And so, with a little help from her family and a friend, Frances got past her obsession with bread and jam. Sometimes, what we need most is for someone close to us to set a good example. Friends and family can be great influences, but they can be really bad ones too.
What kind of example are you setting for your children? How are you instilling a desire to eat healthfully in them? And what exactly constitutes healthy eating? There's so much conflicting research out there these days. It's almost impossible to keep up with, isn't it?
Well, no matter how much we may or may not know about food as preventive medicine, there are many reasons to learn more about the subject with our children by our sides! Family members of all ages can learn so much together, especially if they use the many extraordinary picture books which are available these days. And what could be more important than the subject of making healthy lifestyle choices?
The one question that is sure to spark a pretty intense discussion about food in general (at a dinner table full of people of various ages) is also the title of today's picture book for ages 3 through 6: Where Does Food Come From? (Exceptional Science Titles for Primary Grades), by Shelley Rotner and Gary Goss.
This picture book will have even the youngest children thinking about the food on their plates, but older siblings would probably enjoy reading it along with them as well. To spark an interest in reading the book, it's important to pose the question first, and then ask where any of the following foods may come from (preferably while they're eating one of them):
Hot cocoa. Apple Juice. French fries. Bread. Rice. Popcorn. Milk. Lemonade. Eggs. Tomato sauce. Peanut Butter. Jelly. Vegetables. Fruit. Honey. Maple Syrup. Salt. Sugar.
Where do all of these popular food items come from? The answers may be a lot more complex than any of us would like to believe, but this simple text boils it all down to their natural sources.
And perhaps that's the most important lesson of all - that our food should come straight out of nature whenever possible. Who needs all those additives, preservatives, pesticides, refined carbohydrates, and genetically modified ingredients? Families must work together to avoid them; and the older your children are, the more you can do so.
But for starters, it's better to keep it simple...
"Did you know? There are more than 7,000 different kinds of apples." - a fun fact from Where Does Food Come From?
We love apples in our family, but I know a lot of children who won't go near them. If they tried even a handful of the different kinds, or even went apple picking to really see where they come from, wouldn't they be more likely to find one they might actually enjoy?
Do you remember the Pepsi vs. Coke taste test? Well, what if we put out different kinds of apple slices and made it an apple taste test instead? We could even give them hints, like the color or taste of the apple. Or, we could sample different dipping options, such as peanut butter or yogurt!
One simple question and one powerful picture book can help even the youngest child to understand why it's important to think before you eat.
Too bad Frances' parents didn't have access to such a children's book. Maybe she would have been willing to try new foods sooner. It could even have prompted them to learn more about eating healthfully.
I do like the way they used reverse psychology (giving her bread and jam for every meal and snack) so that she'd finally try new things on her own. They did the best they could, and everything turned out fine.
I don't think there's a parent out there who models healthy eating habits 100% of the time. When life gets busy, sometimes we have no choice but to rely on quick meal options.
The important thing is for family members to work together to make healthy lifestyle choices as often as possible. And that means asking a lot of questions, and not getting frustrated when there's more than one answer, or food choice.
After all, it's been said that
"Variety's the very spice of life, that gives it all its flavor." ~William Cowper, English poet
How do you encourage your child to try new foods? What's your biggest challenge?
Please note that the price of this picture book is excessive on Amazon, so I suggest you seek it out at the library. There's another picture book coming out on the same subject this month (for a lot less), so I will add a post about it if I think it would be another useful resource for you.
As always, if you decide to purchase anything from Amazon from any of my links, I will receive a tiny commission. I thank you for your support, but encourage you to support your local libraries and independent book stores first.
You can find part 3 here.