Setting an example with food

        My latest houseguests have just gone. A lasting impression that I have from their visit was the example that they set for their daughter with regard to diet. Here are some of the food guidelines they use for raising a happy and healthy child:

Provide healthy drinks

        They neither drink nor offer soda as an alternative. She was raised on diluted fruit juice. Between meals, water has always been the drink of choice. They knew two important facts from the outset of raising their daughter: (1) water is the best between-meal choice for protecting teeth and (2) if children have not been offered water when they were younger, it will be more difficult, as they grow up, to fit in the recommended daily allowance of one liter.

Balance food intake with exercise

        Both parents are walkers. This simple act was something that we were able to incorporate into all our sightseeing trips, just as they do at home. We strolled around the Stanford and UC Berkeley campuses, San Francisco’s hills and downtown, and Muir Woods.

Cut down on salt

        During the whole week, there was not one fast food meal or package of potato chips. They recognize that children who develop a taste for salty food will be most likely to continue the same diet as they grow up, which puts them at risk for high blood pressure.

Eat those fruit and vegetables

        When choosing food for meals, there was a dialogue between mom and daughter concerning the daily intake of fruit and vegetables. The twelve-year-old was able to recall which ones she had consumed, including salad, so that she could eat her full complement of five to seven servings daily.

Nothing is banned

        When we went shopping and Katie suggested something like cookies or another sweet, the answer was always yes. Then mom and dad showed cunning forethought as they purchased individually packaged items rather than boxes or bags of them. They also made sure that all the nutritious foods were consumed first.

        By setting and following these simple guidelines, this family graced my home and my life with a peaceful week that I will always remember fondly.


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