Remember the story of Hansel and Gretel? How did the witch attract them? It sure wasn’t a cottage made of broccoli and carrots, was it? No, it was candy, chocolate and gingerbread. Do you think they left a trail of whole wheat breadcrumbs markers to find their way back home? Probably not.
I bet if you looked in many children’s story books you’d find lots of references to food. Do you think it would be about vegetables? Well maybe if you were reading about Peter Rabbit. But more likely it would be references to cake, ice cream and candy – happy times seem to go with fat and sugar.
Saturday morning television is a showcase for the latest sugar coated cereals, treats and fast food. How can parents who want to encourage better eating habits compete with show business?
We need to start by talking about food, and thinking about the influence the media has on our children’s eating habits and preferences and our own weaknesses. As parents, we are still the keeper of the cupboard and what we store in there says a lot about what we expect and what we consider acceptable eating behaviour.
Most nutritionists agree that children and adults benefit from a balanced common sense approach to eating. There is nothing wrong with eating a cookie. There is a problem with eating a bag of cookies. So here is some simple, unsolicited advice from the Old Lunch Lady
- It’s Ok to keep treats in the house
- Be clear on what a portion size is
- Be clear about how many treats will be available for the week
- When the cupboard is bare, don’t despair, the message is there, someone ate more than his or her fair share.
- Be strong. There will be whining!
— Ruthie Burd, Lunch Lady Founder & CEO