REAL, FRUGAL, HEALTHY, and FUN!!!
With Easter around the corner, I thought I’d share a post about why I will be hiding some candy-filled eggs for my kids, and why I don’t feel it’s counterproductive in raising healthy kids. In fact, I think it’s beneficial to teach them moderation and how to enjoy the occasional treat.
We don’t deny them
We all want to give a better life to our kids than we had ourselves. Even if we lived a great life, we want an even greater life for our kiddos. With health news spreading across social media, tabloids, and television there’s a growing trend to become “healthier.” We’re seeing all of the things we were doing wrong, and we’re trying to correct them. It’s easy to want to take control of your kids’ health. While we struggle to curb our sugar cravings, we feel like we are doing our kids a favor by never introducing our kids to the delicious sweetness. Maybe you love McDonald’s fries, and you’re trying to spare your kids from the greasy goodness, while you fight the urge to get a big mac combo. After all, you want more for them, right? Well, not quite. By withholding the “forbidden foods” you don’t prepare them for when they are out with friends, at a school party, and especially when they grow up. And once they partake, and it tastes good, they’ll just want more.
We teach them
I’m trying to teach my kids so that they can make healthy decisions on their own. I’m always talking to my kids about what they’re eating. I want them to understand. I keep it very casual and in terms they understand. There’s no pressure or rules. I never tell them any food is forbidden. I praise them when they make healthy choices. They kno that healthy means it’s good for them. They know that some things are meant to be treats. They know that some things are good for their eyes, their skin, their muscles, and their bones.
We explain the benefits of eating healthy
A couple of weeks ago, I made roasted red cabbage. The boys weren’t crazy about it. They asked if they had to eat their cabbage. I picked up my ipad and pulled up the health benefits of red cabbage. We went through the list. They’re attitudes toward the red cabbage changed. They wanted to get the health benefits.
We talk about how it can help them, personally
My 4 year-old has been trying to avoid most vegetables lately. He’s not eating as much fruit either. He’s trying to live on peanut butter. I just remind him that fruits and vegetables will make it easier to poop (he’s struggling lately). Sometimes he’ll agree to a fruit or a vegetable. Sometimes he’s hard-headed. I just say, ok, you’re the one who has to push the poop out.
Fast food is not off-limits
My boys used to ask why we don’t go to McDonald’s or Burger King as much as their friends. I would tell them, they aren’t the healthiest places, so we can only go there as a treat, once in a while. They’ve accepted that, and they don’t ask to go to places like that very often anymore.
Teach them the difference
They know when mommy makes cookies, she uses wholesome ingredients. They know when daddy splurges on Toll House, it’s an occasional treat. They enjoy both for what they are.
Lead by example
I start each day with my blueberry-smothered protein oat pancakes. Most mornings it’s just my 4 year-old and I at breakfast time. He sees me get the oatmeal out for my pancakes, so he asks for his special oatmeal. When I make my green protein shakes, my 6 year-old always asks me to make extra so he can have some.
We do treats
The boys know that every Saturday, I get my cheat meal. They know it’s my reward for eating really healthy, clean, and wholesome all week long. This is when they know they can order a soda, because I never stock the fridge with soda (I tell them they are welcome to stock it with their own). They also know that Halloween, Christmas, and Easter mean candy and treats.
For Easter, we do some chocolate and candy
With Easter around the corner, I notice some extreme approaches. This is fine. To each their own. There are those who try to completely take the candy and chocolate out of the holiday by replacing it with toys and things. There are those who try to make it all homemade or buy it all organic. Then, on the opposite end of the spectrum, there are those who stock up on the candy and chocolate like crazy! I mean, huge chocolate bunnies, and every type of chocolate and jelly egg imaginable. I try to land somewhere in the middle. I want my kids to experience the fun in finding a chocolate bunny (not the crazy, huge one). I want them to experience finding an egg full of jelly beans. After that, I like Annie’s organic crackers, real fruit snacks, chocolate or yogurt covered raisins, and fun little toys. I want my kids to learn how to enjoy holidays with a healthy perspective. This means moderation, not denial of traditional treats.
Balance in all things, even celebrations!
While I disagree with the mindset that every social event requires food to make it official, there are some events where food is absolutely traditional. Christmas dinner, Easter, Birthdays, Halloween, and Thanksgiving are just a few. While I’m not saying everyone needs to completely throw out their healthy standards to enjoy these, I am saying it’s good to loosen up and enjoy them. I want my kids to trick-or-treat. I want them to eat birthday cakes. I’m teaching my kids about healthy eating so that they can follow a balanced, nutritious lifestyle. I’m not raising them to be hermits, living off their own organic farms with no friends, and no fun in their lives.
We do the best we can, and then we relax and enjoy!
I know some people make all of their own holiday foods and birthday foods so they are wholesome and nutritious. I love that! I think it’s great. With social media there are so many recipes available. I try to do this when we’re home for the holiday. I let my kids know how excited I am to be making it. If we’re away for the holiday, I eat the best I can and I might have a little treat. I let my kids see the way I eat. I might encourage them to make some nutritious choices, but it’s a holiday and I want them to enjoy it. I let them do their thing. I want my kids to understand moderation and treats, in addition to nutrition.
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