What is Healthy Eating for Kids?
Before I read this hard-hitting post by Ariel Harris, I thought my children were pretty healthy eaters.
After all, they both enjoy fresh fruit and vegetables and eat fruit and veg every/most days. Right?
But…What is Healthy Eating for Kids?
Is it being sure to include the good stuff or is it eliminating the bad stuff?
Or is it somewhere in-between? You decide.
Personally, I think it’s time for me to look a lot deeper into this question – not just for my kids, but for me too. First, become more conscious of what I’m feeding my body, then teach by example.
Guest Post – Ariel Harris
When my kids were very little, I was not a mainstream mom. I was one of those moms that did not allow sugar, food dye, or processed foods. This at the time, so many, umm, many, years ago, was really novel.
Okay, call me a hippie mama.
And of course, once my kids started school, the concept of regulating their foods, became shall we say, a bit more problematic.
So, when my son was invited to his first classmate’s birthday party, I had my antenna up. I had this sense that something might just change on this day. It would be the first time he would taste sugar and ingest food dye!
And wow, was I right.
THE EFFECT OF PROCESSED FOODS AND DYES
I had somehow naively hoped that the cake would not attract him. But of course, my head was in the clouds. Not only did the cake catch his eye, but also the chocolate candy. And of course, by the handfuls!
All of a sudden, I think I saw a whirlwind of something that looked like my son. But of course, I could not actually say for sure. He was running at such a high speed! In constant, agitating, motion.
He was completely out of control. I mean completely. Running at full speed, chattering so fast, it was not possible to understand him, and he seemed like he was jumping out of his skin.
On one hand it was, forgive me for saying this, hysterical to watch, how could one person have this much continued energy? It was like watching someone on fast forward.
On the other hand, I was truly frantic.
How could I help him? He was experiencing a sugar rush of such a high that I had no idea of what to do to defuse his reaction. And he had red, blue and green food dye.
The only thing I could do is take him out of the situation. Sweeping him into the car, I was really hoping that he could handle the short car ride being contained. I got him home, put him in a hot bath and then had him run around outside. Hoping he would sweat it out.
He was so unaccustomed to this sensation it seemed to both excite and worry him. I was truly trying not to cry and cause him more alarm.
I just kept reassuring him that this was a chemical reaction to the sugar and food dye. That it would end soon. And that he was safe.
I gave him water to help flush his system. But I knew it was just a waiting game until the sugar ran its course.
And I have to tell you that to this day many decades later, I still cringe at the thought of what that must have felt like on such a young body.
So many studies have been conducted on how food coloring affects the body. And now we know what sugar is doing to our entire organ system.
WE ARE WHAT WE EAT
So why am I telling this story?
Because we are what we eat. Yup, whether we choose to see it or not.
I am so grateful that the concept of conscious eating is finally making its way into the mainstream.
And as working mothers, at home or at an office, we are always looking for ways to make food that is healthy and simple to prepare. The dilemma is also getting our kids to eat foods that are in our body’s best interest.
But how often do we truly think about if we are feeding not just bodies but also our souls?
We can create the pathway to a healthy and loving, relationship with food that is in itself sacred and honoring. It is just a matter of our committing to knowing we want our kids to be interactive in their own wellbeing.
I became an even stauncher proponent of foods that nourish. Whole foods. Because I know we have the possibility to avoid the heart disease and diabetes dilemma that is running rampant in our world right now.
When I was confronted with autoimmune problems, and cancer, I instantly knew that it was food that would heal me at the cellular level. And food yet again became my ally. I was able to witness the changes in my body. So I knew they worked and could work for our families.
I am suggesting that although, we have been inundated that sugary, salty, fried foods are the ones that taste the best, in all reality we know we have been fed a huge disservice for our lives and our health. It has only benefited the huge commercial food industrial complex.
SOCIAL CONSCIOUSNESS ABOUT FOOD
I have been so heartened that awareness of the toxicity of our foods has become a more global problem. We are so aware of how pesticides are wreaking havoc on our bodies and the earth. And that food is no longer something we just eat without conscious awareness of its origins.
We are more willing to see food as our healer, not just as filler.
So to all the parents out there that are really being thoughtful about each morsel that enters our kids’ bodies, I am sending huge kudos. We are growing a new way to see and honor our food.
And there are so many simple ways to quickly make good whole foods. From avocado toast to ants on a log. Snacks and lunch boxes can be filled with fun and delicious foods. To me serving food is a gift of love.
I also like the idea that mealtimes when we are all together, are used for group cooking. Even at a really early age, encourage each child to participate. Don’t worry if it takes longer, or is much messier. It is so worth it. We are creating family memories and fun.
I truly believe that when we enter into a contract about the food we are choosing to use, we are building a new paradigm. On one hand, creating self-sufficient kids that are knowing how to feed themselves well, and then also creating food that provides love and healing nourishment for the body and soul!
Imagine this continuing into following generations and we break the cycle of dis-ease, and instead create food that heals and soothes!
QUESTIONS TO PONDER:
- How do you feel about your connection to food?
- Do you include your kids when you cook?
- What do you consider healthy food?
- Do you have or are you thinking of growing your own garden?
- Do you use only organic foods?
- Do you talk about with your kids where the food comes from?
- Has your child had the experience of seeing food grow?
- How do you feel when you eat sugar or processed foods?
- Are we all willing to interact with our food consumption as an act of sacred consciousness? And if so, what does that look like to you?
- Have you started having conscious eating conversations with your kids? Such as, are you really hungry or just bored? Are you wanting something to eat that gives you energy or soothing?
I look forward to hearing how your sense of conscious eating is impacting your family.
May each spoonful that you bring to your body, feed your body, soul and heart.
Hello, I am Ariel. After a long illness, I taught myself how to walk again. So here I am jumping into vibrancy. I am an artist, writer and believer in the positive, and a grandmother. My belief in the Yes We Can mindset, has opened the gates to living in possibility.
I live my life co-creating with the universe, rich in love, compassion, grace and consciousness. Knowing, that we are all connected and willing to be of service, is a source of great peace and joy.
Follow Ariel on:
Moms, I’d love to hear your views. What does healthy eating look like in your family? Are you consciously choosing what you and your kids are eating – and not eating? Speak to me…
P.S. And don’t miss the second post in our Ariel’s Series on Conscious Living. This post is about Choosing Conscious Balance and it also speaks straight to the heart of the matter.
PPS. (20 Dec 2017). Ooh, I just discovered another brilliant post on Mindful Eating by Ariel on Yvette’s site:
Yvette also left an awesome comment below.