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10.10.2012

Living a Healthier Life & Setting Better Examples for my Girls

In my last post on Monday, I talked a lot about my eating lifestyle change and what I'm doing to implement better choices into my day-to-day routine. Shockingly a LOT of you have emailed or commented and asked...
"How is this kind of eating really going over with your family, especially your kids?"
"Do you have to cook different meals for you and them?"
"Are they eating better because you're eating better?"
"What do they think about your weight loss stuff?"

I was actually really happy these questions popped up, because they go hand in hand with what I wanted to share with you guys today.

Leading by Example and Making Better Choices.

We all know that kids are super impressionable right?... some, definitely more than others. I am a firm believer that each child is born with a specific personality that makes them who they are... BUT, as parents/caregivers, we are their main source of influence.  From the music we listen to and television programs they see us enjoy, to all the things they hear us say and watch us do.

I've only been a parent for a little under 7 years, and even though I'd heard all about how impressionable kids are, I didn't really learn my lesson until a little over a year ago.

My three girls and I were sitting in the kitchen and I was was getting ready to make lunch. I offered up a few different options for them and while busily pulling things out of the cupboards, waited for their responses. I heard, "Peanut butter and jelly, ham and cheese!"... but never got a response from my third kiddo. So I turned around and asked. "Honey, what do you want to eat?" She looked up at me, and sheepishly said... "Well, I want a peanut butter and jelly, but I think it will make me fat."
I stopped in my tracks and was completely shocked at what my 5yr old had just said to me. I then asked her, "Who told you that?" She started to get upset, but then finally said, "I heard you say to Daddy, that all the yummy foods make you fat, and I think PB&J is yummy, but I don't want to get fat, because it's not good... right Mom?"

Yeah... I died. I literally had no words.
She had obviously overheard a conversation between Cason and I, where I was probably frustrated about my weight/eating and then took it to heart. I tried my best to explain as honestly as I could that, "Yes, sometimes yummy foods like candy, cake, cookies, chips, etc... are not always good for us, because they CAN make us gain weight we don't need on our bodies, and that IS bad for our health. BUT, having them as a 'sometimes' food is okay, and we just need to be careful with how much we eat, and to eat fruits and veggies along with them... like you will have with your PB&J sandwich."

I'm pretty sure that 90% of my explanation went over her little 5yr old head, but I did my best to ease her mind. Lunch went on as normal for my girls; giggling, laughing and eating... but I couldn't shake what had just happened, and how much of a hypocrite I sounded (and looked) like. I had just been taught one of the MOST valuable lessons as a new Mom:

"Your kids are ALWAYS watching and listening"
...even when you don't think they are.

Realizing this made me not only embarrassed, but very aware of how I take care of myself. I wanted my girls to see me as active, healthy and happy. Not lazy, overweight and sad about how I looked sometimes. For me, this lifestyle change started because I was fat and wanted to lose weight, but now, it's morphed into something totally different. It's not about what size I can wear, or even necessarily what number I see on the scale... but more about how I'm showing my kids a good example of what hard work and determination can get you.
I thought I'd let my girls speak for themselves, so I asked them some of the questions you sent me.
Here were their answers: 


You can't MAKE kids like certain foods, or force them to eat things they don't want to (okay you could, although trust me, it's not pretty, ha!) but you CAN lead by example.
Something we've recently started doing with our little family to get us ALL active, is hiking. It's fun, it's exercise and a lot of the time it's actually really tough for them, but it helps teach my kids hard work and that if they 'just keep going' there's a reward at the end.

During this weight loss journey I've also found out how incredibly important water is to our bodies. How food can't digest correctly and fat can't breakdown properly without it. Recently I also read that sugary drinks are the largest source of added sugar in U.S. children’s diets, contributing to the rise in childhood obesity levels, and only 15 percent of school-age kiddos drink the recommended amount of water, but on average consume six sodas per week .
Totally crazy right? That's why I was so happy to team up with Brita when they asked me to help get the word out about this great new squeezable and reusable Brita Bottle for kids.
Our water is pretty bad where we live. It's gotten better since we moved-in about 6 years ago, but it still isn't great to drink straight from the tap. This is another reason that I was pumped about the Brita Bottle, because it has it's own filter to make drinking water that much better/healthier.

Thanks to Brita we've been trying out these new bottles for a few weeks now, and my girls love them. It may just be the fact that having something new to drink out of is fun, but hey... they're drinking lots of water, so more power to 'em! 

