An expert on nutrition, family development and raising healthy raw children, Karen Ranzi shares her Top 5 Tips for raising raw children. Karen has led a low-fat raw vegan diet since the mid-1990s. She is the author of Creating Healthy Children: Through Attachment Parenting and Raw Foods and the forthcoming Raw Vegan Recipe Fun for Families.
Karen’s website, SuperHealthyChildren.com, features a regularly updated blog, and her YouTube channel includes dozens of videos on raw food. She writes for Vibrance, VegWorld Magazine, Get Fresh! and Super Raw Life and is the SAFBaby.com health expert adviser.
1. Be an example yourself. Your kids are going to follow you. Very young children see what you’re eating, and this is what they’ll want to eat. You can’t eat chips and French fries and expect they’re going to want to eat healthfully. If you want your kids to eat healthy as they’re growing, make sure that from the very earliest time that you are eating a lot of fruits and vegetables. That should be the primary part of your diet.
2. Have fruits and vegetables be readily available. They are colorful, vibrant and beautiful. Keep them in the room where the family congregates. Have big, beautiful baskets and bowls filled with fruit, and even during the day, take the greens out of the refrigerator and put them in bowls, too. When children come into the kitchen, that’s what they’ll see. That’s what they’re going to take. If you have processed and refined foods available, they’ll go for that because that’s the model in our society.
3. Keep television shows to a minimum because the commercials are focused on children, and many of those commercials are totally targeted at teenagers. They’ll see these commercials with animal foods and processed foods, and then they’ll see the next commercial, with medicine. And that’s what your child is going to have to take from eating those foods.
4. Buy posters and pictures of fruits and vegetables and hang them up in your home, especially in your kitchen. The kids will see the foods that you value and, inevitably, that is going to be what they’ll come back to.
5. Be gentle. We can be a guide and an example, but we can’t force healthy eating on our children. I tried to do that at one point, but it didn’t work. I don’t recommend being coercive as it does not create good relationships.
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