use healthy and fresh ingredients. They encourage parents not to bring cake or sugary snacks in for kids’ birthdays. Since this is the only daycare we’ve known, I figured all daycares must be like this.
Then my husband came home and told me about someone taking their child out of a particular daycare because they were informed that every Wednesday, the kids would get KFC for lunch. If parents didn’t want their child to eat KFC, they could provide a bagged lunch. So… if you want your child to eat a healthy lunch, you have to pack a special one for them, and then they are singled out of the group, and are most likely very tempted by the greasy stuff everyone else is eating! Wow. I am just FLABBERGASTED by this. Don’t our children deserve better?
I have tried to be careful about candy because of the diabetes history in our family. I actively tried to keep candy away from her as long as possible. The first time she saw a lollipop, she didn’t know what to do with it – other kids would ask their moms if they could eat them – my kid?
She pretended the lollipop was a hair brush.
That moment was a triumph for me. It gives me hope that my vigilance and perhaps overly snobby green mommyness is teaching her what’s good to eat and what isn’t.
There are fantastic resources out there for learning what your child should and shouldn’t be eating to instill early healthy eating habits. Although it takes a bit of work, my hope is that the more of us that do it, the more healthy happy children we will have to develop into healthy happy adults.
How do you work on encouraging early healthy eating habits?
- A Wake-Up Story video (healthychild.org)
- Instilling Healthy Eating Habits in Children: It’s Never Too Early! (mckinneyonline.com)
- Purge Processed Foods (healthychild.org)
- How to Avoid Food Additives and Preservatives (healthychild.org)
- Make Safe, Healthy Meat Choices for You & Your Kids! (healthychild.org)