Friday, February 29, 2008

Are you depriving your kids to make them healthy?

When it comes to children, it can be very difficult to help them be healthy in our culture. It becomes even more important not to take away things but replace things. So, for example, "candy" at our house is carob chips with a healthy sweetener. And sometimes I make chocolate milk or hot chocolate with organic cocoa powder and honey and milk. UMMM! I'm not so sure I should be recommending chocolate, but I do recommend finding a treat that's healthy or (semi-healthy). And the other day my husband mixed honey and organic cocoa powder to make chocolate sauce for pancakes. WOW!

We make our own macaroni and cheese and our own chicken nuggets. Both of these are more work than the average meal, but some of the girls' favorites. And it's critical to me that my children know that healthy can be fun, yummy, and even sweet. Otherwise they'll go to someone else's house and pig out. And my oldest daughter doesn't even like regular macaroni and cheese anymore. I think she's developing a taste for truly good food.

A pet peeve of mine is how frequently candy is handed out to children. If you consider that sugar is not only bad for your teeth, but connected to heart disease, diabetes, and suppressed immune function, these acts of "kindness" no longer seem kind. Everyone has to find there only solution to this problem, but my daughter has learned to so no to any candy offered and if she doesn't get a replacement, I will offer her something when she gets home. Sometimes it's a healthy treat--sometimes it's a bit of money toward something she's saving up for. And she's quite ok with this. Of course, since we homeschool, this does not happen as often as it may for others. But I think it's not a big deal, b/c we have healthy treats often.

And be sure and help your kids see that the food you don't want them to have can make them vunerable to catching colds and likely to have real health problems when they are adults. It does help my daughter to understand that she doesn't want to end up sick like mommy! I mean who wants to be miserable for a week or a life just to have store bought candy. Especially if there's homemade goodness available.

The moral of the story: desserts may be healthy! Especially when they increase will-power to say no to the real junk.

And if you don't have children, you can apply this to your "inner child". Don't deprive yourself either!! Enjoy the goodness of created, natural food and you won't want to go back! Don't give up foods--replace them. And you will make it for the long haul on your health journey.

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