In this article, I provide three tips that all parents can employ for a happier, healthier home:
1) Get centered and grounded
2) Make snack times and meal times positive
3) Commit to a plan for healthier eating for the whole family (go for the long term strategy vs. a short term quick fix).
You can read the article below, or through this PDF.
Yoga Living Magazine was also wonderful to write a review for my new book, Give It a Go, Eat a Rainbow, which is all about nurturing healthy young eaters. Here is the review:
The Art of Nurturing Healthy Young Eaters (Who Love their Veggies)
Too often, parents find that convincing kids to eat their fruits and veggies involves bribery, begging and struggle. These tactics don’t work, and yet we need to find ones that do if we’re going to improve the health of little ones. Consider the statistics. One third of preschoolers do not eat fruit or veggies on a daily basis, and one in three American children will develop diabetes if they follow an inactive and overeating lifestyle. What can we do? A lot. And we can incorporate yoga poses to be even better parents. Here are three steps to follow on your on our path to a better relationship with food and with your kids.
Tip #1: Get centered and grounded
Life with kids can throw us off balance, especially if we are hearing “no!” all the time when offering healthy choices at mealtimes. Remember that what a young child puts in his or her mouth is one of the few things that he/she controls in the greater scheme of things, so try not to create a power struggle. Instead, get centered with a few asanas such as tree and tadasana. These poses help you get out of your head-space and into your body. To further ground yourself, imagine that you have a grounding cord that begins at the base of your spine or your feet and extends all the way to the center of the Earth. Keep that image of the connection to the Earth in your mind while you start to gain a deeper awareness of your physical body. Feel your body at a deep and visceral level. If desired, go a little farther and ask that anything you don’t need, like negative feelings, simply goes down the cord into the core of the planet, where it is transformed into something positive. Feel the sense of connection to the Earth and all the living creatures that inhabit it. Remember the connection to your own child and how you can be the best parent from a place of centeredness and feeing grounded.
Tip #2: Make snack-times and meal-times positive
If kids don’t want to taste a food that is new to them, don’t force it. Describe veggies in a positive or neutral way, such as “these carrots look crunchy” and “this kale is bumpy.” Then, praise your kids when they try a food and ask them to describe it with words such as “this onion smells spicy” and “this lettuce is earthy.” Let kids play with their food. Bring out a child’s creative side by making “edible art.” Ideas can range from a character with a cucumber head and celery stick body to a caterpillar created by arranging carrot circles on a plate. Simple activities, such as a grocery store scavenger hunt in search of “a purple veggie to go with dinner,” can go a long way in getting kids interested in foods. Have fun. To develop a childlike playfulness with food within your own self, practice poses that open your heart and chest areas, enhancing feelings of happiness. Try spending a few moments every day in camel, a supported backbend, or simply stretch your arms overhead and over the back of a chair to create more space for breath in your chest. Then it’s off to have fun with a snack or at the dinner table with your child!
Tip #3: Commit to a plan for healthier eating for the entire family
Developing healthy eating habits for your child takes a long-term strategy and requires constancy and commitment. Just like setting an intention for each yoga class, setting an intention for healthy eating within your home is key. You need to model great eating habits and get creative about involving your child in meal preparation. Exposure is also paramount. The more often kids are exposed to veggies, the more comfortable they will be when veggies appear on their plates. In my new book, Give It a Go, Eat a Rainbow, I use photographs of real veggies mixed with illustrations drawn by my son (think Augmented Reality, the new craze today with kids) to help tell the story of the protagonist, Blake. Blake “feels sleepy” (lacks energy) before going on a magical journey and learns that fruits and veggies are the key ingredients to energetic living. Eating healthy for energy is a lifelong journey that takes commitment. Some of my favorite poses for practicing commitment are balancing poses such as half moon, tree and especially crow pose.
My hope is to live in a world where kids beg for their veggies rather than one where parents have to beg kids to eat them. And parents respond with centeredness, positivity and commitment.
About Kathryn Kemp Guylay:
From kindergarten classrooms to corporate boardrooms, Kathryn Kemp Guylay has inspired tens of thousands of individuals to improve their health and happiness. She is an author of two books (Give It a Go, Eat a Rainbow and Mountain Mantras, Wellness and Life Lessons from the Slopes), speaker, certified nutritional counselor, yogi and founder and executive director of Nurture, a nonprofit that provides nutrition and wellness education to children and adults. For more information, visit makewellnessfun.com.