New book gives tips on how to talk to kids about their eating habits

Sanjay Raja’s new book The Food Talk offers advice on how you can talk about food with your children and change their eating habits for the better. In the book, he points out that talking about food with his children is just as important as talking about sex: food and sex are very pleasurable, but always carry risk. He also points out that if your kids can say “macaroni and cheese” or “chicken tenders,” they can say “carbs” and “protein” and they know what those words mean. We all want our children to eat better, more nutritious and healthier food. We just don’t know how to make that happen, and there are plenty of culprits trying to sabotage us along the way.

Raja offers step-by-step instructions in this book so parents can do everything from starting to talk about food with their kids to getting them to read food labels to cutting sugar out of their diets. Make no mistake, yes, children are forced to eat sugar, but we can also teach them about the effects sugar has on the body and teach them to cultivate a taste for nutritious foods, including broccoli and cauliflower.

Raja also has tips for getting around the culprits that would sabotage your kids and you: birthday parties filled with sugary cakes and brownies, grandparents wanting to treat the grandkids, and school lunch offering cheese pizza and chicken tenders instead of green vegetables. Based on Raja’s advice, you will be able to create a plan to deal with each of these situations and teach your children to make the right decisions for themselves.

You will also be surprised by many of the myths about food and children’s eating habits that Raja expounds, which we all too often accept without a second thought. For example, one myth or belief we may not think twice about is “Kids shouldn’t eat from the adult menu.” In response to this, Raja states, “Such nonsense. While portions may be smaller, kids shouldn’t be limited to what’s typically offered on kids’ menus: buttered pasta, grilled cheese sandwiches, fried chicken fingers, pizza, hot dogs, corn dogs, and general fried foods.” None of these foods is really nutritious. Instead, children should be taught to eat what adults eat and to be adventurous in their food choices. Raja offers advice on how to make that sense of adventure prevail.

As Raja explains, each meal is actually an opportunity to talk with your children about food and the nutrients that food offers their bodies. Drawing on his own experience, Raja says, “Knowing more and more about the foods they eat has become more and more interesting to my twins. When we buy ginger, we talk about the fact that ginger is a spice that’s good for you because it helps reduce sore muscles. When a recipe calls for cinnamon, we remind each other that cinnamon helps keep blood healthy by lowering sugar, and yes, sugar is bad. Vegetables, like zucchini, brinjal, and tomatoes, are low in calories and have fiber and other vitamins. They understand that Seed vegetables, like lentils, have a little more calories because they contain carbohydrates and are very high in fiber, iron, and magnesium. They also know the difference between a seed vegetable and a flower vegetable and what individual vitamins they contain.”

You may be thinking, “What are these miracle kids? My kids would never do that,” but as Raja states, “There is a fallacy in the American mindset that nutrition is a challenging and difficult subject, best left to scientists with multiple degrees in biology and chemistry. It’s certainly not a subject for children! Nothing could be further from the truth. These are not difficult concepts. Learning the alphabet or numbers even before starting school, they would have a head start! We hope our children learn! “They teach them the fundamentals of math and reading at an early age because everything they do is based on these concepts. Even more so with nutrition! It’s literally the cornerstone of your child’s body and mind. So you shouldn’t hesitate to teach them the basics of good nutrition and healthy eating.”

With each chapter of The Food Talk, I found myself more and more in agreement with Raja. Is it really that hard to talk about food with kids, or have we just never thought enough about it? I think The Food Talk is the perfect book for parents to start having these educational talks with their children. I also suspect that parents will realize that they have to practice what they preach, which means that they will ditch some of their bad food choices and make better ones for themselves. If you read this book and start implementing its advice, soon you and your children will be happier, healthier, and able to pass up those candy bars in the checkout aisle. It is not a dream that cannot come true. Make it happen by starting with this book.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *