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Kids, Candy and Back to School

August 20, 2013 5 min read

I posted an update on my facebook page asking about topics to cover and this was one that was mentioned so I thought I might say a few words on what I have done with my own kids and their eating habits, candy and getting back to school.  Now I am by no means perfect, and I’d like to say that my kids don’t eat anything processed or junky, but that’s just not the case.  It’s been a process, to say the least, and we still have a long way to go, but I’d say we’re doing much better than the average American family. With them, it’s more like an 80/20 rule, 80% of the time they eat real foods, and the other 20 is free game.  However, last year one of my kids’ teachers said he ate the healthiest lunches out of all the kids she had seen…so I’ll take that as a compliment and know that we are on the right track. Over the last 4 years, it’s been a slow progression towards the way we eat now.  I slowly took away one thing at a time, just stopped buying it altogether.  This is the easiest way to stop your kids and yourself from eating something, just don’t buy it, don’t have it in the house.  Cereal and milk (cow’s) for one thing, 4 years ago I just stopped buying them.  I explained why, made sure they understood I was looking out for their interest, and after a while they stopped asking for it.  Just one of the benefits was my middle boy, Aidan, stopped having a chronic runny nose. For their lunches, last year I cracked down and they started taking a lunch every day.  In the beginning, they still wanted the tray lunches and it was a ‘treat’ if they got one.  Later on, they were grossed out by them, and turned their nose up when mommy didn’t make it to the store to buy groceries and they had to buy one, which was only a few times.  For their lunches, I tried many different gluten-free breads myself before I went grain free this past January and found one the kids like.  We buy Udi’s Multi-Grain bread for their sandwiches to take to school.  You can find it in the freezer section.  I stopped buying regular bread as well and after eating the ‘good’ stuff for a while; they won’t even eat the regular kind anymore. Along with the sandwich, I’ll send an apple or some other kind of fruit, maybe some raw carrots or cucumbers, and some organic tortilla chips.  I try to vary it up, but there’s only so much my kiddos will eat.  We’ve adopted the motto in our house: we eat to live, not live to eat.  Food is fuel for our body, nothing more nothing less.  That’s not to say you can’t enjoy it, because we do but I think too much importance is placed on it and it becomes this sacred thing.  Food, glorious food, let me lift you on high…I can’t live without my pop tarts, cereal or diet cokes…if you know what I mean. Kids at Rodeo 2013As far as candy, birthdays, sweets and things along those lines, here’s my philosophy and what I do.  It’s hard to keep them away from sweets completely, especially with so many holidays and birthdays throughout the school year, as well as other occasions where sweets are the treat.  For sweets at the house, I just simply buy a certain amount and it should last a week for example.  Once it’s gone, it’s gone.  Believe me though, my kids are not deprived as my mom sometimes thinks and boy does she make up for it when they go to her house.  They always seem to get more sweets than I’d like, mints at a restaurant, or from seeing grandma, or from the teller in the bank drive-thru.  Depending on what they’ve eaten that day and how many other sweets they’ve gotten, determines whether I let them have it or not. As for holidays, there are so many throughout the year it seems that candy and cakes are the treats at school, as well at home: Halloween, Christmas parties, Valentine’s Day, Easter, 100 Days, End of Year, as well as birthday parties and any other reason to celebrate.   When they’re at school and I’m not there, they obviously eat what they want, I can’t stop them.  I have educated them plenty and they know it’s not good for them, but they inevitably indulge and that’s fine with me.  Once they come home and they have bags of candy, I collect the candy from all of my kids and put it in a bowlWe then use that for our treats for the coming weeks.  We do this for all the holidays and birthday parties. I try to be as vigilant as I can, but it’s hard with kids especially when they’re immersed in it the majority of the time.  I am educating them to the best of my ability, and they have experienced the difference on their own.  I think every one of them, after eating fairly clean at home, has gotten a tummy ache from eating too much junk food at their grandparents house.  They felt it themselves, confirming what mommy and daddy have said…as well as seeing with their own eyes the way other family members eat and the way they look and feel, the medications they’re on, etc.  Kids are way smarter than we give them credit for sometimes, you’d be amazed how receptive they can be once they’re educated on the difference between real food and fake food. Some people may call me extreme, but hey I want the best for my children and I want them to grow up healthy and strong, free from illness and disease…life’s hard enough without adding more problems to it from things you can control.  I’ve experienced it myself with the birth of my 2nd son, and I’ve seen way too many family members and friends plagued by illness.  I don’t want my children to be a statistic like the one below.  I want them to live a full, healthy, prosperous life. “A study released in 2008 by Johns Hopkins University suggests that by the year 2030, 86 percent of all adults in the United States will be overweight or obese (up from the current estimate of 65 percent).  What’s more, a National Institutes of Health conference report stated that ‘our trends predict that all Americans will be obese by 2230!’” Mark Sisson ~ The Primal Blueprint    

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