Thursday, January 24, 2013

Veggies, Fruits and Nuts . . . Oh My!

So, I've neglected the blog for far too long, and now I'm about to embark on serving as a Girl Scout cookie cupboard for hundreds of girl scouts and I'm not seeing a light at the end of the tunnel!  How do I get into these things?!

At any rate, I received an e-mail several MONTHS ago from someone wanting to reach my audience.  I explained that my audience is small and mostly my friends and family.  And, despite my warnings of my irreverence and inappropriateness, the woman below still wanted to associate with me.  And, I thank her for her extraordinary patience as I have been taking so long to reply to her inquiry.

Today as I am still recovering from a particularly traumatizing trip to an unnamed cafeteria style restaurant that I was forced to go to at the birthday request of the Ego (middle child), I thought I should share the blog post below.  And by the way - props go out to Nana and Sir who also endured this trip despite our warnings that they did not have a wine selection and even if they did it would be of the box variety!  I don't think they'll be joining us for any more birthday dinners.

Hopefully you can find some interesting tips and ideas below.  And no, she is not irreverent or inappropriate like I am, so you get a break from that for once.  But, never fear, the Ego's birthday party shenanigans will be posted soon . . . as soon as I unbury from the 1200+ cases of cookies in my garage which, ironically, is the very reason that articles like the one below are so important.  :-)

Veggies, Fruits, and Nuts… Oh My! Tips on How To Be a Super-parent While Also Helping Your Kids Prevent Diabetes
It's incredibly hard to lose weight as an adult, but imagine being told as a kid that you are no longer allowed to have a Snickers bar. It could be horrifying, even life changing for some! That's not always bad. It's a way for kids to break out of their sugar shells and get some new vitamin sources besides those old peanuts preserved in factory cocoa shells; but, sometimes it can seem impossible to break kids of bad eating and exercise habits.

Last year was a difficult time for my family when my young cousin was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. I didn’t think a young teenager could get Type 2 but after talking with the doctor and doing some research, I found out that children are actually the fastest-growing population of Type 2 Diabetes diagnosis. In fact, according to St. Joseph’s Hospital CardiacCenter, 1 in 3 of today’s kids are diagnosed as obese, with most of them also being diagnosed with Type 2! Scary. So, for this New Year and for my own family, I'm putting down the Ferrer Roche treats and coming up with ways to help my young cousins along to a healthy adulthood.

1. Avoiding "It's Broccoli or Else!" Speeches
Kids often see changes to their diet and routines as punishments, specifically if it's something they aren't used to eating or doing. For example, my young cousin had to get off the sugar and eat more non-starchy vegetables. Broccoli wasn't her favorite, so we came up with different ways of cooking vegetables and serving them in attractive ways. This doesn't mean spinach with M & M's on top or lots of butter, but it does mean cooking meals as a family and eating interesting new dishes. For example, cauliflower puree with light garlic, butter, and Parmesan cheese became a favorite because it's like mashed potatoes.

Mostly it was about portion control. While some sugar and carbohydrates are okay, it's necessary to balance this with a healthy helping of vegetables and lean protein. So, the lesson became using some of my cousin's favorite things to accessorize vegetables and make them look more appealing while also avoiding any language that made it seem like the new diet was a punishment.

2. Sometimes Equal Isn’t Fair
One of the other things that kids also really latch onto is the idea of fairness. Why does Mommy get to eat a cookie and I don't? For the whole family, it was better to eat exactly what my cousin was eating and come up with new things to eat that were healthier all around. This also included treats that were acceptable like berries, watermelon, pineapple, peaches and oranges. Ice cream, candy, cookies and other junk food stuff became an occasional treat, and while this was hard to stick to as an adult, it was imperative to show my young cousin that it was a healthy choice that we were all making.

3. We’re Eating Healthier, So Now What?!
Kids have to burn off energy as well. With a ton of vegetables, healthy protein and good sugar choices like fruits, they will need games, sports, low impact exercises and other activities to keep them busy. Coming up with your own games as a family does take some effort, but it's worth it to make kids excited about moving around and burning off energy.

One thing that you can do is play games with your kids. Whether they love stuff like Dance Dance Revolution or creating your own game like "American's Next Dance Idol," you can really make it into a fun activity to exercise. Some activities that are particularly fun for kids include Zumba, Wii Fit, playing tag, animal-pose yoga and jumping musical chairs.

Although it may seem like a lot of changes, and can seem overwhelming at first, getting healthier as a family will be an experience that will not only make you all feel better physically and mentally, but will also bring you closer as a family. Your kids may be resistant to the change at first, but putting your family’s needs over the momentary-resistance from your kids is what makes you the Super-hero in your family. Starting healthy habits today will ensure that your family carries on healthy habits for years to come!

Carolyn is a 20-something year old with a passion for life, fitness and overall well-being. She is an avid cycler, golfer and has been known to bust some serious moves on the dance floor. Check out Carolyn’s blog at

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