Because my girls are still at such a young age, choosing healthier things to eat and drink ALL the time doesn't really come as easily to them, but if you think about it, when at home, our kids can only consume what we provide them. Introducing my girls to new/healthier foods or supplying them with a fun way to drink lots of water during the day, is how I can help them to make better lifestyle choices NOW... that will hopefully continue on in the future.

GIVEAWAY:
Brita wants to hear what you have to say about this topic (as do I), so they've offered to let me giveaway a few of their Brita Bottles to some of you, just for sharing with us:

What do you do to encourage your kids to make
healthy choices at home and on the go?

I'm still new to all of this, so I'm excited to read your comments/advice. Have you always pushed for healthy choices at home? Do your kids eat fruits, veggies and drink lots of water without a problem? or are you finding that it's more of a battle for them, because you didn't implement all of those things from the beginning, or because they just simply don't like them?
I have to admit, we're somewhere in the middle, so I'm always up for new suggestions.

Ready, set, GO!
:)

Clorox is providing the prizes for this program at no cost to me. This program and blog content is not administered or sponsored by Clorox or it's affiliates, but solely by me. Giveaway is open to US residence only. Three House of Smiths readers will be picked randomly to receive a Brita Bottle, free of any charges to them. Winner will be announced on The House of Smiths Facebook page, one week from today.

197 comments:

  1. We make sure fruits and veggies are readily available for snacks.

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  2. We don't give our kids unhealthy choices for meals and snacks (they do get unhealthy treats but only on occasion) They've never had soda and are allowed one small cup of milk or juice per day. They drink water the rest of the time and don't know to even question it because that's the way it has always been. Luckily they are not picky eaters and we haven't ever had any issues when it comes to food with them. (my boys are 6.5 and 4)

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  3. we don't eat alot of candy at home, but when we do my kids go crazy. Last summer we decided to eat more fresh produce and my daughter was having a problem with it, so we told her that the fruit we wanted her to eat was sweet like candy, but that it was better for you. We called it natures candy. Now the kids have a hard time not eating all the fruit we get into the house.

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  4. As a mom to a 4 year old daughter, I am acutely aware of how she watches and takes in everything I do. To that end, while I work out, sometimes with her and her brother in tow, I never talk about losing weight or being unhappy with my body. Unfortunately that's not enough, but it seeps in from elsewhere too. She has asked before if I think she's fat, or looks fat in something, and it breaks my heart. 1) that she would ever think that and 2) that these questions pop up at such a young age. The biggest gift we can do is to continue to lift them up at home, and load them up with confidence and positive messages. I have to think that that's the best way to combat any negativity they might encounter while out in the world.

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  5. Making strides with our lifestyle changes here too ... & it feels good! Making conscious decisions on what we are eating {& drinking}...no more mindless munching!

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  6. I was fortunate that my girls (ages 6 and 4) have always loved fruit and veggies. Some of the things we tried to do from the beginning is only have water when we are out at restaurants (unless the meal comes with milk/juice) and no soda. I also try to only have home made baked goods in the house - so it is a special treat (I definitely don't bake every week) and "better" for them then store bought cake, cookies and muffins. We aren't perfect, but I think teaching kids about moderation and making good choices is better than limiting a whole genre of food.

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  7. How sweet and adorable (and smart!) are your girls?! What a wonderful testament to you as a mom. You must be beyond proud. :) Thanks for sharing!

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  8. LOve this! I have never posted before. I love that you are involving your girls in your healthy lifestyle. I have always involved our children as well. We have a rule at dinner -- 3 veggies...no matter what. It works! They do not complain anymore at all. Also, if they are taking school lunch, fridays are the day the get to chose chocolate milk. Teaching them moderation is one of our privledges as a parent.

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  9. Love this! We let our kids choose at least 3 veggies every meal...they love this. Also...if they are taking school lunch they know that Friday is chocolate milk day! They love to be involved and they feel so good when they make healthy decisions! Way to go!

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  10. It is so hard in my house since my daughter has developed quite the sweet tooth. I just try to limit sugar, and indulge her with healthier "sweets" like fruit and yogurt. And she's proud of herself when she eats healthy since I tell her that's what give her energy for school and to play. It is however a constant struggle, and I'm already strategizing for the Trick or Treat candy surge!

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  11. We found two awesome cook books that limit sugar and fat in all the recipes and have found that you can still eat almost all of what you enjoy, the recipes have just been tweaked to make them wholesome. At first the kids say they could tell the diffeerence, but now they beg for some of the meals that have been cooked. Size of serving is also something that needs to be taught early.

