There was a time not too long ago when the word “mother or grandmother” brought to mind someone baking cookies in the kitchen. Today’s parent and their parenting style has an entirely different world to deal with than the parents of those generations. Keeping our family healthy and happy is a challenge that we gladly address, but there are few guidelines to help us. We are trying to protect and teach our kids how to live smart.
We live in a fast food, pre-packaged society. Our education system is massive and the workload on our kids is sometimes staggering. We struggle to get food in their stomachs between school, football practice, and dance class. At the end of the day we are exhausted and still, have daily chores to contend with.
But, it is possible to teach our families healthy eating. We have to look beyond the obvious and determine the reasons behind what we do. Let us explain.
#1 Understand food – then use that knowledge. By learning simple concepts you need to learn in order to make your family diet work for you, First, everything you eat has an effect on your body and its chemicals and functions. If you do not eat what you need, you will have cravings. Cravings are the body’s way of telling you something is off. For example you may begin craving orange juice. You are probably low in vitamin C. It is the same for other vitamins and minerals. We have to listen to our bodies.
Any form of exercise uses protein to rebuild muscles after activities. Carbohydrates are instant fuel for when the kids are playing in sports or when a person is using their resources. Fats cannot be replaced with anything else, and you need small amounts in your diet.
#2 Sugar is not the enemy. You and the kids are safe if you follow the 90-10 rule. 90% of your diet should be healthy and 10% indulgences. But, understand what they do. Eating sugar (and refined carbs) gives you an immediate serotonin boost. It makes you feel good. That boost last from 20-60 minutes and then it drops. Then the body hits you a craving because it wants the serotonin. Make a “wait 1-hour rule”. Have your treats. Keep candy and treats on hand for your 10% bonus time. Make them a candy buffet for their birthday party. Simply fill it options that are sugar-free. Mix it up a little if you want and make half sugar-free and half with sugar. No one will even notice.
#3 Make a rule – The bedroom is a no electronic zone. Your brain will respond to the stimulation from electronics. If your child goes to bed with a handheld video game, a tablet or a smartphone to watch movies or play games until they sleep, you are allowing them to stimulate too much mental activity. It will train their minds to have sleep patterns that are unhealthy. Make a rule that the bedroom is a no electronic zone. If you have limited space, then set a firm time when electronics are to be removed from the room.
#4 Use common sense with rewards. People will tell you to never use food as a reward. But the fact is, we do. We use food for celebrations and holidays. Instead, incorporate the reward into their normal routine. If the reward is ice cream, have it after a meal and use it in their 10% normal treat allowance. You are not being dishonest, you are parenting!
#5 Don’t sweat the small stuff. The good thing about the body is it allows you to recover and begin again. If you or they mess up, don’t make it a big deal. Just turn the page and do better tomorrow. Just figure out where you went wrong and support each other through it.