Healthy Kids

Bring Your Family Activity Level Up, Up, Up!

IMG_5178.jpg

There is no doubt about it.

One of the essentials to healthy living for you and your family is getting up and getting moving.  

This is true for parents and true for kids. 

But these don't need to be separate events. (Like maybe you go to the gym and your child heads to soccer practice or something like that...)  In fact, one thing I absolutely love is being active together as a family. Whether it is hiking a new trail together or playing catch in the backyard, everything is always better when we are doing it together. 

But....

...thanks to jam-packed schedules, after-school activities, work, work and more work, not to mention the amount of technology working against us, lots of moms find that staying active as a family is a challenge.  

 

I want to help you work right through that. 

 

IMG_3430.jpg

I know you know WHY we should increase our activity level as a family:

  • Active kids will more likely grow into active adults. 
  • Being active together adds to family time and bonding. 
  • Exercise helps us clear our minds, reduces stress, and improves our mood. (Good for us AND good for kids!)
  • The more we move the easier it is to maintain a healthy weight. 
  • Being active as a family is FUN!  

I could go on but you get the point, right?

 

You know WHY! The problem is HOW! 

 

It can be done! 

 

Let's move our families off of the couch and out from behind those tech screens.

Let's get them into the backyard, onto local hiking trail or to the beach for a game of volleyball.

Let's shift from what is our current "normal" into a more active life.

 

Try this!

 

1. Shift Your Thinking.

If you decide that you want to be a more active family, see it, breathe it and then live it.

Accept this as your truth and embrace it!

Before I had children, I envisioned myself as a mom. I saw myself feeding my family healthy food. I saw us meditating. I saw us practicing yoga. I saw myself on runs with my kids. I saw us hiking. I saw us camping.  

I could see it in my mind and I embraced that as my reality...BEFORE IT EVEN HAPPENED.

Even before I had my mini-humans in my life, I saw what I wanted our life to look like and it was almost like I could see the future becasue so much of what I pictured became reality.

Visualizing is an important first step. If you can't see it in your mind you don't know what you are working towards.

Once you envisioning it, it is so much easier to manifest.  

 

2. Clear The Way

If your current lifestyle doesn't include time for family activity, clear the way. The time is there, I promise.

Say no. Postpone. Reschedule. PRIORITIZE. 

IMG_2989.jpg

Say YES to an early morning bike first. Then "ok, fine" to the chores and errands later.

Make plans to visit the beach, a zoo, a museum or a park.  WRITE IT ON THE CALENDAR. (It makes it more real.)

Leave the dishes after dinner and head outside with a frisbee or a ball to toss. (The dishes don't mind waiting.)

Once you decide that you truly want to be more active and decide it will be so, you will find the time if you really, really, really promise to make it a priority. 

 

 

 

3. Get Uncomfortable. 

This step does NOT require that you get active, pull a muscle, then smile through the pain.

No.

All I mean by "get uncomfortable" is this: right now we all have some "comfortable" habits that we might be looking to change. 

Maybe the kids leave the dinner table and grab their tablets.

Maybe you spend Sunday morning catching up on shows. 

Maybe family time includes a game console and limited blinking.  

These things have become comfortable parts of our lives. 

You don't have to have a big plan. Just get up, get moving and see what adventures await! 

You don't have to have a big plan. Just get up, get moving and see what adventures await! 

To get "uncomfortable" means to do something a little unfamiliar, something that isn't yet our norm and to avoid leaning back into our comfortable, not-so-active habits. 

When you feel yourself cozying up to a comfortable old habit that you are trying to change, catch yourself. 

If you catch yourself about to say the usual, "Let's stay in and watch movies," SHAKE IT OFF and remember that you are a more active family now.  Go on family walk after dinner.

You will thank yourself later. 

 

Let's keep this conversation going!

 I want to invite you to join our online community of moms supporting moms called

The Real Moms Collaborative.

We are building healthier lives for ourselves and our families one step at a time! 

See you there! 


Michelle and crew! 

Michelle and crew! 

Hey, Momma! I am Michelle. I am a busy mom of 3, a certified holisitc health coach and owner of Real Moms, Real Health.  I studied at the Institute of Integratvie Nutrition and I am  Board Certified by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners. In addition to giving workshops and lectures, I work with busy moms to find a healthy weight, have more energy and inspire health in their household. I have simple strategies that any mom can use to make healthy living EASY. Learn more about my programs by checking out my website.  And don't forget to follow me on FACEBOOKTWITTER OR INSTAGRAM.

Happy, Healthy Halloween

TRICK OR TREAT!

Soon we will be hearing children walking through our neighborhoods, singing to us their requests for something sweet and then filling their trick or treat bags to the brim. I love the fun of Halloween: the parties, the happy kids, the decorations and, yes, even the sweet treats. (Within reason, of course!)