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  12. We're lucky that my daughter (3) is a real veggie-hound, and she's still in that phase where she considers fruit a treat/snack/dessert. We just try to encourage that and always have fruits and vegetables at the ready. She's never had soda (that's an awful habit of mine that I need to work harder on breaking) and we really try to make sure that when we're offering snacks, they're not awful ones - String cheese instead of offering her cookies. She also really loves the caramel corn rice cakes. Still sweet so she thinks she's getting a real "treat", but they're much better than a cupcake or chips or cookies.

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  13. great post! I have banned the word "fat" from my house ... my sister has 3 boys and is consonantly complaining about her body imagine ... with sons I guess it doesn't matter ... but I have 2 daughter who hear her... so I banned that talk in front of them b/c they are like little sponges!

    I have a treat bucket ... b/c well I love sweets! my kiddos get a "treat" after dinner... almost everyday ...all in moderation!? :)

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  14. This is a little bit of a sensitive topic for me. I have a child that started to be overweight at age 9. All the doctors recommended to me is control. We had healthy eating habits as a family so they said it all comes to portion control. So for a while I pre-served out food at meals and buttered everyones bread, at the advice of the doctor. This backfired. All of my children started having food issues. So, I have left the advice of the doctors and the weight obsessed society and tried to focus on several things. Some of these being, family meals, offering vegetables and fruit at every meal (in addition to our main dish), positive meal times, taking turns contributing to the planning and preparing of meals, expressing gratitude about food and our bodies and striving to be an active family. It is a hard challenge for me because I want my kids to be healthy and happy and I think we get mixed messages about what healthy and happy is. So to your question, the healthy choices we encourage in our children, are the patterns in our lives of feeding, nurturing, and loving our families. These patterns and examples are the largest contributor to their attitudes and choices with food.

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    1. I love this "Anonymous" post. I too have a daughter that is overweight. It has been a real struggle for me because she eats healthy, but can eat a lot. I finally went to a nutritionist/counselor and she said that we needed to not make such a big deal out of the word "fat". Meaning, if she said someone called her fat, hear here, but don't act like it is a bad thing. That is hard because of all that we see and hear in the media. The other thing is that my daughter just has my husbands genes. He was heavy as a child and hit a late growth spurt in High School. (He is now a normal weight). We are an active family and she is on the swim team and in gymnastics. I just want her to know that she is loved no matter what she looks like and I want her to have the coping ability to handle anything the world throws her way. The other important advice from the counselor was "NOT to put her on a diet". With our family history of eating disorders, this is a recipe for disaster. Thank you Anonymous for writing and helping me to feel less alone!

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  15. love you! You are such a great example of pure JOY! You can see it in your eyes & feel it from your heart in your posts! You are such a wonderful example to me & I'm sure so many others...keep it up! You are truly amazing! xoxxo
    R

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  16. My baby is only 11-months old, so I haven't had to address this yet. But as a dental hygienist, I see the effects of giving kids lots of sugary drinks on a daily basis. So I think I'm going to play the "we don't want cavities" card when it comes to teaching my kids about their drink choices. For meals, juice and milk are fine (kids NEED more milk in their diet!!) but in between meals, water is the best option. And a pretty/cool bottle to carry their water in makes it that much easier :)

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  17. What is you said about leading by example is the key. We used to drink a lot of Crystal Lite in our house (because I rationalized that it was better than soda) and it got to the point where our kids drank it almost exclusively, meaning they never reached for milk or water. I decided it had to stop and haven't bought it in over a year. They weren't thrilled at first but now they always choose milk or water, even in restaurants! They also carry around water bottles just like mom and dad. I love it. They are watching us all the time so we better be doing things we want them to see!

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  18. We all drink lots of water. My youngest doesn't really like it, but I allow him to have a cup of milk each morning & then he gets water. It goes a lot better if they drink out of a water bottle because for some reason that is more exciting. I also make sure we have a lot of fruit cut up and ready to eat for snacks so they don't grab something unhealthy.

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  19. my oldest in only three, so I dont think Ive really hit the hardest part of eating yet. That said, both of my boys eat pretty much anything. Not every time, and not always as much as I would like, but I try to pick my battles. I give them healthy options, if they choose not to eat them - fine, but there is definitely no alternative meal provided, you know? They both love green veggies and fruit, so it is not as hard as it could be! They dont drink as much water as I would like, but I sneak it in (the youngest doesnt drink juice yet, but if the oldest has a cup of juice it is always at least 3/4 water. He doesnt know any different! )

    Also - this isnt an answer to your question, but I wanted to applaud you for trying to set a healthy example for your girls. I learned some poor self-concepts from my (then anorexic) mother, and not surprisingly, I struggled with anorexia in my teens and early twenties. Its not her fault and I know she feels that it is, but you learn what you see, you know?

