Guest Post: Laying Down The Foundation for Healthy Children

Today’s guest post is by one of my favorite bloggers Kalley C. She is so inspiring to me with her posts and insights make sure you check out her blog Blogging while Nursing and make sure you follow her on twitter @kalleyc. Keeping with the theme of the month Kalley C has written a great piece on how to lay the foundation for healthy children.

A few years ago, a friend of mine was telling me about her kid sister who was overweight with cholesterol problems.  Her sister was 11 years old.

The little girl was eating everything that her parents made, and ate what was in the house.  My friend also said that her sister was frustrated because it seemed like nothing was working.

Here is the advice that I gave my friend, that I wish someone gave to my family when I was younger and very overweight:

  1. Family must be a safe haven.

You may not like to see a child who is overweight in your family, but the worst things you can do is throw out insults.

Every mean word you say is driving a wedge in the relationship.

If that child cannot come to their family and talk about what’s really bothering them, and share how they feel, then who or what do you think they’ll turn to

2. You must lead by example.

In order to seek the change in your child’s eating behavior, you must give your child the tools to make those changes long lasting.

That would mean that you too will have to make that change with them.  Let them know that they are not on this road alone, and you’re willing to go through with it them.

If possible, get the whole family on board–now that’s support

3. Talk about nutrition and energy (calories).

Talk about what energy is. Talk about instant energy vs. long term energy.  Talk about how the type of foods would make them feel after they consume them.

Just like we had to learn our ABC’s and 123’s, learning about nutrition is something that every child should know in the long run, and every parent should think about teaching.

4. Read Labels

This not only goes hand in hand with nutrition understanding but it also gives a wealth of information about portion size.  You can do an exercise by having the child take up X food they think it’s a portion and compare it to the portion that is on the label.

You’ll be surprised at the difference.

5. Get them involved with meals

I don’t know about you, but I can’t stand trying to follow someone else’s menu plan. Especially if it’s not food that I’m used to eating, and not sure if it’s good.

But, if that child was involved in the menu plan or even picking some dishes that they think looks tasty, they will see that getting healthy does not have to be a boring event.

I would suggest looking up recipes online or maybe going to a book store and picking out a book that both of you like.

Don’t forget to read the ingredients and nutrition information if it has it.

6. Get Moving

One way to increase our energy out is to get moving.  Go for a walk with them.  Okay, who am I kidding, these days, kids like TV.

I say get a workout game that tracks their progress.  It can be fun, and gets them moving.

Personally, I hate to work out, but I love Wii Fit.  To me it doesn’t even feel like I’m working out.  My daughter loves watching me work out, and even joins in the fun.

7. Never Use the word D-I-E-T!

I hate that word–really I do.  It always means temporary changes, nothing long term.  It’s also filled with the expectation that things will be excluded or denied to you.

It’s going to be a lifestyle change, that means you don’t exclude if you don’t want to.  If they are craving chocolate ice-cream, I don’t see anything wrong with giving it to them.

They will (and you will) have to learn how to incorporate these things within their menu plan.  If you don’t, when they do lose weight, they will end up gaining it all back.

One lesson that they can take away from it, is that it’s okay to have it, just the right portion size and in moderation.

8. Consider keeping a Food Diary

Be it online, on a phone, pen or paper; you won’t know how much you ate, unless you look at it.

At the end of the day, they can see if they ate balanced meals.  This works well if you plan menus.  You can plan snacks in the menu plan and keep track of how much energy they are taking in, you can also keep track of their workouts.

There you have it folks, everything I wish someone told my family years ago.

Making a lifestyle change for kids and your family doesn’t have to be hard or expensive.  Small steps and small changes makes a big difference down the line.



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19 Responses to Guest Post: Laying Down The Foundation for Healthy Children

  1. Brenda says:

    Awesome post! I really feel bad for obese children because you know it’s not today their fault. It starts with the parents. So sad.

