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Food Rules

Healthy issue top of mind for many parents.

At the children's annual physicals, their doctor was aghast that the children had approximately three pops a week, 20 gatorade a week, and ate out two or three times a week. He lectured all of them on removing excess sugar from their diets. He nixed the gatorade. He was appalled at the pop. He told us to stop eating out.

So I didn't feel completely inadequate, he did celebrate the eggs, yogurt and fruit in the morning. He applauded the protein, carbohydrate, vegis and fruit for dinner. He accepted Lunch Lady as an acceptable alternative for lunch. And he was impressed with the children's activity level, both on and off the ice. But his words resonated with me and the kids.

Two weeks later I paid for a consultation with a children's nutritionist. We spent an hour and a half going through a typical week of kids' food then a review of her strong recommendations to improve the children's diet. Her recommendations follow:

1. Always eat breakfast and dinner at the table with no distractions, electronics or homework, and never in front of the TV;

2. Don't plate the children's food for them. Put everything in the middle of the table and let the children choose what they want to eat.

3. Encourage the kids to try new things but don't force them to eat anything and don't force them to finish what is on their plate.

4. Gradually eliminate sugar cereals, sugar within reach of children and clear out the pantry of any suckers, sugar candy or added sugar.

5. Prepare and offer more natural and homemade foods. Instead of bagels with cream cheese at Tim Hortons, replace them with homemade banana bread or chocolate zucchini muffins. Make homemade pancakes with oatmeal instead of an instant mix. Bake vegis in the oven with olive oil until they are crispy and hopefully more tasty for kids. Encourage the children to help make recipes and to be involved in the serving of food.

The advice and its implementation was money well spent. Thus far all suggestions are working out well and everyone in the household is thinking more about eating healthy than they were before.

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