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  20. If I don't buy it... it is not an option. So I try my hardest to only have healthy options (snacks, lunch, breakfast and dinner)at home to pick from. I don't have to battle my kids to eat the good stuff and drink water because we started from the beginning. My one year old is the only kiddo with NO JUICE written on her cubbie at daycare. But I think it is important to learn to quench your thirst with water! I believe we do a healthy mix of good and bad, they are allowed chips and candy but in a moderate amount. Just enough that they don't beg for it. I think it works for us...which would be different for others.

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  21. I don't have kids snacks & mommy snacks--they eat what I eat and vice versa--that way no one wants what the other is having. By the way, I used to live in your city and sympathize about the water--it's crazy.

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  22. I am FAR from perfect...it is a constant struggle for me to not just feed my son junk because that's often all he wants to eat. BUT, one of the best things we've found is to visit our local farmer's market every Saturday. My son (and me!) gets crazy excited to see all of the fresh fruit in particular (yes, some of the same things we have at home but it's not as interesting there!), and typically downs an entire pint of berries, or an entire pear, or something while we are there. He gets to choose something to help buy (he's only 2.5!) and is so excited to try all of the super healthy samples. It's been a really fun tradition to get going, and he gets to play at the park when we're done shopping!

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  23. We've always had lots of veggies, and we rarely have sweets in the house. We're working on drinking more water now.

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  24. My kids are all adults, but when it comes to the grandgirls, we try to set an example for them. Mostly we just get up and move....go to the park, take a walk, go bowling. BTW, they're 9 and 7 and although they like candy, what they really love is BREAD. As in, home made yeast rolls. Yikes!

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  25. From the very start I just provided healthy foods all the time. My children are the weird ones that do not like chicken nuggets, french fries, or pizza. They prefer yogurt, cheese, edamame, and raspberries as snacks. Who knew that a bowl of raspberries could bring the same reaction as a bowl of ice cream?!

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  26. We don't bring soda or juices (except OJ on occasion)in the house. We do allow these to be a special treat once in awhile. I am also super careful about trans fats and HFCS in packaged foods since I am the shopper in the house. When time allows I try to make as much food from scratch as possible. We are working on the fruits and veggies ~ my four-year old has started protesting..........We already drink lots of water too!

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  27. From the very start I just provided healthy foods all the time. My children are the weird ones that do not like chicken nuggets, french fries, or pizza. They prefer yogurt, cheese, edamame, and raspberries as snacks. Who knew that a bowl of raspberries could bring the same reaction as a bowl of ice cream?!

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  28. So... does "I hide all the sweets and save them just for me" answer the question? I have a huge sweet tooth and try to set an example by not eating sweets and unhealthy food where my kids can see me!!! Hahaha! We try to have three healthy meals as a family (minus dad when he's working) everyday. If the kids want to snack, they can have something healthy like cheese, applesauce, carrots or fruits.

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  29. Wonderful! Love the pictures and how hard you are working at this! i have a very picky eater and this is a struggle everyday! I love Jessica Seinfeld's cookbook~ she adds veggies in her foods and the kids don't even know they are getting them! Congrats on your new ways! I also love the idea of lots of water! It does a body good! :)
    Jamie
    lovelongtime.blogspot.com

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  30. Adorable girls they had me cracking up...and missing my first grader who is in school all day. I keep saying that if I ate everything we feed our daughter I would be in a lot better shape. We sometimes eat dessert when she is in bed :) She only drinks water during the day and milk with dinner...all she knows and now wants. Me, diet coke, not a healthy choice.
    I do have her finish her veggies and fruit before giving something else to eat, she is picky and always looking for "something else" like a greek yogurt, her go to after dinner treat. We also allow treats in moderation and encourage lots of activity.

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  31. What seems to work best for us (and by no are we perfect) is getting the kids involved in not only the menu planning but helping prepare the meal as well. This way they feel their likes and dislikes matter. While at the same time we can help guide choices. Making them realize that we can't eat the same stuff all of the time and that other peoples' choices matter too. Also, when they help make the meal there is all sorts of pride associated with it. Which for some reason makes them way more amenable to trying things with a positive attitude. Also, we don't buy a lot of chips or junk, but when we do we make sure to let them know it's ok to have sometimes and treat it like it's no biggie. Cuz as we all know once something is forbidden, it just tastes better! :-) So all this is nothing new, but it's what helps us!

