Markus and I were having breakfast one morning when I started extolling the benefits of yogurt. "It's healthy food," I said. "I always have yogurt in my grocery list," I added.
"I will eat yogurt only once a week," Markus replied, showing little interest in what I was saying.
"Yogurt is really good. And it helps your digestion..." I continued as I ate my fruits and yogurt.
"Mom, you know what I learned at school? If you force a child to eat something that he doesn't like, it will cause him stress. So you shouldn't force me to eat yogurt because I will have stress and anger problems," Markus said in a funny manner.
"All I'm saying is yogurt is healthy and I will buy it every week now," I countered. What else is Markus learning from this teacher? That is something you tell parents, not children, I thought.
I used to buy yogurt in pints which we eat like ice cream. We get a few scoops from it at a time. It's for everyone, but mostly it's ignored in the fridge. Lately, I've been getting yogurt that is conveniently packaged in little 100-gram containers you can finish in one eating. I noticed Markus and Gabriel snack on those more than they did the pint-sized. Gabriel even brings it to school. They eat yogurt without me having to say anything. No stress on my part--or theirs!
Which brings me to my point. I recently read an article on CNN.com that talked about mindless eating. The gist is that studies have proven that we eat what we see. And we eat what is more convenient.
Case in point. Yogurt in small containers is more convenient to eat than yogurt you have to scoop from a pint and transfer to a cup.
To test the findings of the study, I put small bowls of nuts, peanuts and soynuts, on the dining table. My family eats them. I have had to refill the bowls a few times. The same nuts in the cupboard are hardly touched except by me. Which is easier, to grab nuts from a bowl, or to open the cupboard, reach out for a bottle, unscrew the lid and grab some nuts? It's common sense but I never thought about it.
This is also probably the reason why my family loves fruits. Fruits are always within sight and within reach in our kitchen.
Over the last few years, I have been gradually introducing more healthy foods to our household. We are not quite there yet. My boys still react like I'm serving them poison when I mention "healthy food". Hopefully, as they see more foods of this kind on the table, in the fridge and the cupboards, they will mindlessly eat them.
Click here to read the CNN article.