Help Your Kids Develop Healthy Habits
Wellness expert Brooke Thomas shares her advice.
From Brooke: When I was a kid, I knew it would be a good day when a classmate had a birthday—before the day was over, a mom would show up with a big box of donuts or cupcakes. I mean, who doesn’t like a good celebration?! Now that I have kids in school, it seems like there's a celebration every other day, and treats are a weekly occurrence. Our kids face temptations at every turn. The solution is to teach them good habits while they are little so that they're equipped to make healthy choices for themselves as they grow.
Be a role model
I try to educate my girls on why I choose certain foods over another. When we're shopping or cooking together, I explain that certain foods can affect their moods, help their brains perform better in school or help their bodies perform better as athletes.
Take them to the grocery store
Kids often learn best when you show them, rather than tell them. Show them the funny sounding names of the ingredients in processed foods. Let them pick out their own healthy snacks for after school. Understanding how food works and what labels mean gives them power to decide.
Have fun in the kitchen
Go ahead and let your kids help with the meal planning. I understand that sometimes it’s easier to get dinner on the table if you just do it yourself, but if your kids help you make a healthy dish, they'll be more likely to eat it. My daughters and I blast their favorite music while we talk and cook.
Never use the word "skinny"
Talking about being "skinny" can send a dangerous message about food. We don’t want children to feel bad about their bodies. Talk about how food can make them strong, healthy, energetic and happy. Your kids won’t always make the choices you want them to make about food, but keeping the lines of communication open around their health, their bodies and how food relates to all of it is a good step toward a healthier future. I am all about living life to the fullest. There’s nothing wrong with celebrating on occasion and enjoying a treat. Just remember that not all treats need to be packed full of sugar and fat. There are healthier options that are every bit as delicious, like my easy weeknight bison cups or happy tummy lasagna.
Sweet Potato FriesBy Brooke Thomas
Toss sweet potato wedges in oil, salt and pepper.
Spread the potato strips out on a baking sheet.
Bake about 20 minutes until browned and tender, turning once about.
Black Bean Brownie CupcakesBy Brooke Thomas from 360YourLife
Add chocolate chips by hand and stir well.
Grease a muffin/cupcake pan with coconut oil and pour in batter.
Bake at 350° for 35-40 minutes.
Fabulous FudgesiclesBy Brooke Thomas from 360YourLife
Pour into molds and freeze.
For more from Brooke, see her recent columns and visit her online at 360 Your Life. She offers free recipes and practical solutions for healthy living each month in her weekly newsletter. Sign up on her website. Images courtesy of Brooke Thomas.