Beth Warren Nutrition Blog

Back to School Tips: Parents Edition

by Jenn Tricot September 9, 2019

       Creating a fun, healthy atmosphere is so important for kids to be raised with. It can mentally, emotionally, and physically make them feel great especially with the school year beginning. Small steps around the home can eventually lead your children to make smarter healthier decisions out of home. With school transitioning, we encourage kids to keep healthy but also having responsibilities for parents. It’s important not to be overly push and be intuitive with the way we speak to our kids. It’s best to not reward your kids with food, but rather with friendly gestures or phrases. Here are some examples, tips and recipes below:

Phrases that Help Your Child Eat and Live Well, Not Hinder:

     1. Take the time to have a conversation about how a certain food or physical activity may help them. For example, if you go for a daily walk, let your children tag along and let them decide on where to go. As you walk, discuss how it helps you feel better and how it’s a fun way to spend time together.

     2. Speak up when you see unhealthy eating habits and use them as teaching moments. Direct children to healthier options or say, "You can have a little of that, but not too much." Talk to them about why an overly salty or heavily sugared snack is not the best choice.  Language becomes extremely important in scenerios like these, in which the kids can grow based off of how you speak and react.

     3. Praise your children when they choose a healthy item like fruit or veggies with comments similar to these:

               "Great choice!"

               "You're giving your body what it needs with that snack!"

               "I like those too.”

A tip from nutrition stripped says to lead by example. “If they see you as their role model and parent making a negative comment or negative visual cue (“icky” face) towards vegetables or healthier foods, chances are they will mimic that very action. Therefore…. Eat YOUR veggies too!”

     5. With physical activity, try motivating phrases like these to keep your child excited:

                "You run so fast, I can hardly keep up!"

                "You are building a strong, healthy heart!"

                "Let's walk 10 more minutes to make us stronger.”

How to Reward Eating Behavior Without Food

If you reward with food, children link it with something good or bad rather than what it is. It’s intended as fuel for their body. Over time, this could lead to emotional eating and create an unhealthy relationship with food. Aside from the fact that kids will expect it when they do something well, poor nutrition and times of eating when not hungry will add on, which contributes to excess calories. Plus, food rewards teach them that the food rewarded is more desirable than other foods. A better option is to focus on FUN rather than FOOD whenever possible! Here’s how:

      1. Praise is greatly effective and doesn’t cost anything. 

      2. Take time to create a list of non-food rewards that motivate your children. Brainstorm a list of incentives with them.

      3. Create a treasure box for small items such as stickers, special pencils, small toys, craft kits, sidewalk chalk, fun erasers, plastic jewelry, plastic bugs/animals from which your child can choose.

     4. Play dates or sleepovers with friends are always a hit.

     5. Special time with parents or grandparents is more coveted than you think.

     6. Trips to the park, pool, skating rink, bowling alley or movies are a load of fun.

Through these tips, you'll find your kids getting empowered from the right healthy things that matter! Another comment from nutrition stripped says, "Keep in mind what you’re feeding your children before, during, and after school is going to help them not only mentally feel great and focused for the day, but also physically healthy to enjoy and engage in activities of interest!" Take a lot of our delicious nut-free Oat Apple Recipe below. 

“The craving of him who lacks the opportunity to gratify it is much more intense than the craving of him who has such opportunity.” 

—TALMUD, YOMA 67A 

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