Thursday, July 26, 2012

From The Mouth of Babes

My grandson, Jackson, was a reporter for his summer camp’s newspaper. Imagine my delight when I read his article called “The Benefits of Eating Healthy." Take a look:

Opinion: The Benefits of Eating Healthy by Jackson Briant
Eating healthy can help you through life. You will be in shape when you’re older. You can have a treat every now and then but not every day. Eating healthy is the best way to help your body. Don’t eat or drink junk food every day be healthy and have a good life!

His mother also works for Weight Watchers, so between the two of us, he’s gotten some terrific messaging about eating right. It’s just wonderful that he was inspired by us to share his views with his fellow campers! When you consider how kids today are inundated with junk food ads and extra-large serving sizes, it isn’t always easy to tout the benefits of moderation.

Jackson has gotten the idea that the decisions he makes about health now, while he’s a child, will impact him throughout his life. He also makes a connection between eating right and feeling good. He’s absolutely right: eating healthy is a key to longevity, weight control, and disease prevention—and the earlier you start, the better.

We can all help our children and grandchildren understand the facts and establish healthy habits early on. Talk about the health perks of foods you’re sharing with the family so they’ll learn what foods are most nutritious. Involve them in grocery shopping and cooking meals so they’ll see first-hand how easy it is to eat right and enjoy the food you’re eating. And if you’re like my daughter and me, go ahead and share with the kids what you’re learning at Weight Watchers meetings (or from other resources) about portion control, substitutions, and ways to prepare foods more healthfully.

Jackson wisely said in his article that it’s OK to have a treat every now and then, just not every day. When it comes to eating junk food, it’s all about moderation—while having fun with the splurge! If more kids this guideline, they won’t train their bodies to need a daily “hit” of sugary, salty, or greasy food, and we’ll see less adults with diabetes and heart disease.

It’s important for kids to value their own bodies and regard food in a positive light. These attitudes serve as the foundation for behaviors that can last a lifetime. I couldn’t be happier that my grandson is well on his way—and spreading the word to other kids!

We can all learn from Jackson and other kids who embrace a healthy lifestyle. If only I had half of Jackson’s insight when I was a little girl! I wonder how my struggles with self-love, body image, and weight would have been different?

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