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  32. Soda is a treat at my house. As a Mom who is overweight I have always tried to teach my daughter to make good choices. She is a big veggie eater and drinks about 4 bottles of water a day. I think those Brita bottles would be a good choice for our household because we hate water out of the tap also.

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  33. My kids have soda about twice a year at a party or school carnival. I just don't ever buy it. I got cheap cups, hot glued on some magnets and they are always on the fridge. Thirsty? Water is the only option. (they get milk at breakfast.) I also make them wait until pre-specified times for food. 3 meals, 3 snacks. At those times, I offer them as much as they want of a variety of foods, largely different veggies and fruits. If they've played hard, they're going to eat what you give them. Not every food, every kid, every time, but they will eat most of it. We very often talk about the food we're eating, what vitamins/minerals it contains, and what it will help our bodies do. We also regularly have dessert. Small portions, but a couple of times a week, we will finish off dinner with a treat. My kids are 11, 9, 7, 3, and 2 and it has worked for us.

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  34. We try to keep the pre-packaged fruits (in their own juice) and pre-packaged 100 cal pack snacks for the kids to grab instead of junk food. This way it is readily available & already the correct portion sizes.

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  35. only allowing a certain amount of snacks per day. it's very difficult with my picky son who always wants to eat!

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  36. My daughter is only 2 but I just don't make candy available. It's used as a treat (ok and as a bribe, lol!). We don't eat much fast food and eat lots of fruits and vegetables. My daughter loves to stand on our digital bathroom scale just to see the numbers pop up while I'm getting ready and so I've made it a point to ask her how big and strong the numbers say she is. She has no idea what they mean, but now every.single.time she gets on the scale, she yells "Look at how big and strong I am" and flexes her muscles. :) I'm hoping it will eliminate the negative feelings so many of us feel when we look at the scale.

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  37. We're somewhere in the middle. I try to get my 4 and 5 year olds to eat what we do and we do require a "no thank you bite" for all meals. But admit I still occassionally cook separate items for them. Their meals, however, require a healthy serving of vegetables and/or fruit which I usually let them choose. They are only allowed to drink milk or water with meals and only get soda on special occassions (like a party). Juice is limited to once or twice a week. In regards to treats/junk food, we do allow them to have some every so often. I was pretty deprived of "fun food" as a kid so once I was on my own, i really went overboard trying to make up for lost time. *bulge! I am hoping that my girls will be better at understanding that treats are ok once in a while and appreciate that they do get them every so often and thereby not feel the need to binge when they do get exposure to those unhealthy snacks.

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  38. I have an 11-year-old son and a 6-year-old daughter. We definitely go through phases of eating healthier and then junkier, but overall, I think we strike a nice balance. We cut most of the soda from our diets about 5 years ago, and although we do keep sodas in the house still, we keep them out in a fridge in our garage so they aren't the first thing we see when we open the fridge in our kitchen. The kids know that 99% of the time the drinks they are allowed are water and milk, and as a result, my kids LOVE water. Of course, my husband and I model this for them by drinking a ton of water throughout the day as well. I knew my work was paying off when for school this year neither of them was concerned with a new backpack, but they both wanted to go pick out a new water bottle! I think one of the other good things we've done is to limit sweets. I keep simple candies like starbursts or dark chocolate squares in the house, but the kids know they are only allowed 1-2 treats per day, so once they've had those treats, no asking for more (and I firmly believe that 1-2 small candies per day are totally fine if you're eating a balanced diet and not getting sugar from soda and juice).

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  39. We go over the dangers of processed food, especially when they complain about what "other" kids at school have in "their" lunches. We pack lunches daily so we have more control over the amount of processed foods they put into their bodies :)

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  40. I'm a mom of a two and a half year old boy. I've recently lost 18 pounds doing P90X! I'm maintaining right now doing Insanity. Every night when I'd do my P90X workout my husband would be sitting on the couch, watching tv, eating our favorite cookies that he'd bought. So, as you can see it's obviously a big challenge for me to set a good example for our son. He sees treats and crackers and cookies and obviously knows what they are, but I kept them away as long as I possibly could. Going to the grocery store and purchasing good choices is hard when you're married to The Junk Food King. When I take my son to the store he always help me count the produce we are getting, and he gets to pick out something just for him. This year we also grew some of our own veggies. He helped me water them every day and when we had them on our plates at dinner time he was really excited that they were from our own garden.
    One constant that I'm a true believer in is- he knows that the only option there is to drink is milk or water. We never even have juice in the house, and he gets his daily fruit intake from fresh fruit. That's the one thing with my husband I've absolutely put my foot down about. So far so good! We're not perfect and it's often a struggle, but, my kiddo picks water over juice so I call that a win. :)

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  41. This story hits home. I'm constantly trying to provide healthy meals and snacks for my kids with only an occasional treat. Now that we have been out of our home (while it is being repaired) for a few weeks and staying over a family member's home, it seems like health is out the window. The house is filled with junk food and because it is there, they eat it. Really difficult situation.

