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Instruction Manual for Kids :: Teaching Healthy Living (part 1)


Most of the posts in this series have been focused on the authority structure/ relational dynamics of parenting.  Today, however, I want to focus on how to instill the values of healthy/vintage/natural living in our children.  I like telling stories, since it is easy for others to relate- so let’s start there.

When I was 18 I joined my first GYM.  I had been living on ‘my own’ (aka, out of my parents’ house, but still under their watchful eye) for a few months, and decided I needed to make some healthy decisions.  At the GYM there was a nutritional based workout program offered, so I enrolled.  (Albeit, knowing what I know NOW about health and nutrition, the program wasn’t up to my current standards of ‘healthy’).  The program did explain to me the difference between weight and BMI (Body Mass Index), and how important a wholly balanced diet is.  As I learned these simple nutritional foundations I was amazed at how skewed my young mind was at ‘healthy vs. unhealthy’…  Have you ever heard the saying ‘Just because you aren’t sick doesn’t mean you are healthy’?

So began my journey of realizing that what I had been taught wasn’t always true (read here to hear more about the journey where we went off the deep end and started eating Hippie Food).

Now, as a health conscious parent I want to instill the lessons I have learned along the way as fundamental understanding.  I want my kids to naturally see the discount el-cheap-o eggs at the grocery store as nutritionally inferior, just like the potato chips are junk food.  I want them to see their food as a fuel and a resource.  I want them to not be picky eaters, but educated foodies.  I want them to know that natural and healthy eating actually tastes better.

All-in-all I think we have done a good job.  We eat very naturally.  Our produce is either grown or purchased directly from the farmer.  Our milk is RAW.  Our eggs are all natural free range bought from either the Amish or friends whom have chickens.  Our beef is grass fed.  We know where our food comes from – and even more importantly – our kids know too.  Our kids sit at the dinner table and hear our conversations.  Our kids reprimand me when I cheat.

Part  of my goal of instilling these values is also to instill balance.  Could we go so far into the deep-end and buy ONLY fresh, and ONLY organic everything?… Honestly, ‘NO’… Our family could not afford that extreme.  Do I wish we could?  Eh… Philosophically, ‘Yes’— realistically, ‘Not Really.’…. If our disposable income increased we would allocate more towards nutrition, and we have – it IS important.  But we don’t squeeze the budget so tight that our food rules us.

Just like the lessons I learned of a wholly balanced meal are essential for the body, raising balanced kids is essential for their adulthood.  I will explore this topic in more depth in the future, until then, what tips, tricks, and advice do you have on ‘Raising Informed Foodies in a Modern World’?  Where have you gone off the deep-end? How did you make it back?


This post was linked to: Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways at Frugally Sustainable, Real Food Wednesday at Kelly the Kitchen Kop, Women Living Well, Whole Foods Wednesday at Whole Lifestyle Nutrition, Simple Lives Thursday at Gnowfglins, Fight Back Friday at Food Renegade, Frugal Friday at Life as Mom, Fresh Bites Friday at Real Food Whole Health, Traditional Tuesdays at Cooking TF, Titus 2 Tuesday at Cornerstone Confessions

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