Picky Eating & Daddy

Your Children Are Watching You

The most important factor in raising a healthy eater is what you eat. Yes, if you want your children to eat whole foods, you must eat them yourself.

Moms often ask, “How do I get my husband on-board with healthy eating?” This seems to be a universal problem; even the First Lady can relate.

I am very pleased that Michelle Obama has brought healthy eating to the forefront with her campaign to end childhood obesity. The only issue I have with the campaign is that it doesn’t go far enough. There are plenty of children and adults where weight isn’t an issue, but they’re eating junk foods just the same. Picky eaters universally love junk foods.

Michelle recently spoke to the National Restaurant Association. She encouraged them to take unhealthy items off their menus and replace them with healthier options.  While this sounds good in theory, the problem isn’t with the restaurants. We live in a free-market society. Menus will change, when people stop ordering unhealthy items. Restaurants need to make a profit. You can be sure, if an item stops selling, it’ll disappear from the menu. It’s not the restaurants fault we order junk foods…it’s ours.

President Obama enjoying a frozen ice
(Ingredients: water, high fructose corn syrup & artificial colors and flavors derived from petroleum)

A L.A. Times columnist wrote a piece about the First Lady’s campaign for healthy eating and  President Obama’s penchant for junk foods. He took a lighthearted look at the President and the food he regularly eats. The piece was accompanied by 13 photos of the President chowing down unhealthy junk foods like chicken wings, pancakes, cheese-steak, hot dogs, waffles, fried chicken, shaved ice, pizza, fries and cheeseburgers. (To see the photos Click Here.)

I must admit the opinion piece made me giggle, because I didn’t realize that others were noticing the same thing…the President ignores his wife’s recommendations for  healthy eating. But, it’s no laughing matter. Malia and Sasha are watching him (from the opinion piece, apparently so are others). What he does is even more important than what he says or what the First Lady’s recommendations may be for the rest of us.

Unfortunately, for Michelle and moms whose husbands are junk food addicts, there isn’t an easy answer. Many times husbands think that they have eaten (fill in the blank) all their lives and they’re okay. The truth is often that they are not okay, but living in denial.

Daddies (and sometimes mommies)  have a tendency to overlook their health issues or think of them as minor. For many young parents, time is on their side. They are still young enough that their junk food habits have not yet caught up with them. For some, they just don’t care, believing the doctor will have a prescription to fix whatever health issue may come down the road. For others, they don’t make the connection with their health issues and the food they eat.

There is no magic pill. Eating junk foods is feeding an unhealthy habit. Unhealthy habits or addictions can be junk food or a smoking habit, drinking, sugar addiction, or drug habit. The first step is to realize you have a habit and it’s unhealthy. The second is to want to change. You cannot make your spouse change, but you can make it easy for him/her to change by refusing to purchase junk foods yourself and having healthy options in your home. (There’s not much hope for Michelle, her husband eats out all the time. I don’t think she cooks much either.)

To raise a healthy eater, you must be one…your children are watching what you eat.

One thought on “Picky Eating & Daddy

  1. Heather Hill says:

    I love this article and think it is very relevant to teaching your child great eating habits.
    I just wanted to make your readers aware of sever picky eating in kids. I am a mom of 3 and I am a severe picky eater.
    My daughter is just like me and eats like me, so I was beginning to wonder about nature vs nurture, but my two sons eat like normal kids.
    There is so much medical research going on now stating that there may be a genetic link to picky eating. This should be handled much differently than just following what Mom eats!
    Thanks for your input on this!

    There is no “picky eater” gene. If I remember this study, it was very flawed. The study was extremely limited, using twins and did NOT evaluate the input of the parents.

    What we learn to eat is mostly cultural. If you have a picky parent, you are more likely to be a picky eater yourself. What we experience as toddlers can stay with us for a lifetime, unless there is a willingness to change or an intervention. Now, kids with sensory issues (like with autism, sensory integration disorder, and super tasters) have other problems to overcome, but they can be taught to enjoy whole foods. It most likely will take more time and patience.

    Regardless, healthy eating is a learned behavior. Obviously, it’s easier to learn to enjoy whole foods as a child. Learning to like whole foods as an adult takes determination. The same Baby Bite steps work for any age, because the steps include all the senses. Of course, you don’t have much control over what a teen will eat and as an adult, you need to be your own parent…changing the talk in your head.
    A big nonna hug, Joann Bruso

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