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  42. Our family also banned the word "fat" from everyone's vocabulary. We talk "healthy" and "unhealthy" rather than fat/skinny. Sometimes size does come up but we try to always guide it in the direction of "health" and that we were all created different sizes. We don't make separate meals for our kids and everyone gets veggies on their plates. I do have a horribly picky 4yr old girl who makes me crazy...won't eat ANY veggies, hardly any regular "meals" such as chicken dishes etc...these are ALWAYS a fight, and won't even try grapes, strawberries or other fruit. She has a strong gag reflux and meal times are ALWAYS a battle. I still don't make her different foods and she does NOT get a treat if she doesn't eat what we serve...but I hope in due time she doesn't hate these things so much. I need to do LESS treats around here...our kids think they should get one every lunch and dinner and it's just too much...we are working on that one. Treats should be a "treat" not a NORM.

    Great job on your journey...thanks for sharing and inspiring the rest of us.

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  43. offering better snacks like fruit and veggies and making healthier meals that are baked and grilled.
    I loved the video of the girls! They are so cute!

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  44. School lunches are the worst! Pack a lunch, and have them pack it. They will put food in that they will actually eat. Thumbs up on the HIKING!
    We did the same. We also found summer and winter sports to enjoy together. Skiing!! Though skating is also great, less expensive.
    Great writing today!

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  45. I have a long way to go but... I have been working a lot lately on teaching by example. I talk to my kids about why I go running and why we always have to have our fruits and veggies in addition to other food. Together we all drink green smoothies every morning. My boys started out hating it but I stuck to it and now they LOVE they and beg me for their smoothies.

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  46. I have a long way to go but... I have been working a lot lately on teaching by example. I talk to my kids about why I go running and why we always have to have our fruits and veggies in addition to other food. Together we all drink green smoothies every morning. My boys started out hating it but I stuck to it and now they LOVE them and they beg me for their smoothies.

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  47. Right now, I'm in a very different season of my life. Two of my grandkids now live with me (10 yrs and 6 yrs). They formerly lived with a VERY picky, non-healthy eater, so, as a result, one ALWAYS wanted chicken nuggets and nothing else, the other - mac n cheese. Man....it has been a journey. But being in my home and seeing that Papa and I eat differently and with more variety, they have both come A LONG WAY. It is VERY true - lead by example. We're miles away from where we were with their eating when they first came, but WATER....that's our next hurdle. They want sodas or nothing. We decided to "attack" one issue at a time and now it's time for water. Maybe these bottles would help!
    Another thing I want to do is have them help with preparation and cooking. I think that goes a long way in them wanting to eat well.
    I have been overweight all of my life and do not desire that for anyone - especially my grandkids.

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  48. OK...first of all: YOU ARE SUCH AN INSPIRATION! To be able to reflect on your words and actions and see how they affect your children is such a gift.

    Second: off the subject of kids and food. I'm curious about the wood floors and dark carpet in your house. We're getting ready to do a floor-remodel, and we're looking at hand scraped wood and dark carpet...just like yours. I'm curious about the manufacturer and color of your flooring. If you can, please drop me a line at sweetwaterdesign at cox dot net.

    Thanks! KEEP UP THE GREAT WORK YOU ROCK STAR!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  49. I wish I was as strong as most of these women, and you. I'm very overweight and a single mom. My daughter is 9 and an extremely picky eater (just like I was when I was younger). Our biggest accomplishment the last year has been getting her to try 1 bit of a new food when it's offered. I'm just trying to get her to not judge the food before she eats it because she may like it. As a baby she always drank juice, which has given her dental issues. I struggle with trying to take care of her because I dont care enough about myself to care what I eat. I am seeing more this year than ever how she is being effected. She's be coming addicted to the junk foods I give her and desperate for sweets. It's very bad and I'm very lost.

    But, she is a pretty active child. She's always been in dance, and this year is enjoying tumbling. So when it comes to healthy options and drinking water, I encourage her by telling her how it will help make her body stronger and have more energy for tumbling. She's set this goal for herself and I wish I was a better example of how to work hard for something.

