School holidays are the perfect time to get your children, young and old, into good eating and healthy living.
Their growing bodies and brains are constantly being bombarded with junk food adverts on TV, sweet shops and fast food restaurants right near their school gates and peer pressure to try the latest drug of choice (from new chocolate bars to cigarettes and more).
We know that these junk foods ruin their concentration, makes them moody, hyperactive and trigger a whole host of health conditions, which some parents and children do their best to ignore or cover up with the creams and potions from the local doctor. Conditions like:
Lack of energy
Severe mood swings or aggression
Constipation (your children should be passing a stool at least once a day, if you don’t know if they are, check!)
Foul smelling flatulence
Strong body odour (even from 7 years old)
PMS in girls and more
It’s hard enough being a child at times, even more difficult being a teenager, so as parents, do your best to give their bodies the nutrients they need to stave off as many of these problems as you can.
During the school holiday, instead of letting them vegetate in front of the TV or games console for days on end (mine bunch would watch TV for hours on end given the chance), why not try out some of these ideas with them
1) Have a picnic – Whether it’s hot or cold you can still go through the whole process of making the foods, packing the picnic basket (or a big bag) and laying out a rug to eat on the floor of your front room or out at the park.
Instead of crisps, white bread sandwiches and fizzy drinks, give them raw nuts (almonds and monkey nuts are my children’s favourites), cucumber and carrot sticks, sugar snap peas, baby plum tomatoes, homemade coleslaw, fresh fruit juice lollies (if you’re taking a freezer box with you), homemade burgers wrapped in romaine lettuce, chicken, bean, vegetable or fruit salad and apple juice sweetened lemonade.
You can bake a cake or cookies with your children, with healthy ingredients to make it even more special.
2) Go for a family bike ride – This is a great way to get some exercise in with the children, you can do it round the local park, around your block or along the beach if you’re lucky enough to live near one. If not everyone has a bike you can take turns saddling each other (get those muscle working) or one can run while the other rides.
Scooters are a great alternative to bikes too, a couple of laps round the block on their scooters is enough to get our bunch out of breath.
3) Plant a herb garden in your kitchen – A pack of seeds, a bag of peat free organic compost, a tray or pot and some water is all you need to get things going.
Every one can plant their own herb or you can all have your own role in the process (one fills the tray with compost, one plants the seeds, one waters them etc). This also gives you a chance to teach them about all the different herbs you use in your cooking or favourite foods (oregano on pizzas, basil on pasta, dill in fish sauces, rosemary with roast chicken).
In our recent natural health homeschooling lesson, we made some infused herb oils with basil, coriander, parsley, chilli, garlic and olive oil. They were so quick to make with them and they want to use their delicious healthy oils at every meal to season their foods.
4) Find A Pick Your Own Farm – These are a great place to take children to show them where the foods they eat every day actually comes from (no lovely little ones, eggs don’t come from the supermarkets and chips don’t come from the chip shop, they actually come from chickens and potatoes).
The season we’re in will depend on what’s available, but there’s normally something growing during a spring or summer holiday.
5) Let’s Get Physical!!! There’s nothing better to kick start the day than to put on some lively music and shake a leg or better still, put on an upbeat exercise video and get everyone to join in. Find a good zumba, socarobics, raggarobics YouTube video or DVD and get everyone on their feet to take part. If the workout requires weights, let them use tins of food or a thick book so they can fully participate.
6) Let them make dinner – No matter what their ages are, all children (not babies!!!) can do something to help make a meal. Even serving the already cooked food for a younger child would be a good start. The emphasis is to use WHOLE foods from scratch and to use seasonings lightly so the children can really taste the foods.
Giving your children the ingredients they need to make a salad dressing, letting them wash some salad leaves and then breaking up a roasted Chicken breast or some falafels to make a chicken or falafel salad for the family is a good way to get them started.
Older children who are already familiar with the kitchen and can use it safely can be given a recipe, some reassuring words and left to create. Emphasis on the reassuring words!!!! And remember to be thankful for whatever they produce.
7) Get Arty – The mind is a terrible thing to waste and it’s getting numbed and dumbed down by an addiction to TV and video games, which is often fed by us as their parents by not giving them alternatives. It’s important for children to get a chance to explore their creative and artistic sides.
Activities like fine art at an easel, beading and jewellery making, model making (tanks and airplanes) and pottery are fun activities that help develop your child’s concentration, which will help them in their more academic studies too.
You don’t need to go to special classes either, recycling old boxes, buying a few paints, glue and modelling clay can get you going. There are some great tutorials on YouTube you can watch and do together too. My daughters love My Froggy Stuff which teaches them how to make things for dolls and I love watching crochet tutorials.
So there are just a few ideas to get you going. Remember, the keys to getting your children to try new things and getting them to LOVE natural wholesome living is to follow these simple rules
- Keep it fun
- Let them make mistakes and learn from them
- Give them plenty of praise for getting involved, trying new foods and activities and helping out
Let me know how it goes
Take care and stay healthy
The Naturally You Coach
About the Author: Leah Salmon, The Naturally You Coach, is a best selling author of 6 books, editor of The Naturally You Magazine, a whole foods and personal development coach, raw food workshop teacher and homeschooling mother of 5. Leah helps people boost their energy, beat their cravings, stabilise their weight, reverse symptoms of disease using personalised dieting planning with whole foods and her signature 7 step Naturally You Coaching program. Join her FREE mailing list in the yellow box on the right of the page to get a Free Top Ten Health Boosting Recipes Book
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