I know that I am helping my kids fight disease and setting them up for a future of disease free living. Not only that, but they will make health a priority for the rest of their lives and pass this on to future generations.
It wasn't always like this though, I was raised on hot dogs and macaroni and cheese. Mom hated vegetables, Grandpa hated broccoli and Dad didn't think a meal was a meal without meat and potatoes. This is how I grew up, so this is what I passed on to my children.
It wasn't until I decided for myself that I didn't want to be fat, depressed and in pain anymore and needed to make a change. I educated myself about what good nutrition was, I explored nutrition as a way to help my children with ADHD and Asperger's. I got support to make the changes I needed to make.
It wasn't easy, the kids were used to cereal, hot dogs, macaroni and cheese and microwaved tater tots. I was guilty of drive thru fast food, pizza (still enjoy every once in awhile), so when I decided that they would eat more greens and whole foods, no more processed foods it was quite the challenge!
You only get one body your entire life and the National life expectancy average is 78.7 years. We have been taught that we are meant to grow old and live in pain and suffer. This just isn't the case, I have met 70 year old marathon runners and seen 93 year old Yoginis. These people have made health a priority and their vibrancy and energy shows because of it. I want this for my kids...heck I want that for myself!
Our kids are in the middle of a health crisis and 17% of our children are obese. Why does this matter? First this number is tripled from just "one generation ago" and obese children make obese adults. Obesity leads to many more deadly health problems. See Below:
Obesity is common, serious and costly
- More than one-third of U.S. adults (35.7%) are obese. [Read data brief [PDF-528Kb]]
- Obesity-related conditions include heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer, some of the leading causes of preventable death. [Read guidelines]
- The estimated annual medical cost of obesity in the U.S. was $147 billion in 2008 U.S. dollars; the medical costs for people who are obese were $1,429 higher than those of normal weight. [Read summary]
When our kids eat healthy, meaning no food dyes, whole foods, home cooked meals, they become more well behaved, easier to handle, more joyful, have less melt-downs, more focused, sleep better, you can manage their Asthma and Allergies better. I could go on and on about the benefits of changing your child's diet, but you should give it a try and see for yourself.
This is one of the easiest ways to start. Spinach blends up nicely and pairs well with blueberries and strawberries, the kids don't even know it is in there. Secret ninja tip: Don't let them see you put it in there, and if they do taste it at first, start with less of the Spinach and more fruit. I find that banana sweetens the smoothies and you can even add a bit of stevia if your child has a sweet tooth.
It has been proven that children who help prepare the food are more likely to eat it. It doesn't have to be something fancy, it can simply be peeling the cucumbers, or carrots. Recently my just turned 7 year old helped me pick the tomatoes from the garden and make and can home made spaghetti sauce.
Recently I purchased a spiral vegetable slicer and we have had so much fun! My kids were eating raw zucchini and sweet potatoes, running around the house yelling, "I love zucchini!" Music to this Mom's ears! Healthy eating doesn't have to be boring. We baked curly sweet potato fries and had zucchini noodles in our home made vegetable soup....all of which they participated in making. (Yes, these are the same kids who only ate microwaved chicken nuggets).
Note: If you purchase the spiral slicer from my Amazon link it won't cost you anymore than if you were to go to Amazon on your own and it will help me continue to share these fun tips with you for free! Thanks!
You can grow a vegetable garden whether you have a large amount of space or a small balcony. This is one of the funnest ways to spend time together and teach your kids about eating whole foods. My kids will eat the sugar snaps peas right off the plant. The best part is the vegetables and fruit you grow on your own are more nutritious and can be 100% pesticide free and grown with love. We can and freeze our excess and it helps to cut down on the family food budget as well. It truly is a win, win for everyone!
Would you like more personal and individualized coaching and support around changing your family's diet and lifestyle? I encourage you to schedule a 20 minute consultation with me to discuss my programs and your options for improving your child's health and happiness.