If you eat healthily, so will your children
As one of six children, you can rightly assume that eating out at restaurants wasn’t a common thing at our house. My daddy was the “master chef and baker”.
We had home-cooked meals at the dinner table.
We took sandwiches made with homemade bread to school or since my momma was at home, joined her for a scrumptious, healthy, well-balanced lunch, most times asking not to go back to school.
My grandma cooked and baked as well and when she did, our weekends would be filled with home-made pancakes topped with spiced ham; we’d spend our evenings baking jam tarts or figuring out the perfect doughnut recipe, size and cook time.
The consumption of processed, ridiculously fattening foods within our household was limited.
We didn’t know any different and, if anything, used to brag about our meals, inclusive of the vegetables on the plate.
All of this to say, the Jacksons were always full — 90 per cent of the time with a balanced plate filled with vegetables, starches and meat.
Fast forward to now, being an adult and witnessing the meals children eat: Lunchables, fruit snacks, juice boxes.
Hot lunches of pizza on a weekly basis and weekends filled with doughnuts, Popsicles and other processed foods of little to no nutritional value.
Childhood obesity is on the rise, specifically in our island home of Bermuda.
Studies reveal that consumption of sugary drinks plays a factor in childhood obesity, paired with increased portion sizes and decreased activity levels.
While it is great to let kids be kids, it is also very important to instil good eating habits from a young age to help combat obesity and other chronic diseases.
You, as parents, are your child’s first major source of developing eating habits. This can either pave the way to a healthy, active lifestyle or a life filled with chronic disease.
I don’t remember my momma or daddy labelling our family treat meals as “bad” as a result; they weren’t any more tempting or desirable than our regular meals.
It also taught us about moderation and balance.
Allowing desserts and sweets to be a part of mealtime makes kids less likely to binge as they know they can have them “any time”.
When clients ask how to “make” their children eat healthy, my most common response is to let them see you eat healthy and enjoy it.
Our children mimic what they see. If you are constantly complaining about exercise or having to eat a healthy meal, they too will develop these habits.
Make healthy eating fun and enjoyable and ensure that your children witness your love for health and fitness. They might not grow to be the avid kale chip eater, but surely they will appreciate a home-cooked meal filled with nature’s best vegetables, healthy grains and, perhaps, meat.
Just as I always remind you to fall in love with taking care of yourself, I ask that you help your children do the same.
Once they become adults, their journey through fitness, wellness and health will be easier, having already been taught the joy of taking care of themselves.
• Dre Hinds is a retired track and field athlete who is now a personal trainer, aerobic and yoga instructor and fitness “addict” with more than 20 years’ experience. She specialises in nutrition, weight and sprint training, operating out of HindsSight Fitness and Wellness at the Berkeley Cultural Centre. Contact her on: firstname.lastname@example.org or 599-0412. Find her on both Facebook and Instagram under @Absbydre
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