It is hard enough to get adults to eat enough fruits and vegetables, especially high-quality, raw ones. But anyone with a child knows that the task is much more challenging. Many parents worry about their toddlers who seem to eat very little. When they do eat, the foods of choice are not usually naturally colorful, fresh produce in large variety. And getting a school-aged child or teenager who is always on the go (and pressured by peers and the giant food marketing industry) to eat well seems like a very uphill battle. None-the-less, the value of fresh, raw fruits and vegetables and other naturally raw, nutritional foods are vital for not only the body, but for those growing minds and spirits too.
Here are a few basic steps to begin the transition:
1. Transition Slowly. Slowly remove the more toxic & processed foods from their diet;
2. Replace processed foods with organic fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds;
3. Put healthy snack trays out in an accessible place for your child. Some items might include: raw nuts, raisins, broccoli trees, carrot sticks, dried fruit, sliced fruit (these can't stay out too long, however without oxidizing).
4. Be a good example yourself. All the pushing, coaxing, and words in the world won’t come close to your own action of eating healthier. One of the best steps is to be a good role model yourself.
For example, I never asked my 3-year-old to eat Kale before. She saw me munching on these big, raw, green leaves for many weeks. After a long morning of play, I was munching on one and had yet to give her a snack. She said, "Mommy, I want that!" I gave her the rest of my kale (two-thirds remaining) and she ate the entire thing! Ever since then, she likes kale. Strawberries on the other hand, I've asked her 100 times if she wants them... a big NO. We all have our tastes, but I think if we allow kids to be curious about food and give them a chance to approach it before pushing it on them, they just may be more willing to try it.
5. Supplement their diet with a high quality, whole food supplement that they will actually eat. It is best to avoid synthetic supplements.
The Vegan Child: If your child is on a vegan diet, make sure you are giving him/her a good source of B12. Dr. Gabriel Cousens' has recently said this regarding vegan and raw food diets:
"Consistent research over the last decade has shown that vegans and live food people of all ages and sexes have a much higher risk of becoming B-12 deficient. This does not mean that everyone becomes B-12 deficient. This deficiency is particularly true with newborn babies, especially babies of vegan live-food nursing mothers who are not using B-12 supplementation." Read More...