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ON BEING A PARENT OR THE ART OF TREADING ON EGGS



We all wish to see how children grow in full health,  at the maximum of their capacity both physically and psychologically. At the same time, we all wish to see them grow into happy, resilient and successful individuals.

Food is very much at the heart of such an harmonious upbringing. As Hippocrate famously said: Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.

To grow and become a true omnivore, children must learn to eat everything. It is therefore up to their parents to drive this learning process. They must decide on the best approach that would suit their own family routine and heritage. They must somewhat adapt to the needs and preferences of their children. They must anticipate and follow the many milestone that every child goes through in their development: from conception to teenage years.  That sounds daunting, isn't it? Rest assured: with a bit of knowledge, a lot of common sense and a great dose of love for good, honest, natural food, it is a lot more intuitive than it seems.

The babies of Humans have this singularity to be born without being completely finished. If left on their own in the first few months of their life, they would not be able to survive. During this initial period that covers 1 second to 24 months, their parents or carers must give them quality food to help them finish their initial growth until they become more independent.  From two years of age and all the way to teenage years, starts the long and mine-filled route to total independence. And it may sometimes very much feel like a mine-filled... I mean for us parents, who more often than not start practicing the difficult art of treading on eggs while turning into the best warfare strategist around! 

During that period, children tend to appreciate food that they know. They don't eat something because it is good for them but because they like it. And this is why they often tend to prefer sweet flavours and filling sensations. After all, when you see the energy a toddler or young child spend going from A to B via running to Y, T and U, jumping on Z, P and V, hopping on M, N and I, and scooting to X, O and L, no wonder they will not favour steamed broccoli or carrots over carb rich Mac&Cheese. In all honesty, who would after such strenuous exercise? Unless one wants to lose weight, fast.  
Their instinct will drive them towards quick energy, high sweet content, fully satiating food. Our job is to make sure that they get just that. But in the best form possible, i.e. with all the nutrients and vitamins that are needed for their optimal development. Because otherwise it would be just fat and sugar, which si not the best of start in life. We all know it for having done it many a time and it is no different for children: it is thoroughly satisfying on the moment, giving you a spike of energy like never before. But very quickly you go back to feeling sluggish and tired, needing another "quick" fix to keep going.

Every human being has the capacity to like every food but for this he/she must be taught through opening the gates of their 5 senses: taste, sight, smell, touch and sound. 
To eat must always remain a pleasure and we must invite our little ones to appreciate both simple dishes and complex flavours. This relationship with food starts in the womb and continues throughout our entire life. The very first steps of breastfeeding or bottle-feeding followed by the ever so important phase of weaning or "diversification" make up its very foundation.  We learn how to eat in the same way as we learn everything else. And like for everything we learn, we must never give up.  I bet you would not give up on your child learning how to read or write or count... so why do so in learning how to eat! It is the very foundation of their health, present and future.




Created On  8 Nov 2017 10:00  -  Permalink

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