    • KalleyC says:

      I agree Brenda, it’s very sad. We parents are the ones that are setting up our children’s health that way, but hopefully, if we are aware, we can be the ones that can change it for the better.

  2. KalleyC says:

    Thank you so much Kita for allowing me to guest post today about health. I love how you opened up the new year by talking about health.

  3. Great Post! I saw this first hand in my own family with a cousin who was VERY overweight. Hher family always pointed out how fat she was, how much she weighed and it was very hurtful to her I always say that it left a long lasting impact on her. If her family had only done some of the above suggested things, I think it would have made a world of difference.

    • KalleyC says:

      Thank you! You know, family may think they are doing a good thing, but you’re right. I’m sure it has left a lasting impact on her. I’ve had that experience myself, and unfortunately, you don’t ever forget.

  4. Latorsha says:

    When I got my email alert and saw two of my favorite blog buddies had teamed up I had to stop and head right over!!
    I love this information Kalley! Health is a topic that is dear to my heart. Education is so key to healthier children and families. Also, I think lifestyle change is a big factor, sometimes families fall into doing what their parents & grandparents did. Well, we have to remember our parents and grandparents might not have had the access to information that we have but they did the best they could. Now it is up to us to use the information that we have and do the best that we can.

    • KalleyC says:

      Thanks Latorsha! Yup, it’s true. Our parents and grandparents did not have the information that we have now. Because of our access, we are very lucky, and we should really take advantage of it.

  5. Good post and information you shared! God Bless :)

  6. Denise says:

    I really like this – simple, healthy advice.
    And I LOVE the idea of never using the word DIET! Great idea, keeps things positive and focus on healthy living.

    • KalleyC says:

      Thank you Denise. I always used to hate hearing the word diet growing up, I’m sure there are scores of kids who probably dread hearing the word too. As long as we keep it fun, there is no limit to how healthy we can get.

  7. Mrs. Pancakes says:

    These are all great points… I don’t have any children yet but I would think it would start from home!

  8. Great post Kalley! All great points and I agree 100 percent. It all starts at home. The habits and the support. Focusing on healthy habits and having the support of your family is priceless.

  9. Michelle says:

    Awesome post! I especially love #1 – a supportive, positive family circle helps wonders!!! I was on the opposite end of the spectrum (always below my target weight up until my oldest son was born) but I can so relate to this because I endured lots of teasing and constantly being forced to eat more than my poor little stomach could handle by relatives who thought they knew what was best for me.

  10. Baby Shopaholic says:

    Great info! I try hard to keep baby from the bad stuff but I afraid P is on the wrong track. She will not eat veggies. It’s a work in progress.

  11. Awesome post! healthy habits come must be instilled by the parents and reinforced by the whole family. My 2 year old loves healthy food, even drinks our homemade veggie juices. I don’t allow family or friends to give her candy or sugary treats. It pisses some of them off, but she’s my child so I don’t care.

  12. Jessica says:

    I love this post! I love your tips and I especially love that you take a comprehensive view on the topic of raising healthy children. I think as adults, we play such a huge role in the health of our children. We are their models. If we eat right and bring the right foods home, our children will have no choice but to follow suit.

  13. Mimi says:

    I think there is really no excuse these days to have overweight children. The information is out there. It starts at home. As a child I wasn’t allowed to eat sugary cereals. As a result I still only eat Raisin Bran or oatmeal for breakfast and I have my children on the same track.

    I don’t get parents who make comments about their child’s weight when they are the culprit. I think parents have to take the blame and do what they need to fix it. I feel sorry for these children.

  14. GG says:

    This is a very insightful post. I think that many parents find themselves with overweight, unhealthy children because their own eating habits are unhealthy. I agree with Mimi though, that there’s really no excuse because as parents we are responsible for feeding our children healthy food and teaching them the things you’ve detailed above….and what we don’t know we must learn for their sake. What better incentive to change than seeing your own children compromised? I’m sure there’s also some level of enabling, you know? Some parents feed their kids to keep them busy or to “make them happy”… Such a dangerous misperception….

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