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By Colleen Huber, Naturopathyworks

During at least some of their childhood, you've probably watched your son or daughter notice "the grass is definitely greener elsewhere." One of the biggest challenges to your family's healthy lifestyle is your child's perception that other people are privileged simply because they eat differently.

The parents' strategic awareness and preparation for a child's fascination with the Standard American Diet (SAD) is paramount.

Adults also fall into conforming to SAD just because so many other people are doing it. That said, what law states that you must conform 100 percent to all majority cultural practices, including some of those practices that are kind of dumb, and definitely not good for your health?

At no time is the parents' advantage greater than in earliest childhood for understanding the crucial role of food in setting the course for either chronic disease or a lifetime of good health.

At no other time is the parent's advantage greater for establishing a healthy routine. By the time a child is ready to start school, he or she is already developing a strong interest in being like their friends and doing what their friends are doing.

Use that head start to your advantage. You care way more about the quality of your child's food for several years, including pregnancy, before your child begins to feel pulled by the influence of those outside your family.

Use that time to create a bubble of a near-perfectly healthy lifestyle your child will get used to and will associate with home and family for the rest of his or her life.

Changing to a whole-food diet can of course be accomplished later, at the expense of tantrums, grumbling and other exaggerations of angst. The earlier you do it, the easier it can be.

Creatinga Routine

An easy, healthy routine is your greatest strength, because when you begin getting used to buying, preparing and eating whole organic foods, and make them the first impulse for meal preparation, remember you are building a solid dietary foundation for your children's diets and fulfilling their expectations of healthy good food being a part of their daily lives.

If you still don't believe making the transition to whole food is easy, please take a look at my article on how to cook whole food from scratch. It will become second nature for them as well to reach for whole rather than processed foods and to value those produced without synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, MSG, sweeteners and preservatives.

Kids learn from familiarity to appreciate the great energized feeling they get from a glass of raw milk, a handful of carrot sticks or a meal with dark leafy greens.

If you are just now transitioning to a whole-food diet, let your children fill up on as much whole healthy food as they want. The practical advantage of eating whole fresh foods: Kids substitute, by their sheer bulk, the chemicals and denatured food derivatives that we might otherwise eat.

My suggestions for starting your kids off on the right foot:

1. The earlier you start the easier and the more effective your efforts.

Breast-fed kids have huge lifetime health advantages over formula-fed babies. You will never again have the opportunity to make such a strong health impact in such a short amount of time, and for less effort and expense than formula feeding. Even if circumstances only allow you to breastfeed your child for a short time, the advantages are enormous and will manifest throughout your child's life.

2. The first solid foods a child eats should be whole foods, like cooked squash, carrot, broccoli and other vegetables, avocado, banana and watermelon.

Snacks and meals for toddlers and preschoolers should be entirely whole foods. Their beverage is water, and that's it, until you find a raw milk source. And even then, the main beverage is water. Toddlers do not need to know that things like pasta and ice cream exist.

Parents who exclaim, "But how can I feed them healthy food when macaroni and cheese is the only thing that they'll eat?" have started off with the wrong items in the kitchen, and are going to have to endure some tantrums to establish a better way of eating. This will be made easier if you keep the television away from them.

3. TV teaches a processed food and pharmaceutical lifestyle.

The messages you're striving to keep your child away from are delivered continually:

  • Eat out, or open a package to get your ready-made food.
  • Pour yourself a glass of colored liquid.
  • Your life is just not happy until you take a pill.

If you have to de-program what the TV is telling your kids, you won't be able to compete. Nobody can! TV is so flashy and persuasive that you'll be like Sisyphus always having to roll his rock back up the hill.

Either get rid of the TV or keep it in a room that always remains locked, to be viewed together only occasionally (when you want to watch an age-appropriate movie or program with them). Kids raised without TV are easily spotted by their teachers: They're the ones with good focus and lengthy attention spans.

Some families who decide against TV after their kids are already hooked can resolve this issue any number of ways:

  • One day, the TV becomes mysteriously "broken," and parents just don't get around to buying a new one.
  • The TV has to make way for some new bookshelves and ends up on a high shelf in the garage. Anybody who wants to watch it has to go stand next to the car to do so. Suddenly, the flashiness loses a lot of its grip on your children's minds.

Lookfor the rest of Colleen's list in the next eHealthy News You Can Use.

Colleen Huber is a wife, mother and student at Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in Tempe, Ariz., where she is training to be a naturopathic physician. Her original research on the mechanism of migraines has appeared in Lancet and Headache Quarterly, and was reported in The Washington Post.

Her double-blind placebo-controlled research in homeopathy has appeared in Journal of the American Institute of Homeopathy, European Journal of Classical Homeopathy, and Homeopathy Today. Her Web site Naturopathyworks introduces naturopathic medicine to the layperson and provides references to the abundant medical literature demonstrating that natural medicine does work. Next Page>>

Dr. Mercola's Comment:

Future naturopathic doctor and mother Colleen Huber has written an awesome piece that describes the diligent work it takes to raise a young child in a healthy environment among many temptations and distractions.

About the only area Colleen didn't cover in her comprehensive article is an important one when you're transitioning your child into better health habits: Get them moving away from the couch to the playground. In fact, running or jumping -- instead of swimming and biking -- may be the best way for your kids to strengthen their bones.

Author's Bio: 

This article is reprinted from Mercola.com, the world's #1 most visited and trusted natural/alternative health website. For a limited time only, you can take the FREE "Metabolic Type Test" to help you learn the right foods for your particular body type so you can achieve optimal fitness & health. Just go to http://www.mercola.com/forms/mt_test.htm right now to take this quick test!