Making Time for Nutrition
March is National Nutrition Month! Focusing on your own health can be straightforward, but when you add kids, jobs, activities, and other stress nutrition is often the first thing to go.
National Nutrition Month® is an annual nutrition education and information campaign created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The campaign, celebrated each year during the month of March, focuses on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits.
Instead of listing all the ways to be healthy, I’m going to share a few tips or things we do as a family to stay healthy and happy. It is one thing to be nutritious and another thing to follow through on it. Life is hard, life is fast, and life is chaotic. So here are a few tips to celebrate National Nutrition Month: Informed Food Choices and Physical Activity Habits.
We try and eat healthy. Try being the operative word.
We eat a lot of meat and veggies in our house. We cook for the entire family and they eat what we eat. I think we as parents cater to our kids too much by asking, “what do you want to eat?” You know, I just worked all day and I’m cooking, so we are eating what mommy and daddy want! If they are hungry enough, they will eat it I promise (and remember they always have to take their “no thank you bite” so I am getting at least a little bit of broccoli in them). They will get the nutrition they need. We also cook a lot instead of going out to eat. This may be a Financial
Survival Tactic now (with 3 kids), but we enjoy cooking and sitting at the table as a family. This also helps us make healthier choices when we are in control and more aware of what is on our plates!
This takes me to my most important point as far as nutrition for kids.
As of now, I am in control of food choices at home. Do my kids have pop? No. What do they drink? Milk or water. Do we have Capri Suns? No, but we have the alternative called Rolling Waters that look just like Capri Suns.
There will be time when they have their own money and can buy what they want, but for now, it is my responsibility to make sure they are making healthy choices. We also try to make healthy snack choices like goldfish instead of chips and yogurt drinks instead of ice cream. Am I saying as a mom that if my kid really wants a hot dog I am not going to make her one? Of course not, but it may be a chicken or turkey sausage. There are so many nutritious choices out there if you are willing to just look and do some research.
We encourage them to make healthy choices about eating.
My daughter is in first grade and they get 5 choices for their lunch. They also get to pick between chocolate and white milk every day. WHY WOULD ANY KID CHOOSE WHITE OVER CHOCOLATE?? I made a deal with my 7 year old. I told her to rotate every other day with her milk choice. I explained that chocolate milk (although delicious) has a lot of sugar in it. Her reply, “ok.” Maybe just explaining that to her, not that sugar is bad or the enemy, but that she has the power to make a smart decision for her body and health. And that is the end goal here, them understanding why making healthy choices is important.
My husband and I try hard to set a good example for healthy eating. Sure kids will always clamor for chicken nuggets and pizza, but if we’re over here eating chicken, rice, and broccoli and encourage them to try new things then it will eventually rub off on them. Still, we’re not perfect. We also talk about food, we discuss good and bad choices we make. We let them help with the cooking, too. Let them see what we are eating and putting in our bodies.
We try our best at home, but don’t get me started on eating out. It’s pretty obvious why there is an obesity problem with young people in this country when all their offered as children at restaurants is a choice between hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken nuggets and pizza. Sure we’ll let them get those things, but we also don’t eat out a ton.
Pro tip: It’s fine to indulge your kids in the limited kids offerings at most restaurants, but try substituting fruit or salad instead of fries.
People are usually happy to oblige.
Exercise For Me
The gym is important in our house. I love my Pure Barre!! You may have heard me talk about it in some of my other posts. I am an instructor and I also take class on a regular basis. Saying I am addicted would be an understatement. I feel like barre is not only for my physical but my mental health. It is an hour to me to not think, not do for others, it is just for me. It also is a social time, I love all of my friends there, and we have a close community of strong people that support each other. It is amazing.
Exercise For My Husband
My husband loves Cross Fit and playing various sports. In a house of all girls, I think this is his time to lift weights, feel strong, because he knows when he gets home its back to bows and barbies. We plan our work out schedules each week. I go a few early morning (and yes I mean we go at 5:30am) and he goes a couple. We then rotate afternoons, it is usually him in the afternoons because then I can get off work and get the kids early.
We don’t want working out to be more important than family, but we also want to make sure we are getting to do what interests us and keeps us fit. This also sets an example to our girls. My girls 100% know what Pure Barre is. They talk about it all the time—they incorporate it into their pictures of me. They know exercise is part of our weekly routines. Seeing it being important to us and this makes me hope it will be important to them one day.
We also encourage healthy exercise and play.
We put the kids in physical activities. Soccer, basketball, dance, golf, gymnastics…Omaha has so much to offer. These are activities that are fun for them while they also exercise. We also go on family walks, scooter rides, bike rides. This is family time and exercise time. They know that exercise is important to their parents and that makes it important to them.
We’re nowhere near perfect with nutrition or in perfect health but we know that setting a good example for our kids is one of the best ways to encourage them to be healthy and have a positive body image.
Be sure to visit the Academy’s National Nutrition Month® website for new and updated resources. Any questions can also be directed to [email protected]