Gabrielle Reece gives us some really philosophical and easy-to-adopt tips for parents establishing good eating habits in children. It is critically important for parents to ensure they set their child on a lifetime of healthy living so they can excel instead of being bogged down with all the complications of living an unhealthy lifestyle. Let's teach our children the language of good health. For Gabrielle Reece's other interviews please click on link:Exercise Consistency and Organizing Food.
Gabrielle Reilly: So what are your tips for getting kids to eat healthy food?
Gabrielle Reece: Well I don't make foods a forbidden fruit because culturally, they have friends and they go to their house and they can obsess on it. So first it's more about teaching them what's food and what's fun. My kids understand which food serves you well and which is just for fun. Don't let them think that a Happy Meal is a real meal!
Even when we do the gluten free pasta, ultimately they know it is more of a treat kind of food. I don't make things forbidden or you will create a whole other set of issues that you are going to have to undo.
Then there is the real conversation. For example my girls eat oatmeal but my youngest daughter oddly, has a smoothie every morning with her father. It has all the greens in it and that is what she goes for. Then for my oldest girl I make oatmeal or eggs in bread where you cut a hole out of the bread and fry the egg in the bread. So for something different my 8 year old might say "can we have French toast" during the week and I say "no we can do that on a Sunday." So I get sprouted bread and use real Maple Syrup so it tastes great, but it's just a little bit better.
It's about getting them in regular patterns. I also have tried to teach my children to allow for sugar by eating fun food rather than drinking sugar. They kind of understand that if they felt like a soda was important, a chocolate chip cookie would be more important. They understand that there is actually more sugar in these drinks than there is in food that is really fun. So they gear towards drinking water so they can lobby for a treat after.
They have learned with me, that if I see a balance and they are eating decently, when they ask for a treat like a chocolate covered almond then they will generally get a "yes" from me. But if I see a juice being drank etc that by the time they get to what they really want I will say "we have had so much junk today."
Like any kid it is a constant negotiation but I aim to try to cook enough food that is good for my kids that they like eating so it's not torture. One of my girls even likes eating brussel sprouts! It is about offering healthy things that taste good but don't tell them "don't have that." As humans, the minute you tell us we can't have something, then that is all I want.
Gabrielle Reilly: Absolutely, I raise my kids with a very similar philosophy. On Sundays we can get Krispy Kreme donuts and then the rest of the week we are "fueling our machine with healthy, yummy food for full throttle." When we eat something I regularly remind them of what they will gain by eating each food like "wow, this will make our skin beautiful," or "this will help you run super fast," or "the protein won't assimilate into your body without fruit and veggies so it's really important if you want great muscles to eat your veggies with your protein." Information gives them power and motivation.
Yes, I avoid the soda (soft drink) too. In fact, most sodas just taste nasty at first and then you acquire a taste for them. People often drink it for the dream they are sold by Coke-a-Cola style advertising. So I decided to create the dream with my own real lifestyle ad to encourage my kids to love drinking water. When my kids were still in a stroller I would walk them around a lake and we would sporadically stop at a beautiful spot. The three of us had a water bottle each and at the same time we would say "ahhh, refreshing H2O," take a sip, and all giggle together like a scene from a Coke ad. They never even wanted soda until they were about 11 and we only reserve it for special occasions or holidays.
Gabrielle Reece: Well I think that is such a great point about the creativity of how you teach them. Soda tastes like crap if you haven't been exposed to it. Your palette is not geared to drink something that sweet. I think you're right, if you keep it at bay and set their taste palette so when they go to a birthday party and get it, they don't really enjoy it.
Gabrielle Reilly: Exactly, you help form their tastes. I never had to tell them "don't drink soda," they just didn't want to. A parent creates a lifetime of eating habits for their children. People always refer back to childhood comfort foods so we better make sure the comfort foods we are giving them are not only yummy, but healthy too. I don't want to be responsible for them having to struggle with weight and health issues for the rest of their lives because of poor eating as a child. I really encourage parents to give their children a solid healthy foundation so they can focus on excelling and being happy in life. This is critically important!
Gabrielle Reece: That's it. My Mum was pretty healthy, I've always been pretty healthy but I've always had a thing for chocolate, I won't give up my chocolate.
I did go through a phase for whatever reason in my mid 20's, when I drunk Pepsi but when I hit my early 30's I really thought about it "really, am I going to drink this stuff?" So I think we all go through phases but if we have a good foundation, it is like your morals; you will always go back to the right thing. It is like when teenagers spin out for a second, you have to have that confidence that you gave them a solid foundation so once there hormones drop, they will get sane again. It's not so dissimilar.
When people say to me I inherited these genetics from my parents it's like, no I inherited the life style. Yes, you do inherit the genetics and I'm not down playing that, but ultimately it is the lifestyle. It is passing that lifestyle down to your kids. For example, in my house we don't use a microwave. So I'm guessing my kids won't unless they are in college and taking care of themselves for the first time. They don't think they will use one because it is not part of their language.
Gabrielle Reilly: This is such a wise and important information for people to help raise healthy kids. Thanks so much Gabby.
Stay tuned for our next interview with Gabrielle Reece.