Children and Food

The first food that almost all children crave is their mother's milk. They latch on to the breast and only let go to cry and to sleep. It's the mother's job to wean them and introduce other foods such as regular milk, cereal, solids and then a myriad of other things that will assist in growth and development.

It's frightening to watch newscasts of children suffering from starvation in regions of Ethiopia and other Third World countries, while here in the United States we are throwing away the contents of "Happy Meals" just to collect the toy or game piece offered with it.

There is a definite correlation between children and food. One of the best and most well known is "bribing" children to perform specific tasks. For example, a father will offer a candy bar to his son if he will make his bed and clean up his room. Or, a mother will offer an extra slice of cake if her daughter will eat her dreaded vegetables or wash and dry the dishes. Unfortunately, both of these examples involve using food as a reward, rather than performing the task because it's the right thing to do.

Some of the factors that frequently cause us to think about children and food are the following:

Allergies – such as peanuts, milk, chocolate, etc.

Safety – Halloween "treats," eColi warnings

Education about food – the food "Pyramid," high carbohydrates, calories, food-related diseases

The need to build food associations for our children that are positive and healthful has reached crisis point. Even the government has created an initiative, rebuilding the old food pyramid to help us rearrange our thinking in regard to the definition of food that is "good for you". With the growing issues of disease related to weight gain, it is important now more than ever to focus on creating a diet for children that will protect them, develop their immune system, and give them a healthy relationship with food that they will take with them for the rest of their lives.

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