In the past, Halloween has also been a little bit of an anxious time for me. Once upon a time, it marked the beginning of my downward, unhealthy end-of-the-year spiral.

Do you know what I mean?

Looking just at Halloween, first there is lots of candy in the house. You know, "getting ready for the trick or treaters" but then I'd mysteriously have to restock before the big day.

Then there are the school parties, friends' parties, Halloween itself....

...and then the AFTERMATH. The candy that sticks around until it all gets eaten.

But it really doesn't end there because then we have Thanksgiving and the over-indulgences it can bring, followed by all the yummy treats that correlate to so many wonderful December holidays along with parties, get-togethers, and one reason after another to over do it.

See? Downward spiral.

By the time it all ended, I was making New Year's Resolutions to lose the weight I mostly just gained in the last 3 months. Eek.

But let's not get too far ahead though. I want to share a little bit about why Halloween is NOT a time of anxiety for me anymore (I will talk about the rest of the holiday season later on)  and why it does NOT represent the beginning of my downward end-of-the-year spiral anymore. In my own journey for my best health & wellness, I have discovered a few strategies for keeping Halloween in check for both myself and my children that I want to share with you.

  1. FILL UP ON GOOD, HEALTHY FOOD

Do not ever be HUNGRY around Halloween treats! (Um, I believe that is the definition of "disastrous outcome".) This strategy is something to use for ourselves and our children. Halloween party at school? Cool. Huge healthy breakfast, huge healthy lunch, healthy snack. Of course this is our goals on a daily basis but I want to be particularly on top of it during a time like this. If I am going to slip up, it would be best not to do that now. I know that my kids will eat some sweet treats and I am fine with that. But I know they are less likely to go overboard with bellies full of healthy goodness.

This is true for me, too. I host a Halloween party here in my home. We usually have a combination of healthy food options and some fun holiday treats. Before I step foot in a room that has luscious homemade cookies and cupcakes (we have some amazing bakers in this family), I make sure to eat first. Showing up hungry to a room full of naughty food options is like inviting a vampire into your home, it renders you powerless. (Anyone get that movie reference? ha!) So, eat up!

 

2.  QUIET YOUR CRAVING WITH SOMETHING WARM AND COMFORTING

During the times that a sweetness craving is calling (Ok, maybe SCREAMING) my name, I quiet that craving down with something warm and comforting like hot tea. There are so many types of teas that go well with this time of year. Teas that include cinnamon, apple and cranberry are perfect for the autumn weather. I love rooibus, it is probably almost always my tea of choice to walk around the neighborhood with as we trick or treat. Hot apple cider or just hot lemon water can also do the job to quiet that disruptive craving.

 

3.  HAVE HEALTHY OPTIONS

Simple enough but in the hustle and bustle of our everyday lives, this strategy can get pushed aside. Coming up with sweet treats is easy, and there are certainly plenty you could grab in a pinch at any grocery store. If you are going to spend time and effort figuring out any part of your Halloween traditions, figure out how to include some healthier options. It is possible, I promise!

Last year, our very sweet neighbor brought my kids a unique bag of Halloween treats. It included seaweed snacks, organic dried fruit, super food chips, energy bars and organic candy. It was a great idea and we felt so good about the kids receiving it! The best part is that they LOVED it! They tasted Chomperz (the seaweed snack) for the first time and ever since then I can't keep a package in my house for more than a day. They devour it immediately!

There are so many simple and healthy, not to mention adorable, options for your Halloween table this season, too. These clementine "pumpkins" took me a just a couple of minutes to put together and my kids went ga-ga over them. Nobody is going to feel cheated out of sweet treats when you have something like this gracing your party table.

 

4. THE SWITCH WITCH (AKA "Get the candy out of the house AS SOON AS POSSIBLE!")

I don't know who created this idea but I would personally like to give them a huge hug. The first time I heard about the Switch Witch I embraced the idea whole-heartedly. You may have heard of this awesome, new tradition and it is how I remove the over abundance of candy from my home as soon as possible. Like anyone else, if there is a ton of candy in my house, I (and everyone else that lives here) is going to eat it. I desperately needed a strategy to deal with this and the Switch Witch works out perfectly.

The basic idea is that the Switch Witch comes during the night, after all trick or treating is done, and trades the candy for a gift. Each of my kids picks 5 or 6 of their favorite pieces of candy from the night to save and the rest is offered to the Switch Witch. She takes it and leaves a gift. You might like to have that gift be a book, a craft, a toy. We usually have a book, a craft and/or a healthy snack. If you are feeling particularly crafty, the Switch Witch might leave a note about how they made a good choice to limit the amount of sugary treats they had this Halloween season!

What you do from there is up to you. Some local dentists will BUY your Halloween candy, some folks bring it into the break room at work, some organizations include donated Halloween candy in care packages for U.S. troops like Operation Gratitude. No matter what you do, this is a great way to move candy out of your house and make it that much easier for you to maintain your healthy lifestyle.

