#1 Starts with US.
If we want to instill healthy habits in our children, then take a look at yourself. Do you hope for your child/children to have the same habits as you someday? Most likely they will carry them as well, it's just reality. We all know the phrase "do as I say and not as I do" and how that doesn't work. We are imitators and watching people changes what you do. You want your kids to hang out with other kids you approve of, right? Well, are you being the adult your kid may turn into and you want to imitate? The way you look at yourself, dress, food you eat, habits of exercise will shape the little ones around you for the rest of their lives too. It's a really big reality check and not necessarily fun, but you are your children's greatest influence and that's the role you stepped into when becoming a parent, we all have. As you take steps on your journey of fitness, your child will see that and God will use it in their lives and other people's lives. This isn't about being perfect, but it's an area to examine.
#2 Fruits and Veggies
Fruits and veggies. Fruits and veggies. Keep repeating it. That's the main source of health! We know the findings, we see the benefits in studies and it's written, EVERYWHERE. From the time your little one takes the first bite, until walking out of the house for college, put fresh fruits and vegetables in front of them and their friends every chance you get. Talk about preventing obesity, diabetes, cutting cravings, regulating hormones, reducing mood swings, keeping a healthy digestive system, etc.....these are the ticket! It's the best medicine you can provide your kids and it's never too late to incorporate them more. We know that tasting something 7 times starts to change your pallette towards liking the food. The best thing you can do is put it in front of them, prepare containers in the fridge, leave a bowl of fruit on the counter, take them as snacks when you're out, grow vegetables in the back yard, sneak them into the food (hehe), just take every meal as an opportunity to increase their love for fruits and veggies...it's their best chance at conquering health.
Now that we've had our chat on fruits and veggies, don't forget the protein. Protein is a building block for muscle. It also provides satiety (being full), keeps blood sugar stable, and many other things that benefit the body. This is also a key factor in staying healthy. Our body needs it to be healthy. Most important protein we need does come from animals, but don't be afraid of this. Just go for the grassfed, no hormone/antibiotic, and wild caught stuff. It contains healthy fat that we need, keeps blood sugar stable, has important vitamins that keep our hearts healthy, and satisfies, and cuts cravings. Kids need it!
#4 No Processed
Whatever you do, focus on keeping real food in and the boxed stuff out. Just like knowing the facts on fruits and vegetables, we really do know the facts on processed stuff. 2 big problems though. The first is that EVERY single study done on boxed proves the opposite of health benefits. We in no way, shape or form benefit from a lab ingredient, we just can't create a food/ingredient that's healthy for us. Whetther it's HFCS, dyes, aspartame, hydrogenated oils, all of it continually proves how bad it is for our bodies. The second problem is that we still don't even know all the problems these foods really affect us! What's worse is how it impacts our kids. This is the real problem of obesity. Boxed foods are filled with preservatives, empty calories, sugar and/or sodium which makes our bodies crave and go out of control. Behavior problems, hormone imbalances, uncontrollable appetite, vitamin deficiencies...it's all linked and their growing bodies don't know what to do with it. So get the boxes and packages out of the house!
#5 Food Examples and ideas.
Honestly, this has been pretty straight forward. It's almost hard to think of things at first, yet it's so simple because it really isn't complicated. Just shop the perimeter of your store, mainly, and you've saved time by not going through all the junk aisles. Plus you do really save money by not buying expensive boxed things. Try all kinds of fruits and vegetables you haven't given a chance. Have fun with marinades, seasonings, and different cooking techniques. Meat, fruit, veggies....pretty simple. Keep processed grains to a minimum (doesn't mean you can't ever have them). But here are things I am doing with my girls. We aren't perfect and I don't claim to be, so don't think I am!!
Lunch yesterday for them was string cheese, boiled egg, strawberries, raspberries and a few organic bunny crackers.
Dinner tonight was a lemon chicken, roasted fingerling potatoes, green beans, nitrate/nitrite free bacon, peppers and onion, plus corn and pomegranate.
Hannah eating pomegranate by the handful :)
Lunch box...water in water bottle, homemade applesauce (RECIPE), homemade granola bar (RECIPE), boiled egg.
Cheddar cheese, strawberries, pretzel rods, homemade applesacue.
I make grilled cheese now and again but I use real cheddar cheese, butter the bread, typically have salad and quality tomato basil soup that doesn't have HFCS or other preservatives.
Another lunch box meal...applesauce that has no preservatives or added sugar. Then cheese, pretzels, mandarin oranges, and pineapple.
Here are just a few things I am sending to school, and feed my girls. They also eat raw peppers, cucumbers, apples, and salad quite often, I am just lacking pictures on those. I know culture is go, go, go and whatever is convenient, but let's not sacrifice our health and the health of our kids. Grabbing an apple out the fridge is quite easy and convenient as well, it's just training ourselves. That apple has so many more benefits than a packaged "apple filling" Nutrigrain bar (sugar, empty calories, sugar). But the good news is that it's never too late to start, and building that habit for your kids will be a normal routine for them the rest of their lives.