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Your kids are watching your bad eating habits

As a ‘healthy’ mom, I certainly have issues with my kids eating habits. My first child, hates eating protein (unless it’s orange chicken) and detests anything green. My second child, loves to eat veggies! Most often, they don’t like to eat dinner. They snack on cheese, yogurt, crackers and fruit throughout the day. They REALLY like my husband’s chocolate protein shake….which makes me nervous because I don’t know if they should be consuming it at their age. But at the same time, they don’t seem to get enough protein!

I make them eat eggs in the morning. At first they didn’t like it, but after I constantly enforced it, they started eating it because it became HABITUAL. That’s my biggest goal for my kids – to make them SO used to eating healthy foods that eating anything unhealthy is odd for them…unnatural…to the point that they don’t really like it!

For example, my husband doesn’t really eat a lot of candy. He never ate a lot of it when he was younger. I, on the other hand, grew up on skittles and snickers, so it’s tough for me to avoid them because I’m so USED to consuming it.

While I know it’s important to feed your kids – I definitely don’t force them to eat at night. Personally, I don’t think you should eat that much at night anyways. I also know that they know when to eat. They will eat when they’re hungry and stop when they’re full. Their eating isn’t affected by emotions or social environments yet. Kids should know when to eat!

I also try to make smoothies (and will try to do it once a day) that includes spinach so they can’t see it! (especially the eldest)

With that said, the below article talks about being a good role model for your kids. THEY ARE WATCHING YOU. So make it a point to be a conscious eater. I am trying to be better because I am absolutely NOT perfect. But we can all try to be more perfect, they will appreciate that one day.

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Eat Healthily — Your Kids Are Watching

ScienceDaily (May 30, 2012) — If lower-income mothers want kids with healthy diets, it’s best to adopt healthy eating habits themselves and encourage their children to eat good foods rather than use force, rewards or punishments, says a Michigan State University study.

The study, which appears in a recent issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, is one of a few that focuses on the eating habits of low-income families. The results demonstrate that the mothers who led by example and persuaded, rather than ordered, their kids to eat their vegetables had kids with healthier diets, said Sharon Hoerr, MSU professor of food science and human nutrition.

“Mothers should stop forcing or restricting their kids’ eating,” she said. “They’d be better off providing a healthy food environment, adopting balanced eating habits themselves and covertly controlling their children’s diet quality by not bringing less healthy foods into the house.”

Overtly restricting certain foods from a child when others are eating them at mealtimes can lead to unhealthy eating, she added.

Additional parental tips include maintaining regular meal and snack times, offering smaller portions of healthy foods and allowing the children to decide how much they will eat. And what about kids who’d rather play with their food or consume only junk food?

“With picky eaters, it’s best to coax and encourage them to eat rather than yell at them,” Hoerr said. “Other ways to get them interested in having a balanced diet is to take them to the grocery store or garden, and help them select new foods to taste as well as allow them to help cook at home.”

In continuing this research, Hoerr hopes to develop home-based and interactive educational materials for parents who want to encourage healthful eating.

Additional MSU researchers contributing to this study include Megumi Murashima, doctoral student, and Stan Kaplowitz, sociologist. Part of Hoerr’s research is funded by MSU’s AgBioResearch.

My two-year-old, Nicholas, loves vegetables!

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