Dear Grandparenting: You would do grandparents a world of good if you can solve this one. How do I get my grandchildren to eat healthy meals?
You know how difficult it is. You slave over the stove making a wholesome dinner and they pick at their food. Happens all the time.
Meanwhile they feast on junk food and goodness knows what else, and aren’t hungry or don’t like what I prepare. What are you going to do? You cannot sit there all day and police what they put in their mouth. Growing minds and bodies need good fuel. Any advice how to go about it? Mandy Packer, Fayetteville, North Carolina
Dear Mandy: We won’t waste time educating readers about the generally abysmal diet of America’s youth. Obesity and its attendant maladies are on the rise, driven ever higher by inactivity imposed by pandemic shutdowns.
The trick to turning this around is to engage grandchildren in the selection and preparation of fresh foods.
Empowering youngsters to take a greater role in the kitchen, with a grandparent or parent standing by for guidance, can be a game changer that puts them on the road to becoming masters of their own good health and nutrition.
Put one grandchild in charge of preparing a fresh fruit bowl for each meal, with another in charge of salad. Rotate responsibilities weekly. Have grandchildren choose between skim milk, water and juice, but no sodas. Perhaps one grandchild will elect to become the baker and fix quick breads and muffins made with fruits and vegetables and less fat and sugar than commercial products.
Don’t demonize all snack food — keep some on hand but emphasize the payoff of good nutritional content. Grandparents can take heart from the experience of schools that included nutrition in their curriculum. When students became familiar with healthy foods and helped prepare them, they came to like it and asked for more.
Grand remark of the week
“Just when I thought I had sort of figured everything out,” reports Maria Amos from Flagstaff, Arizona, “along came my grandchildren to teach me something new about love.”
Dee and Tom, married more than 50 years, have eight grandchildren. Together with Key, they welcome questions, suggestions and Grand Remarks of the Week. Send to P.O. Box 27454, Towson, MD, 21285. Call 410-963-4426.