I get to hear every single excuse when it comes to why a person or family isn’t eating healthy. It is part of my job but I don’t even have to be wearing my Nutrition Nazi hat to get them.
- "I've had a really stressful week so I am ordering whatever I want and you can’t judge me!”
- "We’ve had back to back sports games/activities and the kids had to eat something so they could have some energy and Taco Bueno was the closest and quickest thing!”
- “I know there were better choices but I also could have made worse ones too.”
- “My kids just won’t eat that. I’ve tried…once.”
- “If I don’t let them eat chips, crackers, (fill in the blank), they just won’t eat at all!”
These are all really good excuses. I’ve used these excuses too. But in the end, they boil down to lies we tell ourselves. Let’s break these lies down.
- “You had a really stressful week so you think eating food that is actually going to possibly make you feel bad, tired, foggy headed, or give you a headache is the answer here? Stressful weeks don’t earn you the right to abuse yourself. Stress is hard on your body. Restore it with healing foods.”
- “So Taco Bueno was the only option huh??? Let’s be honest, you should have packed a small cooler the day before. Yes, it would have required you to stay up 30 minutes longer but you did that anyways watching your favorite TV show. But you didn’t pack that cooler…I get it, Scandal is really good. But there is a grocery store one block away from Taco Bueno. It has deli meat, baby carrots, apples, and snack pack sizes of Wholly Guacamole. That would fill your babies and yourself with great protein, carbs and healthy fats. And your kiddo won’t stink the car up on the way home with party burrito toots.“
- “If there were better choices than the one you made and you knew there were better choices then why not just make the best choice? There are way too many opportunities when you do not have the best choice available. This is not your last meal ever. These choices you are making are for your health, your goals, the example you are setting for your family. Just because a food is on the menu doesn’t make it an option if your goals don’t allow for that food to enter your body.”
- “Kids are not the bosses. They are learning how to be grownups. It is our job to teach them how to care for their bodies. Taste buds change, they mature. It can take up to 20 times of trying a food before a child or even adult develops a taste for that food. I have seen this over and over again in my children. We have a rule that you must try one bite of everything on your plate. You don’t have to like it but you must try it. They think it is exciting when their taste buds have “grown up” and they like something new. A lot of time as parents we get stuck in a rut of cooking the same foods we know our family will eat. We don’t want dinnertime to be any more stressful than it already is so we stick to potatoes and green beans. Keep encouraging your kiddos and yourself to try new foods. A wider variety of foods allows for a wider variety of nutrients.
- Your kids won’t starve….to death. They may get hungry but that is okay because they will eat the food you give them at the next opportunity. Let’s not be unreasonable here though. Make sure you are offering a variety of options for them to eat. And explain to your kids why eating junk in place of eating real food is hurting their little bodies more than not eating at all. Kids are smart. They want the details. They want to understand and know everything we do. Give it to them straight. “Because I said so” is rarely motivational.”
I wonder if you read all of that and just thought, “Easy for you to say. You eat, sleep, and breathe health. I, on the other hand have to sell cars all day long or run from patient to patient or deal with teaching/disciplining bratty teenagers all day. I don’t live in a health bubble. My life is different from yours.”
And I get that. I really do. I feel that way about my pastors. I think it would be so easy to make time to read my Bible if that was my job. But in the end it doesn’t matter. I can drop that ball because it doesn’t come easy and it isn’t a requirement of my career. I can use all the excuses. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt me, my family, those I set an example for. We must feed our bodies in the same way we must feed our spirit. There will always be excuses… But excuses don’t change the outcome.
I really want to encourage you to sit down with your family and discuss your health goals. Being healthy may not sound exciting to your kids but explain to them that being healthy doesn’t just mean that they won’t be sick but that they will run faster, have bigger muscles, have smarter brains. Find a way to get them on board. And then say that for 30 days you are all going to drop the excuses and make health a priority. Set some rules such as:
- No fast food.
- Everyone must try everything on their plate.
- No added sweeteners
- Only water
And then set up some rewards.
- Spend some time on Yelp and search out a cool restaurant with foods you have never tried. Go Greek or Indian or just something other than pizza and hamburgers. Mark your calendar and make an event out of this meal. Let the kids choose. Check out the menu beforehand and research what some of the foods are. Encourage your kids to not order off the kids menu and to try new things.
- Instead of rewarding your kids with sweets, pick something fun for you to all do…go rock climbing, check out the Dallas Aquarium, the Heard Museum, In-door skydiving, take a painting class, or simply spend the day in PJs and playing video games and watching cartoons. Kids want time with their parents in the end. Give them that.
- Give your kids the opportunity to choose some of the menu for the week. Let them in on the decision-making. Give them some boundaries and some options. If they are big enough to get on the Internet have them search for some tasty recipes. Type “paleo dinner recipes” into your search engine and then let them scroll through the images and pick something that looks yummy to them.
Let’s be honest, I’m not perfect. You aren’t perfect. We are going to make poor choices every now and then. But instead of making excuses let’s just own it. And make a plan of how to do better next time.
- Next time instead of feeling like you deserve a cheat meal because of a stressful week, reward yourself with a mani/pedi, an hour or two with your favorite book and no distractions, or a bubble bath. Food is fuel, not a reward.
- If you didn’t pack that cooler for the game this time, block time on your schedule before next week’s game to pack a lunch and some snacks.
- When you succumb to choosing corn tortillas over just eating the fajita skillet remind yourself that you are worth the very small sacrifice of genetically modified high carb corn tortillas. Sometimes we mindlessly make poor choices. You must be aware of your food…not just the way it tastes but how it is affecting your body.
- When your kiddos refuse to eat the food in front of them bring them in on the planning of tomorrow’s meal. Take them to the produce department at the grocery store and let them pick a veggie that is new to them and then find a recipe for that vegetable.
- If you freak out and feel like your baby is starving to death supplement with some protein smoothies for snacks. Make sure it is clean and only whey protein. Add some spinach, frozen berries and coconut milk and you have all three macros!
We have a lot of life to fit into our busy schedule. Make that life feel good. Don’t waste it on junk and feeling gross. And teach your kids to do the same by showing them. You must be the one that leads the way. Change the cycle. Eat for life. And give up those excuses.
These Energy Bites will be a huge hit for yourself and your kids.
2 cups GF Organic Oats
1 cup Almond Butter
1 cup Shredded Unsweetened Coconut Flakes, Toasted
1 cup Flaxseed Meal
2/3 cup Raw and Unfiltered Honey
1/2 cup Enjoy Life Mini Chocolate Chips
2 tsp Vanilla Extract
1/4 tsp Salt
Mix all ingredients together. Better yet, get your kiddos little hands in there and let them go to town mixing and mashing. Refrigerate mixture until chilled. Wet hands and roll into small golfball sized balls and refrigerate on cookie sheet. Enjoy!!!!