Are you worried about how to cultivate the habit of organic food among your children? Stop sweating. Start being creative.
Even Popeye ate spinach when he absolutely had to! It is hard to fight with arguments that a kid puts on the same table where a boring plate-full of leafy greens sits untouched.
But hey, that’s the very crack you need there. Your child argues. That means she/he is open to logic and new ideas. So stop forcing anything down their throats and try to make the children embrace healthy food for its own innate virtues rather than compulsions.
First thing, walk the talk. Eat the lecture
Yes, kids are watching us all the time, more than we know of. They may not listen to what we tell them, but they are indeed listening to what we tell ourselves and how we translate that into action. If a kid never sees you eating an organic option over a regular one, forget any chance of converting that kid into a healthy eater.
Do not arm-twist them
Twist your own ways to suit their palates. If a kid loves a burger, so be it. Do not make them eat organic salad at gunpoint. Sneak in some of that organic wonder inside the burger itself. Convert that lettuce into a nice bed for the patty or insert that lovely beet as a mashed material for the patty. Once the taste grows into a kid’s mind, you can encourage more experiments towards organic food routes.
Remember what advertisers never forget even when they are sleeping. Sell to a person’s fears and aspirations if need be. Your child, whether you like it or not, is continually comparing himself or herself with the peers in the classroom or the playground. You cannot wipe away this bitter reality in a jiffy. Instead, play to these aspirations and encourage your child to adopt healthy food choices to grow fast, strong and good. Slowly and step-wise you can also erase others as comparison-points and push your child to be his/her best competition.
Shop with kids
Involve the child in the shopping process. Take him to the organic aisle and ask him to read out some part of the packaging info to help you with the decision-making. When you put away an inorganic food item, educate the child on the reasons that made you drop that option. When you pick something organic, enlighten the child on what pushed you towards this choice.
Do not make eating organic a huge deal. A lot of pressure and spotlight on the right eating can disillusion the child after a point. It is ok to let them eat something inorganic once in a while as long as the food they mostly consume – like juice, dessert or butter – is organic. You can refer to the Dirty-dozen lists that environmental bodies come out with. High-level foods like spinach or apples would need extra care. Low-level or clean food items like cabbage or onions may not require much fussing over.
Truth be told, there is so much going around in a kid’s life that the child is hardly bothered what is going inside the plate. Cultivating slow, attentive and interested eating is a hard shift, but it is worth the while. Unless and until that happens, you have to find ways to put organic food alternatives on the plate in your own imaginative and fresh ideas. After all, you do not want pesticides, organophosphates, toxins, grime, and radiation to come anywhere near your child at such a tender age, don’t you?
Make food fun, balanced, creative, colorful and something to look forward to. If you make it a chore that the child has to endure, there is no way you can teach organic eating habits into a child’s mind.
Watch some cartoons along and try to see the world from a child’s eyes. Once you get the child and that perspective, the chances are that your opinions and suggestions would be well received too.
Tell the child what happens when Popeye eats the right spinach. Show him your arms. And tell him about the cigar as well. Make it fun.