Following on from my previous newsletter “Motivation & Practical Tips to be Healthy” (if you missed it click here), today’s follow-on focuses on kids.

Don’t have kids, or they’re all grown up already? Don’t exit just yet – there are lots of great tips here for you too…and in a way, we’re all kids, right? So do read on…

I’m sure you agree that (most of the time ) being a parent is an absolute privilege. Our lowest lows are usually when our kids are ill and helpless, and our highest highs when we experience treasured moments with them as healthy, happy little people.

 

With a wealth of knowledge now available online, we understand the huge impact of good nutrition and better choices in getting our kids to be at their best now, and of course to avoid the chronic illnesses that many of our generation has to endure — due to misinformation (fats are bad! you need milk for calcium…) and not understanding the impact of our lifestyle choices on our current and future state of health.

 

So, of course, you try your utmost to get your kids to eat their veggies, avoid sugary treats, drink enough water, get enough sleep… but they always to listen, perhaps? I get it – my 2 princes often give me facts which I’ve been telling them for years – it’s not that they don’t hear what we say, they just need confirmation from elsewhere knowing that we, as parents, are always biased in getting them to do what we think is right for them. I hope that by sharing a few things you read here, and what you see in my demo-video below, that you might get a positive response.
The thing is (and this goes for many of us adults too) our kids don’t feel physically poor immediately after eating crap food (allergies and digestive issues aside), therefore, we need to find some other ways of getting them to understand why they should eat and live healthier.

 

They need to know that good food is what gives us physical and mental energy; the closer food is to its natural, living state, the better, ‘so it passes its energy on to us’. With younger kids, in establishing what might be healthy, ask them ‘well, does the food come from nature — from healthy soil, a healthy animal or clean waters, and how close is it now to its living state’? If the answers are positive, then, yes, it’s likely to provide nourishment.

 

Kids also need to understand that food companies (immorally) market colourful junk at them, purely to make a profit. When your clever kid asks ‘why does the government allow companies to do that’, you may not want to get into the whole politics of money and power versus ethics… what you might say is something like: 

“it’s similar to cigarette smoking when I was young – at first we didn’t understand it was so bad, but when we did, companies were still allowed to advertise it for a long time. It takes years for governments and big companies to make changes, but eventually, they did. It’s the same with junk food – we hope the laws will change soon, but in the meantime, you and I are one step ahead ”.

Then show your kids ethical brands that are providing quality food and good honest marketing claims and nutrition labelling.

Not that we want our kids to be label obsessed, however, they need to know what they are putting into their bodies, which they are learning more and more to appreciate (by you telling them they are amazing). Get them interested to look at package nutrition labels, to understand the number of teaspoons of sugar per serving, and additives that they cannot pronounce — and let them make an informed choice.

 

Kids are smart, and they will get it. They won’t always live it, but the best you can do is to provide them with the information and encouragement they need, without it becoming a battle.

In keeping the peace, here are some things you can do to encourage healthy choices:

In keeping the peace, here are some things you can do to encourage healthy choices:

1. Let them choose between Healthy A, Healthy B and Healthy C
– then, they can only choose well
2. Hunger is the best medicine
–when kids are playing let them play; no need to chase after them with snacks in the playground  they’ll come to you if and when they’re hungry
3. Take advantage of play dates and peer pressure
– this is the best time to serve up healthy food
4. Keep giving new foods you’d like them to eat
– they say it takes 10-15 times before kids will try something new, so just put some in front of them, no fuss, and don’t make a battle of it. The stress is no good for anyone’s health
5. Talk about food in a positive way and encourage kids when they eat well
– ‘after all that salmon you’ll fly through your homework’
6. Respect their preferences
– kids might love tomato sauce but hate the taste of tomatoes. I know adults who love wine but won’t eat grapes 
7. Get them involved in shopping, choosing recipes, prepping for and cooking meals
– kids are much more likely to eat if they’ve been involved, plus they learn so much about good food in the making

When kids are away from home, we can only remind them to make good choices. They’re not going to get the usual sleep on a sleepover and will probably get more iPad time than we would allow…we can’t expect them to be angels when it comes to food choices either – they’ll survive it like we did. What matters is what they do most of the time.

As with mobile devices, homework and sleep set your own household guidelines, as kids need boundaries. e.g.

1. ‘Colour at every meal’
2. No snacking before dinner
3. Healthy/homemade treats during the week
4. Water with meals

We could talk for weeks here and hope we do in the comments below, but one last comment before I sign off.
While we do our best to keep our kids healthy and build a strong immunity amidst the chaos out there, wouldn’t it also be wonderful if they grew up without the same body obsession/paranoia, call it as you will, as we did? They live in a different world with all the social media pressure, however, I believe the best grounding comes from what we do in their formative years within our household.

A few things which will help build better body image:

* We are their best role models!
* Let them see you eating healthy nutritious meals
* Don’t use food as a stick or a carrot for good/bad behaviour
* Speak positively about your own body
* No diet talk or ‘I shouldn’t have eaten that’
* Accept compliments graciously
* Talk about ‘healthy, fit and happy’, as opposed to thin and slim
* Show the importance of exercise to stay healthy
* Enjoy the process of shopping, preparing and cooking family meals together

Thanks for reading and watching, I look forward to your comments.

To our health!

Liza Rowan

Holistic Nutritionist

When not not busy in my favourite role as mother to my two boys,  I dedicate my time to educate, motivate and inspire us all to lead healthier, happier lives. This involves hosting Nutrition courses (in-class and online), corporate wellness talks, workshops and when I have time, private consultations.

 You can follow me on one or more of the following channels:

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– understand what triggers mindless eating

– have positive, realistic action you can take right away

– have useful, practical nutrition tips

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