And I very carefully selected the word I wanted to use to describe what I mean, and that word is USELESS! As a mom or dad, you want to provide the very best for your kids when it comes to their diet and lifestyle, but sadly, we have looked in the wrong direction for definition of what that is, and global and local statistics are now showing us that we are over-feeding our children while simultaneously under-nourishing them. The result? Predisposing them unnecessarily to diet-related non-communicable diseases; obesity, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, high cholesterol and more.
The solution? Parenting with intention and questions. In this blog, my goal is to help you do both by sharing some of the USELESS practices and mindsets we should drop IMMEDIATELY that are inadvertently setting our kids up for a life of ill health. I’ll also give you Eziaha’s ‘Recommended Alternatives’ (R.A) so you know what to do, then some real good news at the end!
Let’s do this!!!
1. Kids need cereals as part of their daily/weekly diet!
Whoosh! Let me just drop it here that cereals are USELESS! No kidding! Your children can THRIVE on a diet that completely excludes cereal at best, or is very cereal-minimal at worst. Breakfast cereals is a thing only because Manufacturers and Advertisers need to make money off your desire for convenience, and so they make it seem like every family needs to have cereals as part of their monthly shopping list.
Let me quote Healthline here from this article
Breakfast cereals are highly processed, often packed with added sugar and refined carbs. Their packages regularly have misleading health claims.
This extends to most things in a box, like pancake mix, and the likes. Your kids don’t need them!
Eziaha’s R.A: Eliminate all sugary, coated and colored cereals from your kiddo’s life. Give them good ol’ oats and any other whole grain cereal. Then get creative. There are staples that work for breakfast too. Call them ‘Breakfast Carbs’ or ‘Breakfast Protein’ if you like. ‘Breakfast cereal’ is a SCAM!
2. Kids need variety!
I just wanna come over and hug every mom who struggles so hard coming up with stuff to feed her kids because she thinks they cannot REPEAT meals. Listen Sweetheart, you can REPEAT foods and nobody gets bored. You don’t need 7 breakfast options, 12 dinner options and 10 Lunch options to prep weekly. I do something called ‘phased monotony’ and so we can have the same meals for BLD 3 to 4 times a week for a stretch of time. I just make sure that between Brekkie, Lunch and Dinner weekly, we are rocking out a balanced diet that covers ALL the food groups, bar none and junk. Of course, if you can afford the time to do variety and it is not a source of stress to you, please rock it out too. I just wanted to completely debunk the NONSENSE narrative that encourages stressful variety!
Eziaha’s R.A: Sit down with all the food classes, and write as many healthy foods as possible. Then create 2-3 Family Nutrition Plans that works 100% for your family (and if that involves monotony, rock it out) that you can rotate every 2-3 weeks or so
3. An overweight/obese/fat child is OK! Even ‘healthy’.
Many things break my heart, but few quite like seeing a child whose parent needs to urgently seek diet intervention for their health, yet still pumping their kids with junk! And what’s worse is that a lot of people won’t say anything to the parents for fear of being called ‘judgemental’ especially towards a kid (most times, I too won’t say), and so until there is a negative Doctor’s report, that parent does nothing to help their kid(s). In fact, as parent’s income and financial buoyancy increases, somehow we permit more junk into our home and kids belly to reflect our new ‘financial status’.
Listen, there is nothing healthy, cool, rich, classy, or ajebo about FAT! And JUNK! It’s unfair to the kids. Junk may seem short-term convenient, but long-term, there is nothing convenient about spending unnecessary time in and out of the hospital with your kids. Yes, let me be the one to tell you that it is VERY LIKELY that the reason you have so much hospital visits with your kids is because you are not taking charge of what happens in your kitchen, on the dining table, and goes in your kiddo’s mouth!
Eziaha’s R.A; If your kid is overweight and it keeps getting worse because 90% of their diet consist of junk, please seek professional proactive intervention (or reactive if there is already a health challenge). And I don’t mean a Medical Doctor but a certified Child Nutritionist and Coach. Don’t just eliminate all of the crap without a WINNING STRATEGY!
4. Your kid needs JUNK to gain weight!
Ok, so in your case, your kid is underweight and, God help you, you publicly refuse to let your kid eat something. Some usually well-meaning person would promptly advice you to better let the kid eat and gain weight ooo. Well, with all due respect, (as these could be parents, in-laws and elders), that’s wrong counsel. All foods have calories, both healthy and unhealthy. You can take your kids on a weight gain journey on exclusively healthy foods, and by that I mean, no sausages, drinks, Noodles, ‘breakfast cereals’, chocolates and all. Like I said, they are useless, so we can ignore them as we work towards weight gain for our kids. This would require a solid strategy on the part of the parents, which includes food quantity, food quality, food creativity, patience, and consistency of action. In fact, the very first thing it requires is you REJECTING that lie that you need to start pumping them with junk to gain weight. And speaking of ‘underweight’, be sure your kid is truly underweight. That everyone around him is chubby doesn’t mean he needs to gain weight, please.
