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How To Introduce The Raw Diet To Children
By: Mark Idzik
In recent years there has been lots of buzz around the medical community regarding the benefits of raw food. People have begun raw food diets and are seeing and feeling the benefits... and how it's affecting their bodies. With this comes the realization that by incorporating raw foods into the diets of their children, they can begin to enjoy the benefits at a very early age.
Children can be very picky eaters though and it can be a struggle to get them to eat anything new. When a young child is accustomed to eating cooked foods, the difference in taste and texture with raw food can take some time for adaptation.
There are some things that a parent can do to help their child embrace and thrive on a raw food diet:
- Have your children help with preparation. Children love to do things that they view as grown-up tasks. They see preparing meals this way. Most children are not allowed near the food preparation area mainly because parents are concerned with the child injuring him or herself. This is rarely a concern with a raw food diet. Although you will still be using sharp utensils such as knives, there is no fear of them being scalded or burned. Since the raw food diet does not involve the cooking process, the chances that your child may be injured are greatly diminished. They'll love taking part in the preparation process and they'll likely be more inclined to want to eat the food they've helped make.
- Make fresh fruit available... often. Most children love eating bananas, grapes and berries. If you explain that these are healthy foods and offer them even more choices, they are likely to embrace them. Small pieces of apple, orange segments or a slice of watermelon becomes a treat to the child. Don't be surprised if they begin to ask for more of these foods and less cookies and sugar filled treats.
- Pack a picnic filled with raw foods. Children see outings as adventures and if you combine a raw food meal with a fun experience they are more likely to have a positive attitude regarding the food. Consider taking them to the zoo or a local outdoor swimming pool. After they've run around and worked up a good and healthy appetite you can bring out the picnic basket and serve them the raw foods. They'll be so famished that they'll welcome the food. They'll also bring up the outing every time you serve the same raw foods at home. It's a great way to introduce them to raw foods.
- And lastly, but most importantly, be a great example. Our children, especially when they are at an early age, look to their parents to see what they ought to do. When they watch us eat raw fruits, vegetables and nuts regularly, they'll want to do the same. Pretty soon it will be second nature.
Although children may take longer to welcome the change in their diet than the adults in the house, it's important to stick with it. Praise them each time they eat raw foods and explain how healthy they look to you. They may still ask for something from their old diet from time to time but the most important thing is to be patient with them. If you can take the time to work with them on improving their diets while they are young, you are setting the foundation for a life filled with good eating habits. Children who eat raw foods while they are young are much more likely to continue doing the same thing when they are older.