Start Healthy Nutrition Young

In the spirit of National Nutrition Month, let’s think about what we eat and why we eat it. Is the way you eat now the same as how you’ve eaten your whole life? Or have you adopted healthier eating habits as you’ve gotten older; regardless of whether the change was for overall health and longevity or to get in shape and slim down?  I can honestly say that with the exception of my two food allergies that I discovered in the last nine years, this is the way I’ve always eaten. I love fruits and veggies. The thought of most fast food makes me gag, and I don’t care for red meat. However, I can’t take credit for my eating habits and/or preferences. I owe that to my mom.

Ever since I was born (actually, even before I was born, while my mother was pregnant with me she ate super healthy), I was given healthy food options. This is the key and I really wish everyone was as fortunate as me. If all you know is healthy food, you don’t crave the junk. We never really ate fast food growing up, so once I was on my own and in control of my meals, I didn’t resort to fast food because that wasn’t what I was used to.  Plus, it sounded gross, and if I did have anything like that it made me feel sick. Now, I’m not saying we never had chips or chocolate or anything like that growing up. We did, but we had the healthier versions. If there were chips in the house they were baked, low-fat, etc. Any chocolate in the house was dark because it’s the healthiest type, and let’s be honest, everyone has a sweet tooth no matter how healthy you are.

You control what you eat, and I’m sure most of you control what your family eats too. If not, then it’s time to take over the grocery shopping chore for your household so that you can ensure your house is filled with healthy options for everyone to choose when hunger strikes. One thing my mom always did growing up was have at least one Tupperware in the fridge with a cut up melon in it. She knew if that was in there and anyone opened up the fridge for a snack, they would see it and eat that instead of something heavy or unhealthy. It was easy, already cleaned and sliced for us, and wouldn’t ruin our appetite for dinner.

All of the little kids that I know that don’t like vegetables. I know their parents too and know that they don’t like vegetables either. Coincidence? NO! If you don’t like veggies, chances are you’re not going to be making them and serving them to your family for dinner. Then your kids grow up never having to eat them so they end up not liking them (or at least thinking they don’t like them). If you serve your children veggies from the very start, they will grow up liking them. Offer all different types; open them up to a variety of healthy options that they love. Let them help with meal preparation as soon as they’re capable; give them all the resources they need to grow up loving healthy foods and even knowing how to cook them.

You are in control of what you eat and whether you realize it or not, you influence not only what your family eats but also their future nutritional habits. Make conscious decisions about the foods you have in your home. Don’t deprive yourself or your family, always make sure there are ample healthy options, and, if possible, healthy options of snack or treat foods.

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