How a Nutritionist gets her kids to eat all that healthy stuff....and other "Voodoo"

Nutrition isn’t just my profession or my business. Nutrition is my life.  That doesn’t mean I’m obsessive about it. But it does mean, that I always practice what I preach.  Leading by example is a powerful way to motivate others, even kids!  Yes, that’s right, “Monkey see Monkey do!”  As someone who has overcome low self- esteem and disordered eating.  I am grateful for the gift to share my nutrition knowledge with my girls.  My hope, is that I can help inspire a love for themselves and food! If you follow me on my Facebook Page, you may feel like you’ve come to know me already. I frequently share what goes on in my house and with my two daughters.  From pictures of them eating a simple family dinner to videos of my 10 year old making kale salad or my 2 year old drinking green smoothies. It is easy to see that nutrition is a family love affair.  This is the key, I have simply made it my kid's "NORMAL" to eat and enjoy healthy food.

But the burning question is “Ciara, how on earth did you get your kids to eat all that healthy stuff?  Can you teach me that “voodoo” you do?"


Mom’s-Set the Tone

Let’s face it, many Mom’s out there are trying to lose weight.  Weight loss may seem like a daunting task and can have many negative connotations, but it doesn’t have to be that way!  I believe the whole point of weight loss is to “get healthy”.  It can be an empowering and positive journey for both you AND your whole family!  The important thing to understand here is that how you view food and nutrition is EXACTLY how your children will.  That thought is both scary and powerful.  We are all products of our environment and can be shaped in many ways.  Don’t worry about what your kids see via Mass Media.  The most powerful influence over your kids is YOU.  So put yourself first, make time to exercise and eat real whole food.   Getting yourself healthy will shape your child’s future and their relationship with food!

[caption id="attachment_40231" align="aligncenter" width="300"]My 2 year old stealing an apple from My 2 year old stealing an apple from my "Green Vitality Smoothie"[/caption]

Step 1-Involve your kids

That’s right, involve your kids in food preparation and make it a family affair.  The more fun you can make it, the more positive an experience it will be and the more likely it will become a lifestyle ritual that you and your kids look forward to and continue over the long term!  Even better, when kids are involved in making dinner they are much more likely to try new things because they will take pride in what they have created!  If you have a picky eater, this approach can have a magical affect on how your child views food and will go a long way to creating a new "normal".

[caption id="attachment_40233" align="aligncenter" width="225"]My 10 year old prepping a kale salad from the Catching Fire Nutrition E-book. My 10 year old prepping a kale salad from the Catching Fire Nutrition E-book.[/caption]

Step 2-Choose love

 Choose only love.  Choose only positive thoughts and words.  Do not make the dinner table a battle field.  If  you’re anything like me, you want your kids to value themselves and have high self-esteem.  We can not make our kids eat anything and we shouldn't try.  Our job as parents is simply to ensure their options are as healthy as possible.  They get to choose what they eat and how much.  I grew up in a house where meal time was always a battle.  My parents fought constantly about my sister's refusal to eat anything healthy.  It was truly a horrible experience and I can tell you with certainty, it DID NOT WORK!

[caption id="attachment_40248" align="aligncenter" width="225"]BodyRock squats! BodyRock squats![/caption]

Step 3-What’s in it for them

Talk to your kids in a language they can understand. Share how good you FEEL when you drink green smoothies. How much energy they give you and then relate it back to them.  I always talk to my girls about how nutrient dense foods help them run faster, jump higher, concentrate better in school and keeps them from getting sick.  If your kids have a sport or activity they love, explain to them how what they eat will allow their body to perform even better.  This is very powerful!  Many adults do not relate how they feel to what they eat.  Many people think it is “Normal” to feel tired at 3pm, bloated, constipated, foggy, guilty, anxious etc.  News flash, its probably something you ate.   Teach this important life skill to your kids.  If you notice they get hyper after eating too much sugar, or a tummy ache after pizza.  Relate it back to the food in question.  Helping your kids identify when a food makes them feel good or crummy, will go a long way towards them making healthier food choices that you can all FEEL good about!

[caption id="attachment_40246" align="aligncenter" width="225"]Terry Fox Run at my daughter's school Terry Fox Run at my daughter's school.  Steel cut oats was on the menu that day![/caption]

Step 4-One Family Meal

It can be difficult enough to plan one healthy dinner for yourself.  But if you have to plan two or three in an evening to suit all of your family’s different tastes. It can be down right daunting!   If something is that difficult, it is simply not sustainable.  So make it easy on yourself, only make one meal.  That’s it.  Choose a lean protein that will suit everyone in your family and make several healthy sides.  The kids may not choose to eat the brussel sprouts or the sautéed kale, but they may be just fine eating the oven baked sweet potato fries and some chicken and that’s ok.  The key here is variety, not everyone needs to eat everything put on the table.  However, you may be surprised what your kids will eat when they get to choose!  Especially if you are following these guidelines, involving them in the process and cultivating a healthy love for themselves and food!

[caption id="attachment_40235" align="aligncenter" width="225"]Roast chicken, honey carrots, cauliflower and what is left of a quinoa salad (winner!) Roast chicken, honey carrots, cauliflower and what is left of a quinoa salad (winner!)[/caption] We want to hear from you.  Join in on the discussion in the comments below and tell us what works for you!  Questions?  Let’s hear them! Want to get the guide? Click here! Ciara Foy Nutrition xo                  

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