I’ve been working on this one problem: many parents find it really hard to have their kids eat healthy.

We see the signs of this everywhere. We see skyrocketing childhood obesity, and other chronic illnesses that didn’t use to afflict our children. It didn’t use to afflict us until we were old, older, elderly people. Type two diabetes, and heart disease, and cancers. We’re seeing these showing up in younger and younger kids.

I really set out on this journey of the Kids Eating Broccoli podcast, kids eating broccoli as a movement to support parents to help their kids eat healthier. To setup habits for a lifetime of healthy eating, healthy life, good functioning bodies and good functioning brains, so that our children’s health is not something that holds them back from succeeding and doing the things they want in life, it’s actually something that supports them in doing that.

Our mission is to touch 20 million families, and help to make them the next generation the best generation in history. Rather than the direction that things seem to be going at least health wise. Our kids generation is right now the first generation in recorded history that is expected to have a lower life span than their parents. That’s profound, that’s astounding, because typically it goes the other way. Where each successive generation has a better chance of living longer as we learn things about health, and as we learn things about sanitation. That was a huge one in the last few generations for preventing communicable diseases.

That’s why we’re doing what we’re doing, that’s why I’m so passionate about the Kids Eating Broccoli podcast, that’s why these awesome experts in this field of nutrition, and health, and children’s health are out there willing to give their time to this project, and being interviewed, and share their pearls of wisdom.

What I want to cover today is where healthy eating for our children begins. It begins with us, with the parents. We have to be the example for our kids to follow. When I say that the first thing that might come to mind is, “oh I’ve got to be eating healthier”, or “I do eat healthy so why don’t my kids eat healthy”. The example goes well beyond just that I eat salad everyday, or I eat a green smoothie everyday. It really goes to the point of how we interact with our food as individuals, and how we treat our body in terms of what really works for us, what fits for us. Whether we’re really approaching our own health, and our own eating from the inside out, or whether we’re trying to put outside in constructs on our eating, and what we think is suppose to be healthy.

father-1633655_640            For example, there are a lot of diets and things like that going around that are popular, and we can read any book that’ll tell us how to eat. If we do that, and then we try to impose that onto our structure of eating, even if we might not feel the best, or even if it isn’t pleasant, we have to struggle to do it, our kids pick up on all that stuff. We know that they do what we do, rather than what we say. It’s not just what we do, it’s how we interact with life.

One of the most, or the most important place to start to look if we want to make a change in the healthy lifestyle habits of our family and of our children in particular, we really have to start by looking inside. We really have to become much more mindful, and much more self aware of our own health habits, and our own interaction with our health habits.

Are we excited to eat that food that’s full of life, and take time to learn about new flavors, and these types of things, or do we just sort of stuff it in our mouths as fast as we can staring at our little screens the whole time? What is our relationship to our food?  Because our kids are watching. They’re all watching us. Whether we like it or not they’re always watching us. That’s really where it begins, because when we can be that example they’re also watching that too.

The ideas, and even the knowledge, the scientific knowledge of how to eat, and what’s healthy, and what’s not is always changing. Changing because the way our food is produced is always being changed. Now we have GMOs, we didn’t have that a few generations ago. Now we have artificial sweeteners that didn’t exist a couple generations ago. Those things are always changing. Having a basic foundation understanding of healthy stuff, and organic, and not GMO, that’s all valuable and important.

I talk to my kids about that a lot. If there’s one thing that I hope and want to impart on them it is to really pay attention to how you feel when you’re eating certain ways, and how different foods effect the way you feel, your energy levels, how clear your mind works, and to start understanding what the exchange, the energetic exchange is with food. These are little life-forms right? Fruits, vegetables, animals depending on what you eat. They’re giving their energy.  They collect energy, and then we take that energy and we use it for our own purposes.

How that interaction works, and where we have that energy exchange, and what that really means. We don’t necessarily have to have philosophical conversations about it or anything like that. My kids are nine, and six, and two, but we talk about things that when they go places, another kids birthday party, or something like that and eat a bunch of cake, or pizza and cake, and things that I would never feed them, but they have that experience and then we talk about it. How do you feel afterwards?

IMG_20170115_183053            Now my oldest daughter she’ll volunteer that. She’ll say, “I’m not feeling so good. It probably was that whatever, such and such that I ate.” Hooking that up is so much more important to her life going forward, and the healthy choices she will or won’t make than knowing it’s against the rules for me to eat this cake, or to eat this pizza. Who knows? Maybe she needs to have that experience 100 times and then she’ll make a different choice. Maybe she only needs that one more time, maybe she’s done. I don’t know. I can’t force that with her. I have to help her experience it in a relevant way.

I encourage you to really look at you first. Look at your own eating, your own mindfulness around nutrition, and your mindfulness around eating. Is it something that you are self aware and mindful about? Do you consider the energetic exchange? Do you consider the flavors? Do you consider enjoyment, and also how it’s going to feel later? How your body responds to different foods, or do you mindlessly stuff food into your mouth while you have a little screen in front of you?

I’m not saying that to make anybody wrong or anything, but just keep in mind that our kids are watching. Knowing that, our own health suffers when we do that. I just heard about a study that said that we eat 25% more calories in a meal if we’re looking at a screen while we’re eating. Now that’s amazing. How many people could lose this weight that they’re having so much trouble losing just by stopping looking at a screen when they eat, because they do all the time?

That mindfulness and that self awareness is so vital. That was the tip I wanted to share today. The first place we look when we’re trying to change our own lifestyle, and particularly with our kid’s and their health habits going forward. This is Doctor Brad from DoctorEllisor.com and the Kid’s Eating Broccoli podcast. You take care.