They all pulled out their lunches. Jared had the usual—a homemade peanut butter and jelly sandwich, a bag of chips, and a Little Debbie.
“What is that!” a girl practically yelled as she pointed at his lunch. “Don't you know that desserts aren't good for you? They make you fat!" At this point, I intervened and Jared was saved any more humiliation.
How do you teach your child something you believe in strongly without also teaching him or her to look down on others? That's a question that faces all of us, whether you only eat organic food or not.
All parents want the best for their children. And so we're all careful to feed our children with great care. As you teach your child to eat well, here are a few lessons to teach alongside those food lessons.
1. Our diet is a family decision
It's important for your child to know that your diet is a family decision.
Look for natural times to teach this lesson to your preschooler. For instance, when your child asks, "Why do I have to eat this?" (which kids always ask, organic or not), say something like, "Our family has decided that this is the best way to take care of our bodies."
Another natural teaching point will inevitably occur whenever your family interacts with another. On your way home from a birthday party or a family get together, take a few moments to explain why your family eats the way it does and why it's okay if others eat differently.
2. Kindness is more important than diet
It's easy to be so passionate about something that it starts to define us. In your fervor for organic food or gluten-free food (even if it's a medical necessity), don't let food choice be the main message your child hears from you.
Kindness is more important than food. If your passion for food looks greater than your passion for kindness, your preschooler will take on that value system.
3. Our bodies are tools for love
If you're consistent in teaching your children to care for their bodies by eating well, they can come to understand that—even as a preschooler.
The more important question though is, “What should I use my body for?” It's no use taking care of your body without an answer to this question.
"Why do I have to eat this?" shouldn't just be answered with, "It will help you care for your body" but with, "It will help you care for your body so you can care for other people."
In all our passion for healthy food, let's let love guide the way we move with the energy that food gives us.