Do our kids make us fat? That's what a recent study suggests.
Over 4000 people were surveyed and
findings showed that parents ate more sugary and fatty foods than
their non-parent counterparts. Parents admitted that they don't
always make time to prepare healthy foods or exercise.
But what troubled me about this study is that many said
this didn't bother them. If parents are regularly making unhealthy
food choices, they are most likely making these same food choices
for their children.
Poor eating habits established in childhood usually continue on
into adulthood. If we serve healthy, tasty meals, and our kids are
hungry, they will eat it. Of course, my son would love it if I only
served chicken nuggets and fries, but he also loves salmon and
couscous, asks for carrots and tomatoes in his lunch box, and knows
that, while I'll never buy fruit snacks, he can eat as much
real fruit for a snack as he wants. He knows how to read
food labels and knows we don't buy things with high fructose corn
syrup or trans fat. He is 6 years old, and he gets it. When parents
see the value of making their own health a priority, it trickles
down to their offspring.
We also need to be role models for fitness. A mother who tells
me she gets enough exercise chasing around her toddler is sadly
mistaken. We not only need to exercise on most days of the week
(and let our children know about it), we need to have them
Of course, this is where I'll fit in my shameless plug for One Fit Mama,
where moms and moms-to-be can exercise with their children from
before they are born through elementary school.
But Chicago is full of so many easy, low-cost ways for families
to exercise together. This past weekend, for example, Dan and I
each took Caleb to the park separately (with a trip to the frozen
yogurt store mixed in), and then we all rode bikes for nearly two
hours, stopping at two parks along the way to play. It needs to be
mentioned, though, that the emphasis on creating a healthy family
should be on fun, creativity, nutrition, strength, and self-esteem,
NEVER on mirrors and scales.
It's time to stop making excuses
about our own health and begin making positive changes for the
whole family's sake, and there are plenty of fun ways to do it
right in your own backyard.
Tricia Streit Perez is partner to Dan, mom to Caleb, and founder of One Fit Mama®. She lives in Wicker Park.
See more of Tricia's stories here.
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