Five Out of Six Ain’t Bad

September 23, 2008

By Mark Bishop, Deputy Director

Just the other night my wife and I were discussing how to start engaging our two-year-old son in more interactive activities – and of course cooking is high on our list. I can’t wait to get Henry’s help making homemade pizza, rolling pretzel dough, or tearing up lettuce for a salad. And it’s good to know that I’m mostly on track according to the New York Times’ 6 Food Mistakes that Parents Make.  I scored a five out of six if you are keeping score. Not too bad.

It’s an interesting read because it speaks to things that parents deal with everyday – what to buy, how to encourage healthy snacking, how our own behaviors affect their perception.

Here are my takeaways:

  1. Kids are smart. They watch every move we make so as a parent I have a responsibility to model healthy food behaviors. This includes how to eat all foods in moderation. If they see us sneaking junk food, they’ll know that the hidden cupcakes and Doritos are the “forbidden fruit.”
  2. Buy healthy food. If you have healthy food in your house, you’ll choose healthy snacks. If you bring junk into your house, you’ll either choose junk, or you’ll teach your kids that junk is the “special food” (see point one).
  3. Don’t stress out. We have all probably read so much advice and so much of it is conflicting. Just be smart, do the best you can.
  4. We need to stop bribing Henry to drink his milk. Yeah, that’s the one I failed. We’ll have to think through some other strategies. Or maybe I need to think more about point three.