Here’s a great blog post from our friends at modPALEO. Your kids are listening to the way you talk about food and watching the way you act around food. Take the opportunity to start a conversation.
A few weeks ago, as my daughter was having a snack, she looked at me and asked me how many calories were in it. She is eight.
I have to admit, I was both shocked and saddened to think that these questions already permeate the minds of second-graders, but that’s the sad truth. My immediate reaction to her was to brush off the comment with a one-liner, “Don’t worry about fat or caloric content on nutrition labels.” But thinking on it for a second, I recognized a learning opportunity.
I slowly explained that the most important part of a nutrition label is the ingredients list. I grabbed a couple of items from the pantry – some off of the “treat” shelf. Together we pored over the list of ingredients in each item and decided what we thought were “healthier” snack options versus “less ideal” options. I try to make a conscious effort to not label food items as “good” or “bad”.
Over the course of this conversation with my daughter, I realized that the didactic approach that I had been taking with food – eat this, not that – is not sustainable. Kids are going to be faced with countless food decisions in the days and years to come. The best thing we, as parents, can do for them is arm them with decision-making tools and know-how.
So, I’ve decided to take summer break as an opportunity to teach my kids about nutrition. I have to say, just two weeks into this adventure, things are going really well. For those who are interested in teaching moments this summer, here are three ways to engage your children about nutrition:
1. Take your kids with you to the grocery store. This is one of the most important steps you can take in teaching them about nutrition – make them a part of the food choices!! Have them pick out a different vegetable each week that they would be willing to try, or ask them to pick out a different colored vegetable for different days of the week. By including the kiddos in these decisions, you greatly increase the likelihood that they will try, eat, and enjoy new foods.
2. Look at labels and talk about them. When kids reach for a product at the store, take that opportunity to look at the list of ingredients. Ask your kids about the ingredients – do they recognize them? Identify chemicals and added sugars and explain how they can negatively impact health. Let your kids know that if they can recognize the vast majority of the ingredients as things they can find in your pantry, then generally it’s a pretty good snack. Then let them identify a good snack to bring home.
3. Use this opportunity to swap out snacks. We definitely go through more snacks during the summer months than at other times during the year. If we are home, the kids are always migrating towards the pantry, and if we are heading out and about, we are always sure to throw snacks in our bag. Here are some of the swaps we’ve made so far, and they’ve been met with success:
- Dried mango slices – these are like nature’s Fruit Roll-ups. Seriously, try them. But, be sure to look for the brands with no added sugar.
- Try Larabars instead of granola bars – this is a neat one to have the kids look at the ingredients list. They are shocked to see how just three ingredients can make something taste so good!
- Instead of ice cream or popsicles, try frozen chocolate covered bananas for a cool treat! You can buy these at most grocery stores, but homemade is best!
- Skip Chex Mix and make your own trail mix with toasted coconut, your choice of nuts and dried fruit, and even a handful of dark chocolate chips!
- Instead of cookies, opt for macaroons – homemade are even better!
- Ditch the crackers and reach for plantain chips. They still provide a salty, crunchy snack, but are more of a whole food choice.
I’m feeling positive about the success I’ve had thus far with my kiddos and I’m looking forward to the months to come. I’ll keep you posted on my new food ventures and will hopefully have more tips to share!
Arm/Leg Swings x 10
2 Rounds of:
35 DU’s/50 Singles
10 Good Mornings
10 DB/KB Straight-leg Deadlifts
3 rounds of:
7 Deadlifts 255/135
14 Box Over Jumps 24/20
21 Weighted Abmat Sit Ups 25/15
WEDNESDAY IS BRING A FRIEND DAY! Bring a friend to any class time for a fun free WOD.