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Healthy Bytes

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mary brown, RN, Luverne

To start off, I must say that I am impressed by the quality of our school’s meals. Last week I had lunch with my boys at the school. Fresh fruit, veggies and milk were gleefully ingested by children all around me. Great job, Luverne school! Go Cards!
One thing that struck me was how the children happily ate what was in front of them. It wasn’t that they didn’t have a choice. The ladies who served lunch asked the children which fruit they wanted, whether they wanted the vegetable, etc. Most every child chose to have a fruit and a veggie. Which of course got me to thinking.
Often my children will show me the side of themselves that they don’t want others to see. Who taught them what side of themselves they should show to the world? That would be primarily their parents, who set the expectations either verbally or nonverbally. Of course, their teachers and the entire school community also show them what to show the world, and how to show it. It’s really a team effort. However, through my years of parenting, I’ve noticed that my children often save their less stellar performances for me. Gee thanks. No, actually, thank you, kids. Really.
You see, children will often try different behaviors on for size — whether this is related to the manner in which they address their parents, the clothes they wear, or the foods that they eat. Case in point — the child who raises his or her hand to speak in class and eats vegetables without so much as a grumble in school versus that same child interrupting at the dinner table at home and making noise about the choice of vegetable served at home. I’m certain I’m not alone in noticing this.
A couple of thoughts spring from this. First, school lunches are improving all the time, and the kids seem to be satisfied when they are done eating them. That was heartening to see. Second, hold the line at home folks. Your child is capable of eating vegetables. If they grumble, they will still likely eat the veggies. It seems they do in school!
As for the kids showing me their worst from time to time, remember, Mom is familiar, and, well, Mom is Mom. I’m pretty sure that sometimes my kid is looking for that boundary to be set, that consistency to be maintained. Boundaries make kids feel safe and secure, especially when maintained by the people they know and love best. That’s you, Mom and Dad. Hang in there!
By the way, if you’re having trouble getting the kids to eat their veggies, one trick is to serve the supper vegetable before supper, when the kids are circling like vultures complaining of starvation! Try setting out the green beans on the table, and watch them disappear!

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