Healthy eating for children should be treated as a top priority by all parents because as a parent we all have a responsibility to give our children the best possible start in life. Feeding them a healthy diet when young helps them to grow into fit adults who suffer from fewer ailments and can look forward to longevity. Is there any parent who doesn’t wish this for their children?

The obvious question now is what constitutes and good diet for children? I will give a link to a very good website at the end of this article that will deal with all the technical aspects of a healthy diet. For now, except that the food pyramid that was instigated by the US Department of Agriculture is a very good starting point.

I know that everybody has a problem in persuading children to eat what is healthy rather than what is fun; the secret is to make healthy food fun too. For instance, I recently watched a British made TV program that subjected an obese family to eight weeks under the control of a dietician. Initially, the children claimed that they would only eat burgers meaning McDonald’s. The dietician made 50 lentil burgers for the cost of buying three Big Macs and presented three lentil burgers to the three children for dinner, freezing the remaining 47 for use later. The only thing she told them was that she insisted that burger buns be replaced with whole-grain rolls. Result: The children ate the lentil burgers without comment. Not only did they eat them they asked for more. OK, more can be bad too but the point is what they really wanted to eat was something that resembled a Big Mac, what it tasted like wasn’t that important.

Now here is the BIG point: When the dietician told the mother what she was about to do to encourage her children to eat healthy foods the mother’s response was. You have no chance, my children will insist upon eating McDonald’s. I think this is a case of a mother who thought she was being kind to her children by giving them what they wanted; so much so that she actually started believing it herself.

The family spent 80 pounds sterling each week on take-home food and their grocery bill was 140 pounds sterling each week. When the healthy diet was started the weekly grocery bill dropped to 85 pounds sterling each week and zero on take-out food. A total weekly saving of 135 pounds sterling each week (That equates to around US$240 each week.) just by cutting out unhealthy convenience foods.

At the end of eight weeks, the mother had lost 21 pounds, the father 18 pounds, and each child 14 pounds. For the first time in their young lives, the children were playing team sports at school and with friends after school.

We are what we eat and healthy eating for children is the greatest gift you can give to your offspring.

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