I was asked a myriad of questions when interviewed by the Post Crescent on the health of our children. Here's a couple...
PC: I imagine parents have to be role models for their children. What can parents do to set a good example?
Me: Children are great copycats. They will mirror what we do! They too will notice the benefits you as parents are providing for yourselves. By staying active you are telling them indirectly that your health is a priority. I say to my own children, "Did you know that going to the gym makes me a better mommy?" Our children want to see us happy just as much as we want to see them happy.
PC: Why is physical activity important to encourage in children?
Me: Physical activity does so much more that the obvious of just keeping a child's weight in check. Children need to move their bodies every single day in a way that increases their breathing and heart rate allowing the "Happy Hormones" or endorphins to be released. This is one way to ensure healthy and happy children! It feels great to have a strong body thus allowing our children to do the activities they enjoy.
PC: How does diet factor into all of this? How can parents include a healthy diet in their family life?
Me: Millions and millions of dollars are spent on marketing food to our children. WE MUST do the same at home with fruits and veggies! Banana slices become Banana Wheels. Celery and carrots sticks become Lincoln Logs for building mini structures. Children enjoy eating what they create. Give them a few toothpicks, Dixie cups or cookie cutters and then watch them go to work.
Children love to dip! Our favorite is hummus. Try several different flavors for all types of cut veggies. We also enjoy fruity tofu smoothies, salmon lettuce wraps and veggie quesadillas. In the past I've told my picky eaters, "You are older now and so are your taste buds, give it a another try, perhaps you'll like it now." And always remember a little sprinkle of cinnamon and sugar can go a long way.