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Children hear, see and mimic what they learn at home. You may not think they’re watching, but typically they don’t miss a beat! At times you may¬†feel like you’re talking or preaching to a wall, but they’re listening. Even if they don’t retain 100% of it, if even half of what we discuss winds its way into their little brains, we have succeeded! Health and fitness must be taught in the home in order to support what they learn in the school programs targeting childhood obesity. It’s in everyone’s best interest if we teach by example.

Here are a few examples of how I have converted my Ho Ho and Oreo loving daughters into health conscious, label reading girls:

  • Discuss the importance of eating and how it fuels your body – our bodies need food, and enough of it, to properly fuel our bodies for the day. We also discuss how our body starts to shut down if we are not eating enough, which is an important point to drive home as I raise my daughters.
  • Review processed foods verses whole, natural foods, and the health benefits of eating the amazing food provided by nature!
  • Education: let them research and learn about some of the “ingredients” in their favorite old foods. Once they realize that a certain ingredient found in macaroni and cheese is also found in shampoo used to kill lice, it makes mom’s job much easier. Do we still eat mac and cheese? Sure do; however we buy whole wheat noodles, mix with a brick of cheese that we shred, and use skim milk. Problem solved.
  • Create a family R&D team- make it fun to do research and develop new ways to “health-ify” some of their favorites! I have one daughter who’s currently researching why sugar and artificial sweeteners are unhealthy. Her goal is to find alternatives to use in everyday life as well as baking (ie: Pure Maple syrup, Pure Raw Honey, Stevia, etc).

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With childhood obesity creating so many life threatening illnesses, this is an important issue to make a top priority and hot topic in all of our homes!

Grapefruit photo credit: simpologist via Compfight cc