I often meet parents who swear their children will eat nothing but ____ (insert odd item of food here) don’t get me wrong, I am sure like all children; kids will always prefer their food of choice over their parents’ food of choice. Let’s be honest, we were once kids- I grew up eating nothing bunch French fries and drinking coke… still I am not sure that my parents creatively tried to get me to try the odd vegetable or so. It was always too much work, there were always too many mouths to feed- too many taste buds to satisfy, my mom spent most of her married life co-living with my dad’s family… this meant living with my aunts, uncles and their kids- a bunch of different people, she simply never had the time to make individual meals- and when she had the time we were too old to know that vegetables were good for us and did not want anything to do with them!
Of course now things are a lot different. The majority of us are not co-living and if we are we have much more freedom then our parents generation had. I picture some of you rolling your eyes on that one, what I mean is, you have the freedom, time and resources to go to the store and buy the groceries of your choice for your children, Alhumdulillah.
There is also SO much variety available! I mean you can pretty much trick your kids into eating ANYTHING, a few weeks ago I did an experiment on my cousins (probably about 5 of them) I dropped off some Lasagna and did not even tell the adults what was in it. Waited for them to finish, asked my aunt to call afterwards to tell me how it was and told her the big SECRET afterwards. It was whole wheat/ semolina Lasagna with soy cheese and everyone ate it without a clue! I know my aunts will agree with me on this one, they probably never would have bought soy cheese or whole wheat pasta otherwise- just because their kids are used to the other stuff. Which is what most parents do, they stick with what they know and what they are comfortable with. It is hard to break out of mold but dear parents, it is never to late to reverse bad habits, especially habits that will better your childrens lives. Turn the clock on the family history of diabetes, heart disease- NOW is the time to make the change. I will be honest here, the reason I knew I was going make nutrition a priority with Zakariya was because of our family history on both sides of diabetes. May Allah protect him from any illness... But this was my motivation and I thought I just have to teach him from the start how to make better choices. Not to be perfect or never eat candy but to make better life choices Inshallah.
So to everyone who says my kids just won’t eat it… have you REALLY even tried? I mean creatively tried it? If you don’t have the time to try that is fine, everyone has their reasons…. BUT please stop blaming your kids and making them seem high maintenance and picky! Yes, there is a such thing as a fussy eater- for sure this is a very difficult trait to deal with-every parent has a different trial when it comes to their kid, for some of us it means having fussy eaters. This just means you have to try harder for the sake of your child and with ihsan because your child was given to you as an amaanah (trust) from Allah.
Did you know they have organic pasta (made with whole wheat, beets, spinach) in the shape of Alphabets? What about alphabet shaped French fries? I encourage you to put a little bit more time and thought into your family’s nutrition options and you will be surprised to know what is available out there. May Allah make it easy for all of us to preserve our health and bodies for his sake.