    She's also expressed concerns about her weight and body issues. She tends to compare herself to her friends' bodies. I tell her not to because everyone is different and everyone is beautiful. The best she can do it take care of herself and feel good about herself and not worry about others. Of course, this is easier said than done. Again, I have not been a good example of this even when I tell her these things.

    I appreciate you sharing your struggles with everyone. It's so refreshing not to have someone just gloss over the hard parts. Thank you!

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  50. My kids are 3 and 1, but they love their fruits and salad! I try to just continue to give it and have a few options. Sometimes it takes awhile to get my oldest to warm up to some food, but she always ends up liking it. I make green smoothies and both my kids devour them! Also, water is what we always have, so it hasn't been an issue. About a year ago, my oldest ALWAYS wanted juice, but I just 'laid down the law' that we only get one cup a day. It was hard and there were lots of tears shed, but now we can go a few days without juice and it doesn't even bother her. Water is our go to drink for all of us.

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  51. You know, my kids... well, my youngest two (mine are 24, 14 and 5) are not into the pop and candy. My 5 yr old has had one sip.. didn't like it. He is not a candy kid. Never has been. They aren't denied it. it is here. He just prefers fruit. He would take fruit any day over anything else. I need an apple tree in my yard that produces fruit year round for the amount he eats! My middle is really conscious too about the choices she makes. She doesn't drink hardly any pop. I have it here. I typically have a can a day. I need my caffeine. LOL I do have some chips and a small amount of junk food around. But I also have healthier options too. My kids love the baby carrots and grape tomatoes, celery with peanut butter. I bought the little single serve peanut butters that Jif puts out to put in their lunches. I make fairly healthy dinners every night.. all is homemade with veggies etc, not a lot of convenience boxed items. They eat what is fixed or go hungry. If they want treats/snacks after dinner, they have to eat their dinner. I do fix things that aren't really my favorite and eat it. So they have to too. Like spinach and broccoli. Not mine or theirs, but we eat it. When I bake, it is from scratch. We LOVE hiking and walking and do a lot of that. We also have a garden each year, growing a bunch of veggies (and strawberries and raspberries) that my littlest likes to help pick. We also go picking just about every fruit you can.. all the berries, apples, etc. I tell them everything in moderation. Chips, crackers, cookies, etc are fine in moderation not as a main meal.

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  52. Oh my gravy, your girls are so cute and smart!!

    Your story really hits home with me and something I want to try to do with future kids. As a teenager, my mom and I wore the same size clothing. I'm built differently than she was, so for her size, she considered herself seriously overweight, where I was probably just larger boned. But I heard my mom talking about how she was "fat" and needed to be smaller. I always thought she was beautiful at any weight, but I took that to mean that I was fat and needed to lose weight as well. Looking back, I can see how healthy I was at the time, especially compared to all the weight I need to lose now!

    Even though I don't have kids, I guess my advice would be to do what you're already doing. Setting great examples for your girls and talking positively about changes you're making in your life. Lifting them up to be proud of who they are and confident in themselves. None of us are perfect and we can always find something to change about ourselves - but that doesn't mean we can't love ourselves in the process!

    One piece of practical advice that I do - I keep a bin of healthy snacks in the front of my fridge and in the front of my pantry. I hide the sodas and chips and chocolate at the back. You would think I wouldn't be too lazy to dig for the unhealthy options if I really wanted them, but it turns out, I am! I'd rather just take an apple from the front of the fridge than look for the chips and dip. Your girls could do the same thing - get to pick any snack out of the healthy bin when it's snacktime. You don't have to worry about them making an unhealthy choice, because they're only presented with good options!

    I think you're doing a great job Shelley (from what little I know)...keep up the good work!!

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  53. I have found if I cut/serve the fruits and veggies in different ways they eat them up...they love apples when I let them put them in the peeler/spiral cutter thing. they eat like 2 each! water has never been a problem, my girls love it!

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  54. In our house, it is all taught as moderation and healthy choices. You can have a sweet, but it has to be in moderation. You can have that fruit, but again, it must be in moderation. If you can balance your eating, and balance your life, you will be happy.

    Moderation can be applied to so much...working too much, drinking too much, watching too much tv. We all want to relax, and sit, but it must be in moderation. On the flip side, never relaxing is also not a healthy choice. MODERATE all your choices and you will lead a happy, balanced life.

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  55. We offer milk or water at every meal and always leave the house with water bottles in hand. I thought that was making my girls drink water all day long.....however, I have been noticing the water bottles are full at the end of the day. I need to address that. Fruits are harder than veggies for us. I need to offer more of them for snacks. I have a problem of things not sounding good and therefore I don't want to eat them. I think I might be passing that down to my kids.

