As mothers all we really want in the end is to know that we have done the best things possible for our children, right? We take them to the doctor for immunizations and to the dentist to make sure they have healthy gums and teeth. We baby proof our homes so they don’t get hurt. We make them wash their hands after playing and before eating to avoid germs and getting sick. Why then, do some mothers, not put an emphasis on healthy eating and physical activity? It boggles my mind! Healthy eating habits and physical activity are two of the BEST things you could ever do for your child.
I’ve been a stay at home mother, working mother, and now… I’m a single-working mother, so I know ALL of the excuses to not exercise or cook healthy meals. The fact is this…your child can’t learn to eat vegetables if all that is put in front of them is McDonalds. They won’t learn to exercise if they are never taken to a park or thrown a ball. YOU have to teach them these things, just like you taught them to say “ma-ma”. Here are a few tips on healthy eating and exercising.
- BREAKFAST. You’ve heard it before and I’ll say it again…Breakfast IS the most important meal of the day! Think about it this way: If your child eats dinner around 6:00 pm, goes to bed between 8:00-9:00 pm and wakes up to eat breakfast around 6:00 am, that’s 12 WHOLE HOURS their bodies have starved. So you think skipping that is okay? It’s not! Grabbing a box of cereal is NOT the best choice, either. Most cereals are filled with massive amounts of sugar (this goes for instant oatmeal too, so take the time to cook your own), which could cause your child to get a “sugar high” and then crash right in the middle of school.
If your child does want cereal, make it something like Cheerios and add strawberries, blueberries and banana for sweetness. Throw in some bacon for brain powering protein and fat and you have yourself a well-rounded meal.
- Let your child go to the grocery store and pick out a fruit or vegetable they’ve never had before and look up recipes to use it or sample it as soon as you get home. I asked my CFRR Kids to each bring their favorite fruit to class one day. One little boy brought red pears and my son was instantly hooked! Had I never asked the kids to bring their favorite fruits, he probably never would’ve tried them, because I never knew they existed!
- If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Just because they didn’t like your cooked spinach in a bowl, doesn’t mean the next time you make it, they won’t love
it. Note: Spinach can be hidden in almost anything, so I recomment NOT cooking it and serving it up to your child–let’s be honest, it looks like a bowl of slime. I buy frozen chopped spinach, cook it and then mix it in with my ground beef when I make burgers, salisbury steaks and even throw it in with eggs at breakfast time. The earlier you get them used to these types of veggies, the better.
- Don’t dine out or get fast food. OK, so maybe that’s a lot to ask. How about this… save it for special occasions. Restaurant food is loaded with fat, salt,
sugar and is always over proportioned. Fast food is…well….that’s a WHOLE other blog!!
- Play with your kids. Yes, I know you’re tired, but guess what? That’s what you get for being a parent! I work 16 hour days and the last thing I want to do is exercise at 8:00pm, but I do, because I know it benefits my mental health and it creates a bond between my son and I. Right now we are doing the CrossFit Round Rock 2012 push up challenge–2012 push ups until 2012 (60 push ups a day). Make up your own challenge, maybe 30 days of 30 jumping jacks!
- Go to the park. There are TONS of parks in Austin! I remember when my son was younger and our favorite thing to do was go to the park and throw rocks into the water. He would keep me there for HOURS, but I wouldn’t change a thing. It was precious time we got to spend together and get some exercise at the same time.
- Take a walk or go for a bike ride in your neighborhood. You might even make new friends while out!
- Rent a kayak or paddle board and spend the day on Ladybird Lake.
All in all, it doesn’t matter WHAT you do with your children. What does matter is that you peel them away from their TV’s, Xbox’s, and iPods for AT LEAST 60 minutes a day. It’s a great time to talk to your child about their day and teach them a healthy lifestyle at the same time.