I was recently having a conversation with someone about a meal we were planning and the topic came up of whether or not my kids liked a particular food. This person happens to have similar ideas and beliefs about food that I do, but it brought to mind a pet peeve of mine that has been growing rapidly.

In our house here is what we teach the kids about food:

God gives us food

Food does not need to taste good, but it must be healthful

Whole food is the only healthy choice
we need to eat our food as close to it's natural state as possible

By making healthy choices, we are honoring God with our bodies

By making healthy choices because we are told to, not necessarily because we want to, we are being obedient to our parents

This translates occasionally into some mild mealtime battles. For most children, regardless of how aware of whole foods they are raised, trying a new food can be quite challenging. Since we are very firm in our lifestyle choice of eating whole food, we do not allow complaining, whining, or refusal to try new things.

The phrase "But I don't like it!" does not hold any currency at our table. We gently say, "I'm sorry you don't like that food. You need to eat it anyway because it's good for your body and because you need to obey your mommy and daddy."

Because we eat the way we do (which is not the norm in our country), we frequently have friends come over with children who are curious about what's on the table. Often, this scenario has played itself out in front of me:

guest child,"Mommy? What's that?"

parent, "Oh, it's such and such"

guest child, "Oh! I want to taste it!"

parent, "Oh NO, you won't like it."


"Oh, I don't think you should, you've never had that before."

What? "you won't like it"???!!! I really and truly can't even wrap my head around that mentality. Why in the world would you not only discourage your child's natural curiosity but also squash their desire to try WHOLE, NUTRITIOUS FOOD??

I could probably understand if it were the other way around, if I was serving up a big helping of processed grain, refined sugar, msg and high fructose corn syrup, and the parent, bless their heart, was trying to discourage tasting that. But this? Really?

(when I say "food" here, I'm referring to whole, traditional, nutritious foods)

It frustrates me and saddens me to no end to see parents putting their preconceived notions about food, or personal dislikes of a food onto their children. For example, my husband hates tomatoes. Since boys always want to be like Daddy, we are very careful not to let the boys know just how much Daddy hates tomatoes so that they will try them and develop their own opinion. All three of the kids actually don't like tomatoes right now, their choice, but we serve tomato stuff anyway and I just tell them, "Well, you're not old enough to like them, but you will when you are more grown up."

At the end of the day, our goal with our children is to accomplish the realization of a new meaning of the word "like".

Like: the ability to enjoy and eat whole, nutritious, traditional foods because they are the best choice, and God's choice, for a healthy body.

Conversely, the word "dislike" or phrase "I don't like that" translates to this:

the sinful flesh refusing to be obedient to God's design for the body, an ungrateful spirit rearing it's ugly head

So, when my children are served something they object to, their thought processes should run something like this:

Oh, this is not my favorite thing to eat. But I'll eat it anyway with a happy heart because I like foods that Mommy and Daddy tell me are healthy, and because I want to be obedient.

I do not believe in coddling, or cooking for, the appetite of my children. Occasionally we will allow them to participate in meal planning, or have a favorite meal for a special occasion. Largely speaking, though, I cook and serve what I deem to be the best, and healthiest foods for the

family, and fully expect cheerful obedience and "liking" of what I serve!

Our goal is raising kids with a grateful heart, and a taste for simple, nutritious, life-giving foods.