 

It is possible to put a healthier spin on this fun holiday. If you decide to try any of these strategies, please share your thoughts in our free online community, The Real Moms Collaborative!

I would love to hear the ways in which YOU make Halloween a little healthier, too, so be sure to send your ideas our way!

Thank you so much for reading.

 

 

 

Healthy Kids Thrive In the Kitchen (Here Are 3 Ways to Get You Started!)

Do you remember the kitchen from your childhood? Do you remember how it was the heart and soul of the home? 

Not only did all the meals get created there and many meals get eaten there, but that is where major decisions were made, "heart to heart" conversations were had and where visitors might have been greeted. 

Today, in my own kitchen, it isn't much different. The same important things are happening there. The kitchen is also where homework gets done, art projects get praised, and blogs get written. (You and I are having this chat in my kitchen right now.) And very importantly, it is where lifelong lessons about food and nutrition are taught and learned.

As parents, raising healthy kids is a top priority for all of us. We don't want it to be a temporary thing either. My personal mission is to raise lifelong healthy eaters. I try to move beyond the idea of "eat what is on your plate because I said so" and try to develop a basic, kid-friendly understanding of the importance of healthy eating. I believe that the more we talk about nutrients, the importance of "eating the rainbow", why real food is more beneficial for our bodies and minds than processed food, as well as other things, the more likely my kids become flourishing, healthy kids now and flourishing, healthy adults in the future.

One of the best places to help healthy kids thrive in the way I am describing is in the kitchen. Bring them right into the heart and soul of the house! Let them watch, let them observe, let them question. 

And then let them cook. 

Kids of all ages can be hands on with food prep to some degree. It just takes a little planning, maybe a little preparation before you invite them in to join you, but it can be totally manageable. This is a rich learning experience for them and we should try to do this as often as we can. 

Besides... it is FUN! If you are doing it right, you will share lots of laughs, good conversation and great quality time together. I am going to help you do that.

Before you jump up and call everyone into the kitchen, I want to share some things you should think about FIRST. 

Let's get those kids into the kitchen!

Here are 3 ways to help get you started:

  1. Set Up Beforehand

You don't have to necessarily do much, but taking a few minutes to set up a few things means that you can focus on the kids and the food more instead of details that can be taken care of beforehand. 

How much of this you do really depends on the ages of your children and their familiarity with the kitchen. With younger children you may take out all the ingredients and tools, have everything already measured and ready to be poured into a bowl for mixing. With older kids or kids more familiar in the kitchen, they may take out the ingredients as you read them or they read them off, they may do their own measuring, and so on. 

No matter how much or how little you do, there is always something to do beforehand. Some additional things may include:

  • Taking out extra dish- or paper towels in case of spills.
  • Clearing off the cooking area, including the sink and oven if necessary.
  • Deciding on a recipe.
  • Setting out all the kitchen tools required.
  • Taking ingredients out of the pantry and refrigerator.

2. Create work stations and set up some rules

The last thing we want is kids running into the kitchen, pushing for a first chance to use the peeler and having a screaming match break out. When my kids come into the kitchen, everyone has an assigned spot and job to begin with. We may rotate. We may not. But it is very clear as to who is going where right from the beginning. 

Rule are important, too. The kitchen can be a dangerous place without rules. So we establish some right from the beginning, then change or add to the list as need arises.

Some rules you might include are:

  • Wash your hands before and after cooking.
  • Tie your hair back.
  • Use your apron.
  • Never touch the stove, it might be on.
  • Ask before adding an ingredient.
  • Only use the stove or a knife when Momma is with you.

Use rules that make sense for your kids and kitchen. 

3. Relax and have FUN

If you can accept that messes will be make, shells might make it into the dish and an ingredient might be accidentally left out, then you have the right frame of mind to relax and enjoy the experience with your kids. The most important thing is not that the final product turns out perfect. The much more important thing is that kids are having a rich, hands on experience in the kitchen with YOU. What they learn will stay with them for a long time. They are more likely to connect healthy food and healthy eating with warm, positive feelings by the opportunities you give them to be hands on in the kitchen. So relax, smile, laugh off the "oopsies" and "uh oh's" and have FUN! 

 

All month long in the exclusive membership site, The Real Moms' Inner Circle, there are many more ideas around the theme of KIDS IN THE KITCHEN. We have informative videos, recipes, strategies for even the busiest moms and weekly healthy challenges to keep you on track!

If you need some new ideas and a little accountability, check out the Real Moms Inner Circle TODAY! 


Thank you for reading. If you are feeling inspired to head into the kitchen with your kiddos, enjoy and have fun! And don't forget to tell us about it! Post about your kitchen adventure or ask any questions right here on the Real Moms, Real Health Facebook page

 

If you want to find out more ways

busy moms

can make healthy living easy,

sign up for my weekly updates

and get my FREE BOOK as a BONUS!