Recently I had the opportunity to meet and speak with Dr. Andy Baldwin, a Family Medicine Resident at Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton in Southern California (you might recognize him from Season Ten of The Bachelor). Andy is an avid advocate for childhood nutrition and fitness and serves as an Ambassador to a charity called ING Run For Something Better and the ING KiDS ROCK.
In his daily career as a physician, he sees the negative side effects from poor diet and lack of exercise on a daily basis. He says he is seeing everything from bad posture to early-onset diabetes and signs of chronic disease in early teens, which is all tied into their eating habits and lack of exercise.
Andy and I spoke for a while on the things parents can do in our everyday life to help set up our kids up for a healthy lifestyle.
1) Limit processed and/or sugary foods; indulge in natural ones. In our fast-paced society, and in the midst of an economic crunch, it is sometimes challenging to make the time or come up with funds to buy/make nutritious snacks. Here are some of Andy’s (and my) favorite, easy snacks that you can take on the run.
- Carrots & hummus
- Cucumber & lemon
- Nuts (cashews and almonds)
- Fruit (dried or regular)
- Greek yogurt (stay away from the real sugary yogurts)
- Kashi cereals (stay away from sugary cereals!)
If your kid is not a fan of some of these snacks on the first try…then try, try again. I have noticed that it takes my kids about three or four times of trying something before their taste buds come around. Be persistent and they will come around!
2) Be a role model for your kids. Just as important as what we are feeding our kids is what we feed ourselves. They are watching everything we do, including what we eat and drink, so if they see us reach for cucumber slices as opposed to potato chips, they will ultimately be more inclined to go for healthier options when they are given the choice.
- Be active with them, in front of them and for them. This ties into the role modeling tip above. If our kids see us being active and making fitness a priority, then they will more than likely do the same. Also, participating in an activity with them like a mommy & me yoga class will encourage them to enjoy being active. If f they do it when they’re very young, they will be more apt to do it when they are older.
4) Limit time with tech gadgets and increase active play outdoors. iPhones, iPads, Playstations, TVs and computers are every which way we turn, with many a distraction for our little ones (and ourselves). It is easy to get caught up playing with them, so setting a limit to the amount of time our kids can have with said gadgets is a must. Then be sure to carve out at least an hour of active/outside time every day. Also, I’ve instilled a “no technology at dinner time” that kids AND adults need to follow. Even though it’s hard to put my cell phone away for that half hour, my kids will yell at me if they see me on it.
5) Open a dialogue with your kids on how nutrition affects their future. I sometimes skirt around words like “skinny” and “fat” when talking to my daughters because I know they are going to face body issues soon enough. However, Andy pointed out that being honest with my girls early on about weight issues as it relates to their health is appropriate and he encourages it.
Today, June 1st 2011, is National Run Day. To celebrate this day, Competitor Group is discounting fees for their entire Rock ‘n’ Roll Series. If you sign up TODAY, you will:
SAVE $26 on any Marathon
SAVE $13 on any Half Marathon
SAVE $10 on any 10K
SAVE $5 on any 5K
P.S. The Las Vegas Rock ‘n’ Roll Half & Full Marathon is on Sunday, December 4thand is a NIGHT RACE! How fun would it be to run down the strip at night along with a couple hundred Elvises? Sign me up!!!
Also, in honor of National Running Day, I have posted a vlog on my own site about running has changed my life. If you are the type of person who thinks you could NEVER run more than 2 miles, then pop on over and I will convince you otherwise.
And remember, if your kids see you running, they will be more inclined to run and be fit themselves! And…it’s not too late to sign up for the San Diego ING KiDS ROCK race on June 4th. CLICK HERE for more deets.