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Trusting children to make good food decisions

As a mother, I feel really proud of my children when I let them make their own food choices and they choose well. Today my five year old asked if she could pack the snacks for our outing and I trusted her without interfering in her choices. When we arrived at our destination, she opened her lunch box to reveal several apples, grapes, rice crackers and some organic sultanas.

My children are regular children who enjoy a healthy and balanced diet with moderate treats. They seem to have an instinct that I can trust when it comes to food choices and often comment that ‘those chips’ or ‘that lolly’ might make them a bit ‘crazy’. From a young age, we have talked about the best kinds of foods to eat and I feel children today are more informed about nutrition than the generations before them. But they also have a great deal more food marketing to deal with, more readily available snack and fast food items and the increasing substitution of chemical ingredients for real ingredients in all kinds of store bought foods. Remember when a custard slice was fresh eggs and cream? Now it is a chemical compound packed with artificial colours, flavours and thickeners.

When parents model appropriate eating habits, children follow – they may even have something to teach us about our nutrition instincts.

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Lindy Schneider is a writer and researcher with a keen interest in health, wellbeing and natural childcare. She is an advocator of a chemical-free lifestyle in the best interests of her family, the community and a sustainable world.

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