Monday, April 5, 2010

Teach your kids to make good choices

I was recently looking through a blog post entitled, "Should Toys be banned from Happy Meals?" I wonder if the writer of this post is related to the person who tried to sue McDonalds for making them overweight. Seriously? I applaud McDonalds for encouraging children to make good choices by showing more commercials showing milk and apples with their happy meals. I am a busy mom, (show me a mom who is not busy). I fall to the rut of just running through a drive through to pick up lunch or dinner all to often. Okay I admit, I am a horrible cook and we probably eat out more than we eat in. Does that mean that my children are inactive and overweight?
No, I am conscious as to what we get when we eat out. Typically the children get some kinds of kids meal and I give them the option of what they get. We talk about healthy choices constantly. And sometimes the kids choose fruit and milk, sometimes fries and milk,and occasionally fries and a Sprite, and even sometimes a salad with no dressing. They know what the best choice is but they also know that sometimes it's okay to choose something less healthy once in awhile. They do not have to be afraid of calories, or fat, or even have to understand what they are. They are in control of what they eat just by education at home.
At home we try to always have more healthy options available and limited junk food, this way they have more opportunity to eat right but have the option to have a special treat when they feel they need it. I keep the junk food higher up out of their direct eyesight, so if they go digging in the fridge or cupboards just because they are bored and hungry they will see the healthy options first. The junk food is not locked away or really hidden, but just out of sight out of mind. By making the junk food less accessible but not forbidden you are taking away the temptation of them wanting something they are not supposed to have.
What happens if you completely shelter your kids from junk food and treat it like something that is not allowed, when the child gets older and more independent and they discover this world of convienience and sugar and empty calories that was kept from them. Instead by teaching the children it is okay in moderation, they learn to make a responsible choice because they want to not because they were forced to.

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