Parent’s it time for some tough love so buckle up, it’s time for a ride.
As a Holistic Health & Nutrition Coach I spend most of my time in places and spaces where people generally eat well, exercise, and understand the value of a healthy lifestyle. I have heard so much talk around the growing obesity epidemic, but it never really resonated fully with me, because I didn’t see it in my day-to-day life. As I’ve been diving deeper into my mission of showing people how to live a healthier life, I have been shocked and saddened to see what I’ve discovered.
According to Stats Canada, and the CDC in the USA, obesity rates among children and youth in Canada have nearly tripled in the last 30 years. That equates to 1 in 5 children between the ages of 6-19 are considered obese. What the what???? These two sources cite two major contributors. Excess junk food, and lack of movement.
I completely understand how busy life is, in-fact it seems to be getting busier everyday. Trying to keep up my own household, working two businesses, a husband who works night shifts, activities, social events, etc, etc, etc. I remember days where I looked at the pile of clothes piled up and wanted to sit down and cry. Here’s what tends to happen when life gets spinning out of control. We short change our own health, and that of our children. We plunk them in front of the tv or ipad and feed them the quickest and easiest meals, or grab and go, things that we know are not good for them or us. The busier things get the further away we get from home cooked meals, exercise, and time to unwind.
Here’s where the tough love part comes in. PARENTS, we have a J O B here, and that includes loving, protecting, and teaching our children. Yes, just like your traditional 9-5 job, where you have objectives, assignments, and deadlines. Only with parenthood, we don’t often get awards, raises, or accolades. Regardless, our work is necessary. Their health starts with you and that means you need to take responsibility for their health.
Here what you can do:
Set a schedule and establish some rules. Admittedly I used to roll my eyes at the moms who cancelled coffee dates, or showed up late, because their child was napping, or it was meal time. I had a free flowing schedule with both my babies and they were just fine. As they got older, I realized that not having established meal schedules, and rules around snacks or treats, was causing us all more meltdowns than I was prepared to endure.
Upgrade your own nutritional habits. Have a show, don’t tell mindset around nutrition. Your kids may not love avocado just because they saw you eat it, but they need to see that you value the very nutrition you are asking them to. As a family make a weekly meal plan and allow your kids to shop with you for the supplies. If the thought of taking them to the grocery store is too daunting, let them help you make the grocery list and allow them to help you unpack the food when you get home.
Get moving. You know this. Exercise is a non negotiable if you want to live a healthier life. Making time to move and play with your kids will help to create a deeper connection between your family, and shows them that exercise is important to you. My husband and I have been bringing our kids to our local gym with us since they were 6 weeks old. There, we kill two birds with one stone. Mom and Dad get to work out, and the boys get to run and play. If they gym is not available to you, have impromptu dance parties, walk around the block, or go to the park.
Talk about food. Educate your children on healthy food choices. The conversation should be light, easy and fun. Play games around ‘which is the healthier choice’. My kids know that eating healthy means eating nutritious foods most of the time, but treats are ok every now and then.
Feed them breakfast. Ensuring your ‘littles’ start their day off with a balanced meal will help keep their insulin levels from spiking, and help them concentrate better throughout the day. Aim for meals with protein, low glycemic carbohydrates and healthy fats. Some of our family favorites are:
Toad in the Hole (Whole grain toast, with grass fed butter, and a free range egg in the center)
Gluten-free chocolate chip pancakes with grass fed butter
Meal prep. Ok, ok!!! Before you say, “Yeah Right, I’m too busy!” I want to challenge you on this. Meal prep does not need to mean you have to spend hours in the kitchen. Healthy meals CAN be created in 15-30 minutes, and meal prep can be done in tiny pockets of your day. Things like egg cups, roasted root veggies, and homemade soup can all be done in a half hour or less and can create multiple meals, saving you time in the long run. Go even further and add in a slower cooker or Instapot to the mix and it’s a game changer.
What is important to remember is that our J O B is to create healthy, happy humans, and that starts with the food we feed them, and the importance we put around movement.
For any of the recipes noted above feel free to reach out to me directly for the recipes at email@example.com.
I received my training from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, where I learned about more than one hundred dietary theories and studied a variety of practical lifestyle coaching methods. Drawing on this knowledge, I will help you create a completely personalized “roadmap to health” that suits your unique family, lifestyle, and preferences.
Learn more about my training and my unique approach to health coaching.