Every morning for seven years, Jeremy Meyers would pack what she called "nutritious, wholesome" lunch for her child but the first grader never ate her food. She would pick at the limp gray beans and mashed potatoes screw her nose and casually toss the lunch in a nearby bin. The mother never suspected what was happening and even the school janitor never complained as he was used to clearing huge, industrial-sized garbage bags, overflowing to the brim, every day. Teachers also knew how kids played "school-slop sculpture contests" with their packed lunches, conducting experiments on the effects of mustard, catsup, and relish on burger flights, instead of eating them! The problem is that very few adults know how to get kids to eat their greens. Just providing food children should eat does not imply that they would eat it. In my experience, when children find it difficult to identify the food ingredients on their plate, they often tend to push around the pieces rather than eat it.
Food should in effect never look like "welfare food," least of it taste every bit like one, even if it is extremely good for their health. Therefore, my advice to mothers often is be flexible. If you ant your child to consume more carrots, they will not be interested, unless, you also make the carrots look appetizing (Perhaps cover it in chocolate sauce, or fresh cream and carve it in the shape of an ice cream cone!). Here are a few picture ideas for inspiration. Try it. In addition, give other healthy options with carrots. How about, green beans woven into a lattice pattern with a hint of vinegar and salt? Alternatively, get them to choose from a selection of fresh fruit and vegetables, taking care at every meal to describe their nutritional value as succinctly as possible through "cooked up" fables and stories just to get them interested. It would call for some time and effort, but it could be well worth a try! Very few parents may know this but parents can cut the risk of their children developing asthma and allergies just by ensuring that they eat plenty of fruit, vegetables, and oily fish.
This is revealed in a new research conducted by the University of Crete in Greece that discovered that only 13% of children who ate a lot of vegetables developed allergies compared to 22% among those with low intake. And kids who consumed less than 60 mg of fish a day were nearly twice as likely to develop asthma as those who ate more! In the West at least, there have been attempts at making good, healthy 'fun food' available commercially which makes parents job that much easier. I read a report that in Glasgow, Scotland, chocolate-flavored carrots are a huge rage with children and help fight against cancer, as well! Branded Wacky Veg retailed by food giant Iceland and were dreamed up by Professor Gordon McVie, director general of the Cancer Research Campaign. These days, Wacky Veg are commercially available along with pizza-flavoured sweet corn, cheese, and onion-flavored cauliflower and baked bean-flavored peas. And why not? If you can get children hooked to tomato and mint flavored crisps that are just potatoes, why not try the same trick with the more nourishing greens? And haven't chocolate and honey-flavored cereals been around for donkey's years?
Experts say we should have at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day to limit the risk of cancer but a report on children's eating habits in the UK found they hit the target just once a year - on Christmas Day! Often there are very simple remedies for treating common allergies in children, we just don't try them as often as we reach for the bottle of pills to fix a common cold! For instance, milk allergies can easily be treated simply by developing a liking for soya milk, which is anyways a far superior substitute to cattle milk. Hay fever can likewise as easily be treated with a shot of honey and sound sleep as with antihistamines tablets, nose sprays, and liquid purchased from a chemist shop. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has a great web site at MyPyramid.gov that gives an excellent low down at the revised food pyramid.
Here, dietitians explain how fruit and vegetable requirements should be tailored to the age, gender, and degree of physical activity undertaken by each child. For instance, it is recommended that a three-year-old should consume at least one cup of vegetables and one cup of fruit each day. A 10-year-old girl must have two cups of veggies and 1 1/2 cups of fruit, while a 16-year-old boy requires at least three cups of vegetables and two cups of fruit per day to maintain good health. Therefore, what are you waiting for! Just get up from that couch to rustle up a crunchy fruit salad for your starving child. You'll benefit from moving muscle in pottering around the kitchen, while the child will benefit from an extra handful of veggies!
Dr Kevin Lau DC is the founder of Health In Your Hands, a series of tools for Scoliosis prevention and treatment. The set includes his book Your Plan for Natural Scoliosis Prevention and Treatment, a companion Scoliosis Exercises for Prevention and Correction DVD and the innovative new iPhone application ScolioTrack.
Dr Kevin Lau D.C. is a graduate in Doctor of Chiropractic from RMIT University in Melbourne Australia and Masters in Holistic Nutrition from Clayton College of Natural Health in USA.
In 2006 I was awarded the "Best Health-care Provider Awards" by the largest Newspaper publication in Singapore on October 18 2006 as well as being interviewed on Primetime Channel News Asia as well as other TV and Radio. For more information on Dr Kevin Lau, watch his interviews or get a free sneak peek of his book, go to: Health In Your Hands website.