Green Kitchen Stories and back in October of last year they had an insightful post about their approach to providing a healthy diet for their one and a half-year old daughter. They explain that as adults, we make the decisions on what our children eat for the first two years of their life and have the responsibility of instilling healthy eating habits.
I can relate to a lot of what they say and exercised similar care with my own son's diet. The description of their daughter could be used to describe my son too -it certainly makes you wonder about a child's behaviour and the impact their diet might have upon it. I'm sure we've all seen the general hyperactivity in toddlers after a slice of birthday cake for example!
A sentence that stood out for me from their post was, "If someone wants to give Elsa an ice cream, it’s not because she wants it, it’s because they want to give it to her". So true! If you don't give your child chocolate and ice-cream, they won't ask for it or want it. You're not depriving them and can still give them yummy but healthier treats. After all, they have plenty of years to indulge in chocolate and ice-cream if they choose when they are older.
After my son turned two, I became more lenient with what he eats and allowed him the odd biscuit / cookie, cake and chocolate but even now he's 3, I still keep a careful eye on his sugar intake and ensure that those sweet treats are used as a 'treat' and not as a part of his regular daily diet. I avoid giving him any sugary foods before nap time and definitely before bed. If we've been to a birthday party, that can't always be helped!
The same post lists some helpful tips at the end for giving your child a healthy start in life and there's some great advice I think. Two of the tips I would definitely encourage are, 'Be a good role model' and 'Always bring a snack'. A child usually wants to eat what they see their parents eating, so if you eat predominantly healthy food, that definitely helps. Having a healthy snack in your bag for your child means you can always bring something out for them when you're with others who are tucking into something you'd rather your own child doesn't have.
How strict or not were you with your child's diet in their first two years? Do you recognise any effect sugar or other less healthy food has on your child's behaviour / attitude?