At my in-laws for dinner this past weekend, my mother-in-law was surprised that our toddlers didn’t need to have anything special made for them – that they would just eat from the regular Sunday meal. This sparked a fair amount of dinner conversation about how other kids in the family will only eat macaroni and cheese, pizza, hot dogs, and other classic kid favorites.
While I listened to this conversation, I was mentally giving myself a pat on the back. I like to think that my husband and I are the ones who made our girls into “good eaters.” Not that we were on any big crusade, but mostly, we didn’t want to be short order cooks. As the Baby Whisperer often says in her books, “start out as you intend to go.” We envisioned preparing one meal and having our children eat with us.
Now that our oldest is halfway through her “terrible twos,” from time to time she likes to see if she can demand her way to eating only yogurt and oatmeal bars. Sometimes she chooses not to eat at all if she can’t get what she wants and that’s ok. A missed meal here or there is not going to harm our thriving girl and in the long run, we are all better served by teaching her that every whim cannot be indulged.
Our kids eat the same food as us, focusing on getting lots of fruits and veggies, little to no sweets, and only organic milk and filtered water for a drink. Truth be told, they actually eat much healthier than my husband and I do (after the kids go to bed, TV popcorn and late night sweets are on the scene). We are far from perfect, but we try to feed them healthy fare, and on most days we do pretty well. We allow indulgences at special occasions – parties, get togethers, play dates, and the holidays – both for our children’s sake and for the delight of their grandparents.
Each family sets their own dietary priorities according to their views. When it comes to what your kids eat, what is most important to you? And how do you encourage it? Do tell in the comments below.
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