CMO’s Healthy Living Philosophy
written by Dr. Winterkorn
- Healthy Living is a family affair. It takes a group effort to remember to eat well, play well, and be well
- Rules about eating and exercise should apply to the whole family. Whether you are small or large, short or tall, young or old, everyone is healthier when they have a healthier diet and more activity.
- It is easier to make a single change for the whole family than to have different “rules” for different people within the family. This way nobody feels left out or deprived
- Both parents (and grandparents) need to be on the same page. If one parent is limiting and trying to “eat well” and the other is buying sweets and treats, it sets up a bad dynamic in the family.
Families should cook together, eat together, and enjoy each others company. This can be particularly hard to do with an overtired toddler or busy adolescent, but is absolutely worth the effort!
Ellyn Satter has a wonderful guide to healthy eating in toddlers and children, here is the basic idea. Parents and children have different “jobs” when it comes to eating:
Parents control: Where (at the dinner table);
What (fruits, vegetables, proteins, whole grains);
When (3 scheduled meals and 2 snacks)
Children control: How Much (there’s no such thing as a “clean plate club”)
Michael Pollan has “7 Rules for Food” that are good at any age
Challenge yourself: Once a month, make a grocery shopping trip where you stay around the perimeter of the supermarket (dairy, meat, and veggies only).
If you want your kids to go outdoors and play in the snow, or jump in the pool, or throw a ball, you should strap on your boots/suit/shoes and go with them. Everyone will have fun!
- Limit screen time to 2 hours for parents too. If you don’t want your teen to be texting at the dinner table, set a good example and put your phone away too. Toddlers won’t sit at the dinner table if TV is on in the family room.
- Set up family game night or media-free weekend and re-discover your kids, your friends, and your neighborhood.
- Exercise as a family by going out for a walk in the park, riding bikes to school, or having a dance-party after dinner.