So often I see parents who are making an effort to become healthier, fitter, better and they change their eating habits entirely. They make take up a paleo lifestyle, try Whole30, cut back on sugar, cut out processed foods, follow a specific food plan, etc. I also have noticed that some of these parents continue to feed their children all of the processed foods they themselves are avoiding. This baffles me.
Nutrition, exercise, sleep, and forming good habits are foundational to a healthy childhood. Parents have a HUGE opportunity during the younger years to set their child up for success. It is the parents RESPONSIBILITY to educate their kids about healthy eating, exercise, sleep, etc. We have to teach kids these things just like we have to teach them to read, write, or to use their manners. The more we teach them at a younger age, the better chance they have at maintaining these habits throughout the rest of their lives.
Children are like human sponges. They SOAK up every tiny bit of knowledge you give them. They WANT to learn. They WANT to be just like mom or dad or their big sister/brother. They look up to their older family members and often mimic their behaviors. So many of the kids I see at CrossFit Q already know how to snatch, do an air squat, lift a barbell, or do a burpee. They see their parents do this every single day, study them, and try to do it themselves too! Same thing goes for nutrition. They are children… they will pretty much eat whatever you tell them to eat. You choose the food that is in your household. They see what you eat and want to eat that as well.
Now, I know budget can be a huge factor in nutrition BUT that doesn’t mean you should just grab your kids a meal from the dollar menu at McD’s because it’s cheap or easy. There are ways to get bulk vegetables and food. It doesn’t necessarily have to be organic from Whole Foods. Try visiting a farmers market for fresh vegetables and fruit or buy bulk meat/eggs from a farm. It CAN be done. If you are pressed for time, here’s where meal prepping comes into play. Even for kids? YES, even for kids! Especially their school lunches. Often, I see parents packing the typical peanut butter and fluff sandwich with chips, juice, and some kind of sugary snack on the side. And breakfast is usually the worst because they are pressed for time. Breakfast tends to be sugary cereal, toast, or some kind of pastry. And for dinner, the word “vegetables” does not exist. This is just some of the things I tend to notice, this is NOT every household of course. But what can parents do?
Start while they are young. Make each meal balanced and provide them some form of protein, vegetable/fruit, and healthy fat. For breakfast, try this “Teddy Bear Toast” using 1 or 2 slices of Cinnamon Raisin Ezekial Bread, Earth Balance Peanut Butter, a sliced banana, and raisins! Looks cute and is super yummy! Add a hard boiled egg on the side for added protein.
For lunch, think outside the box! It doesn’t have to be a typical sandwich or lunch able. If you look on pinterest, there are tons of great lunch ideas for healthy eating for kids! I found this great website, http://www.easylunchboxes.com/blog/a-year-of-healthy-packed-lunches/ with tons of ideas like this one: sliced strawberries, mini organic pretzels, string cheese, sliced peppers, mini cucumbers, and organic roasted turkey roll-ups. Yum!
REMOVE the endless processed sugars from their diets. In this article, http://news.heart.org/kids-and-added-sugars-how-much-is-too-much/?hash=3ccaeb0f-d3c0-4005-82cf-e7b3faae8e06&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook it talks about how children are eating TRIPLE the amount of sugar from food AND drinks. Sugary drinks are a huge part of the problem. Absolutely eliminate soda and sugary juices. Opt for water, milk, and juices than contain ONLY fruit like pure 100% orange juice. Diets high in these added sugars can be linked to heart disease that can develop even as children. Their nutrition habits now aren’t to be taken lightly. Just because they are kids doesn’t mean these sugary and processed foods won’t be detrimental to their health.
My biggest question to leave you with: WHY WOULD YOU FEED YOUR CHILD SOMETHING YOU KNOW YOU SHOULD NOT BE EATING YOURSELF?
I could go on & on about how important nutrition and physical activity is for children (and everyone, but the focus here is on your kids!!) and how it carries over into a long and healthy life. Today, tell your kids to PUT DOWN THE IPAD. After school, let them play outside on the swing set, jump on the trampoline, take the dog for a walk, go to the park, play in the dirt, etc. And when they come back inside for dinner, have a healthy & balanced meal waiting for them. They may not LOVE the food you are serving or want to eat their vegetables, but get them to TRY it. Baby steps. Their future self (and their heart, body, mind) will thank you for it.
*Check out the CrossFit Kids Facebook page for tons of ideas for healthy meals, workouts, and great articles about children/health/fitness/nutrition.*
*If you are in the Quakertown area, we have a CrossFit Kids program at CrossFit Q! Visit our website www.crossfitq663.com or head over to our Facebook page, CrossFit Q, for more information! Or reach out to me and we can set something up!*
Another great article for healthy lunch ideas: https://sarahfragoso.com/school-lunch-ideas/
I am passionate about creating a healthy lifestyle for myself & helping those around me.