I was recently skiing with my 7-year-old daughter at a resort that is popular with families. At tne end of the day, I went to buy her a hot chocolate and looked around at the snacks the other parents were feeding their kids. I saw cookies, candy bars, french fries, potato chips, Fritos, soda and of course, hot chocolate. It hit me: We, the parents of America, are doing our kids a terrible disservice. We are the reason some 20% of kids in this country--including 10% of toddlers--are overweight. And for those of who have skinny kids, we are the reason they are developing lousy eating habits that will guarantee them an unhealthy adulthood.
Since I'm the medical writer for BusinessWeek, I am inundated with studies about the dangers of poor eating habits in children. I recently did a story with who want to help their kids slim down. I'd like to continue the dialogue in this blog. I know its hard, especially for us working parents, to come up with healthy meals at the end of a long day. It's even harder to convince our kids they should eat them. So I'm asking you, in fact I'm begging you, to share any ideas you have for getting veggies into your kids.
To start the ball rolling, here's mine: Don't give them crap in the first place. I have never bought sugary cereals, and consequently my daughter, Jesse,has never developed a taste for them. Her picks are either Cheerios (plain, not honey nut) and Special K. It seems to be working: She came home from a sleepover the other night complaining that the only cereal they had for breakfast was Froot Loops.
I'm also going to run healthy recipes from time to time, and would love contributions from you. This week's is for a dish I was served at a lunch sponsored by the Mayo Clinic,(the Mayo Clinic web site is a great resource on nutrition, by the way): braised chicken with mushrooms. It's delicious, kid-friendly, and though a little time consuming for a weekday meal, would be a nice weekend dinner. And here's another tip: My daughter is much more eager to eat any dish she helped make. So get your kids into the kitchen. But not for cookies.