My quest to raise a healthy child began during my pregnancy. I knew I wanted to do what I thought would be best. What mother doesn’t? Of course, what’s “best” is different for everyone, but for me I decided to put my focus on raising a healthy eater with a positive attitude towards exercise.
I knew that raising a healthy child meant starting a good relationship with food right away. I’ve made a conscious effort to avoid exposing my daughter to foods that contain chemicals, artificial food colorings or flavors, strange additives that I can’t pronounce, and foods with long ingredient lists. This means, in general, we avoid fast food, and most processed foods. We buy organic when we can, but it isn’t a strict rule in my house. Treats and dessert are pieces of fresh fruit, and that always goes over well!
It wasn’t easy at first. I thought I had a pretty decent handle on the food I was eating to begin with, but when I took a closer look at what I had in my pantry, I saw I had much of what I was trying to avoid! So I began the process of cleaning things up. It’s been fun, challenging (in a good way) and sometimes down right frustrating.
I have discovered a love for taking a “do it yourself” attitude in the kitchen. I slowly found recipes for the processed foods I had become so used to. And what I couldn’t find recipes for, I made up myself. I was truly surprised at how many of the foods I thought could only come in a box, were actually a cinch to make in my own kitchen.
One of the things that really helped me to be able to feed my daughter mostly home-cooked meals without using processed foods, has been what some people call power cooking ( you can read about it here). Which is basically just cooking in large batches, and freezing meals for later. By doing this, I am able to work full-time, and still put a healthy meal on the table during the week. I love that I know what my family eats!
For me, adding in exercise had proven to be more difficult. I don’t have an aversion to being active, I just have a hard time finding the time to incorporate it into our daily lives. But, now that I’ve gotten the food under control for the most part, I can put more energy into this area. I think being active for at least 30 minutes to an hour a day is equally as important as the food you eat! We do find it easier in the summer time to get out and be active. Parks, hiking and nightly walks are regular activities for us as a family. Now I just need to figure out indoor activities to keep us moving in the winter.
All in all, these are the two things I focus on in my quest to raise a healthy child. I feel that if I establish good eating and exercise habits early on for my daughter, they will be habits that stay with her for life. My personal belief, is that it’s much easier to start a good habit and keep it, than it is to break a bad habit later. And of course, leading by example and being a good role model for our kids is the best way to start them off on the right foot!
Children’s health is at the top of every mother’s mind. What’s your favorite tip for raising a healthy baby? By replying, you will be entered to win an exclusive Million Moms Challenge Gift Pack, which includes an iPad2, a custom-made Million Moms Challenge pendant and a $50 donation in your name to Global Giving.
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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Million Moms Challenge. The opinions and text are all mine. Contest runs November 14 to December 18, 2011. A random winner will be announced by December 20, 2011.