Monkey See, Monkey Do…Fit Kids

As I sit in the park with Lady S watching her make up games as she goes and making sure the spaceship doesn’t blast off without her, I often think about how her little mind and body works! Oh the minds of kids. It’s amazing when you become a parent because once kids hit the right age, they start to do everything you do and say all the bad things you say.

Lady S is the kind of kid who repeats and emulates all that she sees and hears the people around her do.  There have been many times when we thought she wasn’t listening, only to discover later that she heard it all.  This can play in our favor and against us!  Now that she is four going on sixteen years old, she is hellbent on doing it all and mostly by herself.

Except eat vegetables.  This she refuses to do.  Even if I put cheese, butter, and bacon all over every vegetable that hits our table, she will not eat anything green and proclaim that it is nasty.  The conversations typically go like this.

  • Me:  Eat some of your green beans!  They are SO good.  Mommy made them for you!
  • Lady S:  Mommy, you made them for you, not me!  (Actually this is quite true!)
  • Me:  *insert stern parent face*  If you don’t eat your vegetables you won’t be strong like Daddy.
  • Lady S:  *insert sly preschooler smile here*  Mommy….don’t be silly.  I already have big muscles!  (The kiddo proceeds to flex her miniature bicep)

So you can see where this conversation goes….right….exactly nowhere.  For some reason she has an aversion to all things green!  Her only saving grace is that she loves spaghetti and noodles and corn and sometimes mashed potatoes.  I can often times slide in some finely chopped veggies into her spaghetti.

When we workout at home, she often decides to that she needs to workout as well.  It is complete hilarity to watch her try to do a burpee or a pushup.  She often sits on Mister S’s back while he does his workouts and has become my accountability partner while working out.

As a child and teenager, I was obese.  Always have been and it never occurred to me to do something about it.  Once I became old enough to decide what I wanted to eat, it was often an unhealthy choice.  I have heard those comments about having a pretty face.  Thank God I had a healthy dose of self confidence from an early age despite my weight.

Childhood obesity is real all over the country and it is so disheartening. It is so very important that children see the adults in their lives making good choices when it comes to being healthy.  No, that does not mean that everyone in a child’s life has to have slim to no body fat.  It simply means that kids need to see adults eating those fruits and vegetables and breaking a sweat every now and then.  They shouldn’t think that a home-cooked meal comes from McDonald’s or that desert always has to be something drenched in sugar.

Just a few pointers to help with this process

  • Keep fruits and vegetables in the home at all times.  Most kids love bananas, strawberries, citrus fruits.  Whatever fruits they like, keep them so that they are readily accessible.
  • DO NOT….I repeat DO NOT use food as a reward for good behavior and other things.  Kids are quite smart and will do “good” things just to get those sweet treats.
  • Put it on the plate –>  Whether they eat it or not, present vegetables to your kiddos at each meal.  The more they see, they more they realize it’s not an option.
  • Moderation of sweets –>  Offer sweet treats a few times a week and do it randomly so that it becomes and unexpected event!
  • Send them outside –>  Kids need exercise every single day and the sun does their little bodies good!  Although they are quite stinky when they are done playing, physical activity is important to their overall physical and mental health.

Do you struggle to get your kids to eat vegetables?  Any pointers on how you made this process easier?


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