If you come to my house and look inside my refrigerator, or take a peek inside my pantry, you’ll discover two things. One, we are a healthy family that tries to make good decisions when we feed our children. And two, my kids are not deprived. You’ll find a whole mix of desserts: marshmallows to be roasted outside on the fire pit, chocolate covered frozen bananas, chocolate chip cookies and the gluten-free pumpkin pie that remains Sawyer’s favorite. And you’ll also find a drawer full of fresh vegetables ready to be grilled for dinner, kale at the ready for smoothies, and local fresh fruit that rivals any farmer’s market.
It’s not uncommon for people to comment about my kids’ eating habits, because, well, they have really great eating habits. But, at the same time I often hear comments that when they are out of my sight “they must go crazy!” This is a misconception, unfortunately. I believe wholeheartedly in good choices, not in deprivation. We are all about moderation and teaching our kids how to listen to their bodies. And you can’t teach kids how to make balanced choices if you’re making all the choices for them.
A few weeks ago we took the kids to see Big Hero 6. Amazing movie, by the way! As the kids pulled out the bag of candy purchased from the concession stand, and after I of course stole a few for myself, my only warning was, “Remember, when you’re full, stop. Don’t keep eating just because there’s more in the bag.” Or take our road trip home after a weekend spent camping, for example – it’s not a real road trip in our family without a stop for a milkshake and fries.
As Gunnar gets older I see the choices he has in his everyday life. Middle school opened up a whole new world for him; it’s called The Student Store. Do you remember the student store in middle school? I sure do. I visited that place almost every day my first semester as a seventh grader. It taught me not just the anxiety of how to spend a dollar – oh, the decisions, decisions! Hot fries or a danish?! – it also taught me that sweets have a place in our life. Their place is called moderation in our home.
Another difference you might notice when you enter our home is our strict limitations on screen time. There’s nothing healthier for my kids than to spend their afternoons riding bikes, swimming, shooting hoops, or running around the park. And Mondays through Thursdays that is exactly what you’ll find them doing. However, come Friday afternoon and through the weekend, they know it’s their time (within moderation) to veg out a little in front of the television, playing Wii or on their iPod. My kids are learning that they have choices each and every day, and that balance is the key to everything.
I appreciate the dialogue on balance that is happening among teenagers and families. There is finally a discussion on the need to teach our kids and teens what balance is, what moderation is, and to listen to their bodies. Mixify is an ongoing effort by the American Beverage Association that is all about balance and moderation. Its mission is to inspire teens to find a balanced mix of food, drinks and physical activities every day in ways that are totally unique to them because everyone, every family and every day is different. Visit www.DeliveringChoices.org to learn more about Mixify and visit the Mixify website created for teens at www.MyMixify.com. You can follow ABA Delivers on Twitter and Facebook to learn more about Mixify and all the other efforts America’s Beverage companies are undertaking to help families achieve balance.
“Coke, Dr Pepper and Pepsi understand that getting a balanced mix of foods, drinks and physical activities for your family isn’t always easy. That’s why they’re coming together for the first time ever to talk to teens about balancing what they eat and drink with what they do. With tools to help teens get active and information to help them think about when they’ve had too much, or maybe when it’s time for a treat—America’s beverage companies are supporting our efforts to find a balanced mix that works for our families.”
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This post is sponsored by the American Beverage Association, however all opinions are my own.
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