Parent Affirmation Monday- Healthy Eating 7/23/2012
Written by, Kate Oliver, MSW, LCSW-C
It’s the middle of the summer. Schedules are out of whack and ever-changing. We have vacations and might be spending more meals on the go or out at restaurants. Summer can be brutal to a healthy diet, especially if we take the old approach of telling ourselves what not to eat, instead of focusing on what to eat. It might not seem like a big difference, but focusing on what to eat over what not to eat can make a big difference. Think of it as looking for abundance rather than deprivation. Which sounds better to you? Try this affirmation for the week to see about getting your health back on track or keeping it healthy.
I nourish myself by joyfully eating healthy foods and sharing them with my family.
What does this have to do with parenting? Two major things happen as a result of joyfully eating healthy foods. The first is, of course, setting a good example for your children. Then, when you talk to them about the importance of healthy eating, they are more likely to listen. I have picture up in my office that says:
Children often fail to do as we say but seldom fail to do as we do.
It is so true. Second, eating healthy foods is an important, and often overlooked part of regulating emotions. Have you ever noticed that you were in a foul mood because you were hungry or ate junk all day? Later this week, I will be posting about what to do when your child is acting just plain nasty and take a closer look at some of the ways food can play into foul moods.
One sticking point I know some parents will have with this affirmation is the feeling they have about children who refuse to try healthy food. I have one of these in my home. I am not asking you to pretend this is not a struggle. I am asking you to reframe this issue. Rather than focusing on what your child is not doing, I would encourage you to model what you are doing, eating healthy, feeling good, looking at healthy foods with excitement and savoring the way they taste. By doing this, you greatly increase the chances of your child following suit. If you do not feel excited about the healthy foods you are eating, perhaps you are eating the wrong healthy foods for you. While I am not a dietician, I do try to be aware to these things and I can tell you a simple rule I have learned: if it has been processed and comes in a package, it is not as healthy as something that was picked and sent right to your grocery store, roadside stand, or, best of all, came from your vegetable garden. One resource I have come to trust is the website Everyday Health. If you are looking for more information about making healthy food choices, I would suggest you check them out or go to your family physician for resources or referrals.
What healthy foods do you enjoy with your children? Please share any ways that you have been creative in finding healthy food choices for you and your family.
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