Eziaha’s R.A: Get Professional help at best (see Point 3’s R.A), or sit with Google and figure it out, because you can. Also, start by ensuring you supervise meal times and are patient with the process. Increase portions and ensure they are finishing their meals. Weigh them weekly or fortnightly too and keep score.
5. Kids need ‘drinks and snacks’ for school!
This one makes me laugh because the lie is obvious! I am absolutely in love with schools that insist on ‘fruits and water days’ only, where any packaged drink or snack is returned with the child at the close of school. My desire is that it moves from a few days to every day. I know of a few schools in Dubai where my friends kids’ attend and they prohibit all nonsense including biscuits, sweets/chocolates, and juice. See a screen shot from one.
It’s the manufacturers of those snacks and drinks, plus their Ad agencies that make you feel like it is ‘holy grail’ to pack ‘juice and biscuit/sausage roll’ into lunch box, making it as important as their homework books. Lie!
I laugh a lot at that nonsense because if I was the only one, these companies would be out of business in no time per their junk offerings and flip to healthier options. Plus if you are a Believer, such foods are a WASTE of God’s resources stewarded to you!
Eziaha’s R.A: Give your kids fruits and water every day for school. And if they close early, a good breakfast eaten at home, and a healthy lunch packed for break time, plus good ol’ water are actually enough. Most kids spend a third or LESS than that time in school so why do we feel a need to pack so much food into those hours?
6. Kids need these ‘foods’.
I put ‘foods’ in inverted commas because honestly, we should not class them as foods, right with real foods like yam, fish, chicken, and plantain. I’m talking ‘sausages, Noodles, ketchup and store-bought fries’ It’s funny cos these are ‘ajebo foods’ in Nigeria especially, and it would seem like the parents are poor, and/or the kids are deprived should these foods be absent from the family diet.
Well, I am neither poor nor are my kids deprived, but my kids don’t eat any of those at home, and even outside, maybe when dining or visiting with family and friends, I keep it away from them, or minimal with them. I already did a post here on sausages, and then another one on store-bought fries so I’ll keep this number short.
Eziaha’s R.A: This would be the same principle as I shared in number 1.
7. Kid’s Birthday Parties and Social Events
I didn’t exactly qualify this number because I need to explain. I had to highlight this because a lot of crap gets served at these social events, and imagine your kids having one or more weekly? This calls for a strategy, please.
Personally, I don’t throw birthday parties for my kids outside of a family affair. This 2023, my boys are 8 and 6 and so far, parties have been family affairs, and when they fall around school season, I don’t do party packs, which typically contain a lot of junk. I give their classmates single gifts, like a book, and that’s it.
Parents, we need to stop this culture of outdoing ourselves in the quality of JUNK that gets packed into these party packs and I did a post on that here .I know it may look like it is just once a year and cannot do much to spoil anything, but trust me, it does.
First, almost every week, on the average, my kids come home with party packs. In November 2023, I started keeping them (previously, I would give them away), so imagine my kids eating them every time they get them. This in addition to other social and family events they attend. See how much we have in well under 2 months.
Listen, that is WAY TOO MUCH! We cannot continue to allow them eat such, and if we are the ones perpetuating, we need to stop and get more creative in what we give as gifts.
Like I said, you need a strategy around how you let your kids both attend, and then indulge in whatever is served at these parties.
My recommendations? Hmm
Eziaha’s R.A: Honestly, this is not something I can share in a blog. However, personally, my kids know to ask me FIRST before consuming anything given to them, and even then, they ALREADY know that they wont be having EVERYTHING offered, so negotiation and elimination is a huge skill they have learned, sometimes even before they ask me. Now, dear Parent, do what you wanna with this haha.
Ok, let’s wrap this up with two thoughts.
- There is a health crisis that is coming and will hit the world, pandemic-style. One of the MAJOR interventions would be DIETARY, meaning food will be used to fight diseases sometimes even more than drugs. Drugs alone definitely won’t do. Every diet decision you make NOW for your kids would be a vote in favor or disfavor on how that crisis will affect them. Be sure you are not just following the world and going with the flow of what is cool, but that you are feeding your kids for LIFE, literally.
- This scripture stayed with me as I penned this post…
This world, alongside its lust, cravings and desires, are fading away, but whoever does the will of God abides… 1 John 2 v 17
I mean, this world we are trying to emulate and take parenting wisdom from, the Bible tells us it is fading away and disappearing. It has NOTHING to offer. Which is why, in everything we do, especially in the dieting aspect of parenting our kids, we parent with intention, and by asking the right Qs.
That’s how I parent and I am ENJOYING my parenting with joy, peace and ease. I don’t go with the world, I go with God. And when I stand before God, I will NOT be ashamed!
This quarter, I am launching a maybe 12 or 15 week course for parents who want to repent and do right by their kids when it comes to their diet. There, I will be expounding on all the R.A’s above and MORE, breaking them down into working structures and principles that you can customize to your home, and holding your hand through the process as you parent with intention and questions.
Please look out for that. And if you are not on my mailing list, get in here already
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