Wow, I just found out I have some work to do. The Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity states that on average, American children, depending on the age, see between 4,500 and 6,000 food commercials a year! Most of these commercials are for sugary, salty, processed foods. Healthy fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, the things I want my kid to eat, don’t even get a fraction of the screen time. I don’t watch television, but I know deciding to limit screen time at home only helps so much when it comes to promoting the kinds of things I want Elias to eat. I can’t hold him hostage at home. He’ll be bombarded by loud marketing elsewhere from food marketers desperate for us to buy their product. The industry is currently spending $1.6 billion dollars a year trying to convince children to eat their garbage. I better start making some moves now if I’m going to have any chance of competing with that. Here are some of my ideas for bringing veggies into my kid’s world now and in the future:
Along with stuffed animals include some stuffed vegetable and fruit toys in play.
Plant a garden. Even without yard space you can use containers to plant vegetables. Radishes grow quickly so they are a great one to start with.
Present vegetables in a fun creative way on the dinner plate. Make a vegetable bouquet with broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and bell peppers. Make a smiley face with vegetables on a homemade pizza. Use peanut butter, raisins and celery for an ants on a log snack.
Make the plate colorful. Kids gravitate toward color and the more the better. Try beets, red peppers, and yams.
Visit summer farmer’s markets.
What ideas do you have to add to the list? I need all the help I can get when it comes to helping Elias to eat healthy.
Elias at seven and a half months is eating solid foods. He has been for several weeks and while I was in the kitchen washing, peeling, and pureeing veggies for him the other night I started to think about my own diet over the last year and a half. I have been re-inspired to stop using breastfeeding as an excuse to eat a little more and stay a little heavier and move back toward the eating habits that serve my health. Traditionally I have eaten a fairly diverse array of fruits, veggies, legumes, whole grains and healthy fats but when morning sickness/all day sickness set in during pregnancy my diet went to hell in a hand basket and I can’t say that I’ve been super proactive in getting my old habits back. During my first trimester all I could stomach was frozen pizza and thankfully I’ve at least given that up, but I have used breastfeeding as an excuse for far too many months to eat cake and lots of it! I mean don’t breastfeeding women need extra calories to produce all that milk? A breastfeeding mamma and a linebacker are similar in the sense that both need extra calories and lots of them. Cake calories though are mostly empty in that they supply very little solid nutrition to either me or my growing baby. I’ve known this and yet I’ve continued to splurge.
In looking down at the orange flesh of a sweet potato about to be fed to my baby I got to thinking that this is how my entire family should be eating. We should all be partaking in lots of whole unprocessed, salt-free, sugar-free foods just like Elias and just like that the switch flipped and the cake was purged from my life. Some of the things both myself and bebe are enjoying this week include a savory lentil stew made with creamy coconut milk, a beet and apple puree, and an herbed rice stuffed butternut squash. I am eating lots of legumes, nuts and seeds as an add on to what Eli can eat as a seven month old, but we’re both enjoying our new menu immensely. I have hardly missed the cake.
How about you? Has it been a challenge to eat healthily as a new working mom? What have you done to inspire yourself and your family to eat well?