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This week guest blogger Suzanne Quint discusses parenting books, and incorporating your culture into teaching children healthy eating habits.
I am a mom of 5 year old twins whom I am proud to count as good (but of course not always great) eaters. Being of Greek descent (read: food is everything), it was really important to me that my kids be good eaters. I couldn’t imagine going through life with them with a rotation of chicken fingers and hot dogs. So, upon the recommendation of my friend Kate, I followed Ellyn Satter’s Child of Mine book pretty religiously. It was in fact, the only child development book, on any subject, I read. I cannot recommend this book enough as a foundation and constant reinforcer for those formative early years. Satter’s premise, in a nutshell, is that as parents we are in charge of what the kids eat and when – and that the kids are in charge of how much they eat. She also incorporates the idea of having (some!) choice for your kids – so broccoli and cauliflower at the table, for example, and empower them to pick which they want. As with most things in parenting, the key was consistency and perseverance, which at times was doubly hard with twins. I’ll say that while we thought early on that my son was a picky eater and my daughter had the Greek-eating gene, he has really turned it around. In hindsight, he was more stubborn (and still likes to make a big fuss here and there) but our perseverance on always presenting him with real food choices has paid off. They don’t like everything but we don’t cater to them at mealtime either. Some things they enjoy– spanakopita (or “spinach triangles” as we call them)– Trader Joe’s sells delicious and affordable one’s and FreshDirect has them too. And if we order pizza, I balance this meal with telling them it has to have broccoli or spinach on it (their choice).