Thursday, February 24, 2011

Nutrition directly affects the way the brain functions. It is critical that children have well balanced meals and nutritious snacks. The food children (and adults) eat affects attention span, activity levels, and mood. Behavior and learning are directly affected by the foods children eat. We can do so much to help young children simply by providing foods that are going to support healthy brains.

I was thrilled when I connected with Kia Robertson and her wonderful work toward healthy children.  Kia is a mom and the creator of the Today I Ate A Rainbow kit; a tool that helps parents establish healthy habits by setting the goal of eating a rainbow of fruits and vegetables every day. Kia is passionate about creating tools to help parents raise healthy kids! I have posted a guest blog from Kia today. 

Parents are Role Models by Kia Robertson

One of the most important roles of parenting is feeding your child and setting them up with healthy eating habits.  You are your child's first and most important role model, especially when it comes to eating.  They are relying on you to teach them about the food they eat. 
Humans aren't the only parents with this important task! Animals also teach their young about food...they must show them the right foods to eat and which poisonous foods to avoid. They do this by role modeling to their young what foods are safe to eat and where to find them.  In the wild it's crucial young animals learn the difference; it's a matter of life or death. The young watch their parents over and over again and eventually learn how to find the right foods to eat for themselves.  Ultimately this is what we would all like for our children -- to learn what foods are right for their bodies in order to be healthy and which foods to avoid.
However unlike animals we human parents tend to also pass down our not so healthy eating habits as well.  I find it interesting how we sometimes teach our children to eat foods our bodies don’t consider safe to eat.  Our bodies don't know what to do with these highly processed "foods" and our children end up facing many health issues such as obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure.
I'm not suggesting we strive for perfection when it comes to healthy eating!  I think we need to focus on setting the habit of eating whole foods on a daily basis so our children (like the animal young) see us eating the right foods day after day.
Your children are watching you and they are little intelligent sponges so it really doesn't work to follow the "do as I say and not as I do rule"!  They will do as you do - if you eat junk food they probably will too!  On the flip side if they see you enjoying healthy food every day - they most likely will too! 

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