As you know I am a big advocate of teaching kids at a very young age the power of exercise for confidence boosting and the importance of making healthy choices when it comes to mealtimes.
Of course I allow my kids plenty of junk food- please- if i didn’t they would still manage to find it on their own in school and at friends houses- but i DO TRY and encourage them to appreciate the flavors and nutrients in clean eating.
For instance, most nights When I serve them salmon and salad dressed with olive oil and balsamic I point out the Omega 3’s and healthy fats they are treating their heart to. When we all typically start our day off with 100 % rolled oats or a parfait made of greek yogurt, kashi and berries- I point out the fiber for digestion, complex carbs for energy and vitamins for healthy and radiant skin and organs that they are feeding their bodies to kick start their very active day.
Not sure if they are listening but it makes me feel good that I am teaching even if it’s to no one (story of my life).
So when someone I know – a very overweight person – told my girls that they should EAT AS MUCH JUNK FOOD and ice cream as they can NOW when they are YOUNG – because – as she put it:
“ Now is when you can get away with it.”
I had to think twice and remind them that – NO – on the contrary – HEALTHY habits MUST start at an EARLY age. Teach them YOUNG. Teach them RIGHT.
(Mind you this friend has had weight problems her entire life- even as a young child so I’m not quite sure where she gets the idea that kids can get away with eating as much crap as they want given she was on Weight Watchers at age 10 …..but that’s another blog.)
But it is just like the whole Nanny Bloomberg issue that I wrote about yesterday- the OBESITY “epidemic” is starting in our schools at prepubescent ages- which begs the question: at WHAT point do we not only take away fountain drinks from school cafeterias but FINALLY remove the ice cream truck from the playgrounds?????
Oh no she DID-N’T!……I know what you’re thinking – she’s gone TOO FAR now- she is some piece of work – that nutjob has the nerve to even bring up the IDEA of taking away an age old symbol of youth- an icon in the playground- the ICE CREAM TRUCK – but let me assure you: Your kids will SURVIVE sliding down the slides and swinging on the swings without ice cream immediately afterwards.
I see it all the time- parents FEEDING their children instead of taking the TIME to DISCIPLINE them.
The kid cries or whines and the parent has no patience (lord knows I don’t have much patience either)- so they shove food into their little mouths to shut them up.
I learned early on from a great mentor to never reward or punish my kids – in other words – SUBSTITUTE DISCIPLINE – with food.
In my opinion, candy is not a gift for good behavior or something to stop the whining. (Although I DO recall as a kid being forced to take piano lessons from the old lady across the street and every time i hit the correct note – which was not often since i never practiced and opted to climb trees and swing from monkey bars instead- she would give me a piece of candy corn. To this day I think of her every Halloween.)
But the bottom line is this…..
TEACH your children young -they are a lot smarter and adaptable than you may be giving them credit for.
At snack time I guarantee you if you put a plate of crudite (that’s cut up vegetables for you plebeians out there) with a bowl of Hummus on a really nice platter, your kids – your HUNGRY kids -will devour it !…. ONLY IF there is no other option available at the time. OF COURSE they will opt for the potato chips instead if that is given as an alternative- who wouldn’t? – so just don’t present it to them until they’ve eaten their healthy meal.
I try to always have HEALTHY dinner prepared for when the kids come home from school- fish or chicken, sushi or omelets-even a simple bowl of edemame- i make salad fun by adding whole grain Taco Shells to stuff the lettuce into. Once or twice a week they get chicken nuggets or pasta but they don’t even ask for it anymore….they are used to having RICK PROTEIN sources.
Even the BBQ -which we love to use often- can offer healthy options like corn and vegetable kabob skewers with grilled chicken.
It may be a pain in the Arse because it takes TIME AND PATIENCE to prepare healthy options but in the end its worth it.
Use your words to shut your child up- or HIT them-(kidding….yeesh– really??) whatever you choose as a method to discipline and teach the child not to ask for negative attention by whining for snacks – just don’t shove FOOD into their mouths when they CRY. They will thank you when they are older and SLIMMER.
Now for some Eddie Murphy back when he was still funny: