This Is How Parents Can Help Their Kids Make Healthy Choices

Guest Post by Emily Graham

My friend and colleague Emily and I share many of the same values around making healthy choices for our mind, body, and children in our care, whether they are our own or one of our many students. If you enjoy the following article then you can find more like it at http://mightymoms.net/ Without further delay, read away!

Encouraging children to make healthy choices that will take them into their adulthood fits in with the laundry list of things parents must do. While it’s best if you set the foundation early, it’s never too late to steer kids and teens in the right direction. Natural Tash offers some key elements to practice and preach to ensure your children are living their best lives. 

Teach Healthy Eating Practices

While obesity rates in children have declined in recent years, CNN notes recent studies suggest that they’re on the rise with preschool-aged kids between 2 and 5 years old. This is disheartening considering they’re starting their lives in an unhealthy state. 

Lifelong eating habits are formed in early childhood, so it’s important that you actually teach healthy practices — you can’t just throw carrot sticks on the table and expect kids to know why they’re good for them. At the same time, focus on the overall diet rather than pinpointing specific foods to prevent encouraging an eating disorder. 

Always make sure healthy snacks are available, and get your kids involved in the meal planning, shopping, and cooking processes to create a like-minded bonding experience with them. 

Encourage Exercise

Exercise is another activity you can all enjoy together while promoting the importance of physical fitness, and per Huffington Post, statistics show that if a parent is obese, there’s a 50 percent chance the child will be, too. 

And you don’t all have to hit the gym to get moving. Rather, focus on activities that feel less like exercise and more like a fun family moment. For example, take a run as a family, walk the dog together, set up a volleyball net in the backyard, and plan an active vacation. Let your kids provide a few suggestions as well. Just make sure to schedule exercise so that your children learn the importance of regularity. 

You can also get your kids involved in a local sports league in your area. Sports like soccer, basketball, and tennis are great for staying in shape, and your kids can build self-esteem and meet new friends as well. You’ll want to be sure your kids have the proper footwear and safety equipment before they get started. 

Avoiding Substance Abuse Temptation 

While getting enough sleep can be a healthy habit to discuss on its own, it’s interesting to note that researchers have found that there is a link between lack of sleep and drug use in kids, all the more reason to encourage shuteye. Ample z’s aside, make sure you are up to speed on what types of drugs are currently “in vogue” with the younger population so you can educate yourself on the warning signs associated with use. 

Don’t threaten your kids about drug use, as they’re only apt to rebel. Instead, encourage them to make good choices on who they spend their time with and what activities they take part in by having a heart-to-heart talk void of anger and frustration — and if you have a personal anecdote, honesty is the best policy in this case. 

Teaching By Example

The examples of our parents often provide the greatest teaching lessons of life. We often think shelving our goals and dreams to make time for our children is in their best interest, and that’s certainly true to a certain extent, but we also want to model healthy behaviors and show them that they can pursue their dreams. So if that means getting back into shape, taking care of ourselves, or advancing your career by finally going for that MBA, it may be time to make some (flexible) choices, and set a good example for our kids in the process.

Being a healthy influence for your kids can make it easier for them to adopt good habits early on in life. If you slip up (gain some extra weight, drink too much at a holiday party, etc.), have an open conversation with your kids about it. It’s likely that they’ll appreciate your honesty in knowing that nobody is perfect. Encourage them to do the same so that you create an internal support system. 

Photo Credit: Pexels 

Kombucha Sunday: Why I Drink Kombucha

It all started with my good friend Sarah messaging me in early October 2017, “Tash!! Will you please come!!!!” She was overflowing with excitement for me to join her at a Kombucha workshop later that month, run by Karen Stoyles, a local Registered Holistic Nutritionist. At the time, I really did not know much about the benefits of fermented foods and to be honest, the thought of it just kind of grossed me out. I remember when I started seeing Kombucha at local coffee shops, I didn’t understand what all the hype was about, besides, I didn’t like Iced Tea, so I doubted I would like this. Well, Sarah does not give up easily, so a couple weeks later she was at it again, “you’d looovveee it!!!!” I still wasn’t convinced, but she followed it up with, “Brewing kombucha is so you!!”  I thought, maybe she is right, why not, it can’t hurt to learn a bit more about this Kombucha thing. So, I registered for the workshop, I got passed the gross looking SCOBY and am I ever glad I did!

 

Fast forward a few months and now preparing the next batch of Kombucha every Sunday is part of my weekly routine. I look forward to trying out a new flavour for the second fermentation process, experimenting with new Green or Black Teas, and sharing stories like the one where I accidentally left a bottle of lemon ginger flavoured Kombucha ferment for too long and so much carbonation had built up that almost the entire bottle sprayed out uncontrollably all over the kitchen. Oops!

 

So what is this Kombucha stuff anyway? Well, it is an ancient beverage that has been consumed for over 2000 years. It is not anything new, just more popular. You make it from green or black tea, sugar (I like to use organic cane sugar or coconut sugar), and a Symbiotic Culture of Acetic Acid Bacteria Yeast, otherwise known as a SCOBY. Yup, this is the really gross looking thing that grows on the top of this mysterious drink. During the fermentation process, the organic compounds of the tea turn into vinegar and other acidic compounds. It is these new compounds that provide the health benefits Kombucha enthusiasts rave about.

 

What are these health benefits? Why drink Kombucha at all? A brief google search has not provided me with very much scientific evidence behind the health claims of Kombucha, or at least, I was unable to find any studies based on kombucha and humans, but rather just with animals. That being said, there are some health benefits we can’t ignore. These would include the benefits you would get from any fermented food. GUT HEALTH!. Fermented foods are filled with healthy bacteria that colonize our gut which can apparently improve a variety of bodily functions, including level out moods and stress levels, and perhaps even help with weight and cravings for food. I have definitely seen significant changes in all of these areas within my home since starting to brew my own kombucha. Can I guarantee that Kombucha was the only factor in these improvements, nope, but I feel strongly that it definitely played its part.

 

The following are a list of potential health benefits of Kombucha I’ve found are consistent with multiple online articles. The potential for any or all of these benefits to be true are reason enough to give it a try or to keep on drinking it, just in case it really is doing all these things for our health.

 

  • detoxifying the blood
  • improve digestion: a combination of organic acids, enzymes, and probiotics promote healthy digestion and soothe upset stomachs (I find this one to be true, especially when flavoured with lemon and ginger)
  • immune system stimulation
  • arthritis prevention: the compound glucosamine is found in Kombucha which protects cartilage
  • cancer prevention
  • reduce cholesterol levels
  • reduce blood pressure
  • protect against diabetes
  • antibacterial effects
  • energy enhancement: small amounts of caffeine from the tea along with vitamin B and iron.
  • weight loss: similar to the claims made of apple cider vinegar, kombucha is believed to increase metabolism when consumed before meals.
  • enhanced athletic performance: raises energy levels during exercise, aides in post-workout recovery, alleviates joint pain.
  • mood enhancement: B Vitamins can help battle depression, stabilize mood, enhance concentration. The vitamin C can inhibit the release of stress hormone cortisol.

 

So, why do I make a new batch of Kombucha every Sunday? Why do I continue to drink it regularly? If for no other reason, than it is tasty, refreshing, fun to make and experiment with, and essentially it is a fizzy drink I make myself. It can’t get better than that!