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  56. We've worked really hard to not let our kids become picky eaters. They have always ate what we eat so they are use to eating healthy foods. Some things we just don't ever buy so even when they have the option to choose it themselves (like pop) they very rarely do because they are fine with water or another alternative. I love to bake, though, so sweets seem to be around a lot but portion control lets us all eat what we like and not worry about it affecting our bodies badly. I'm sure there are areas our family can improve on but I feel pretty good with where we are at as a whole. And those bottles are awesome, I haven't heard of them before and am so excited to find them and try them out!

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  57. I don't have kids yet, but this is very helpful to start thinking about getting them started young with healthy options because like with anything else, it's much harder to curb a habit once it starts. When I was growing up, my mom did just what you do and we had to try everything on our plate at least once. She never made us finish anything that we didn't like because she didn't want to make food a big deal or to make us eat something if we weren't hungry. Her parents made her and her siblings eat everything on their plates growing up and her sister later battled bulemia, which my mom thinks was at least in part a consequence of their eating habits as children. I've heard parents say that allowing your child to help you with the grocery shopping and picking healthy foods that they like is a great way to develop healthy eating habits. Also, having a family garden. And of course encouraging physical/outdoor activity. My brother and I weren't allowed to have any video gaming equipment growing up and could only watch 30 minutes of TV/day. That resulted in a lot of outdoor playtime!

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  58. I have a huge bowl on my counter always packed with fruits and veggies. My kids know that this is a free for all when it comes to snacking. They DON'T have to ask me for one. So it's easier for them to go to that bowl full of healthy things rather than come ask me for a "treat." It's where they can reach it, and see it so it's something they continually want instead of the hidden "treats" in the pantry. It has helped my kids snack healthier and I feel better about that! :)

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  59. My children are 5,3, and 1. I try to include them in shopping and preparing the food as much as I can. I try to offer them a variety of different healthy foods and if they don't like it the first time ... we try, try again!

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  60. I have some very picky eaters. We've started discussing the benefits to our body of the nutrients in the foods we eat and if we don't put good stuff into our bodies, we can't expect our bodies to perform when we need them to. Not perfect, but it's a start!

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  61. Wow Shel! I love this post. It's so true. They are always watching! Not only in regards to food, which is absolutely important, they are watching us all the time in regards to everything. This made me realize I need to behave and be the person I want my kids to see. Ahem, less whining and complaining when I'm not feeling great or I'm tired. Pregnancy gets ya! But still, my kids don't know that's why, they just hear me whine! AH!!! Thank you for sharing this! It was definitely a wake up call for me to be more structured, organized and HAPPY especially around my kiddos!

    Thank you!!!!!!!

    XOXO Mallory @ Classy Clutter

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  62. I try and let our kids pick out a fruit and vegetable that they would like to eat during the week when we visit the grocery store. The kids look forward to sharing their pick with the family and we have been able to try some choices that we might not other wise have discovered like the Dragon Fruit, or Artichoke.

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  63. we keep a lot of healthy snacks on hand. pre measured snacks in baggies ready to go, and we always have fresh fruit and veggies on hand. love these water bottles. and i love that you and your family is working out together talking walks, etc. that's awesome! we totally need to work that into our routine.

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  64. my daughter doesn't like soda so she drinks lots of water and we eat tons of fruit. My daughter is pretty good about veggies too!

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  65. Hey Shelley!

    My son is 2 and he never had a sip of soda, and intend to make it a NO SODA life for him. Me and my husband do not drink soda too, we grow up living and drinking just water simply becase my parents cannot afford to buy us a soda. In my country ( the great Philippines) particularly in my town (SURIGAO)soda is considered a luxury. And our food there are ALWAYS fresh and ORGANIC. From fresh rock sea salt to fish (fresh from bait) and other sea food, to freshly picked fruits and veggies.

    And Living here in the Unites States ( which I am very thankful), made organic, fresh and soda less a BIG CHALLENGE and can be VERY EXPENSIVE! It is so mind boggling to see how cheap unhealthy food can be compare to ORGANIC/healthy food. But we do our very best to always try to cook fresh, never buy frozen/microwavable food, add fruits and vegetbales to our diet, no soda at home, and NO CHIPS!

    And yes, I am always amaze to realize that my son is listening all the time even when he is preoccupied with his toys!

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  66. I only have one child so far and he is not even 2 yet. When he was still on baby food veggies were never an issue, but since solids veggies are a daily battle. Even if I try to sneak them he just knows they're there, I don't know how but he does. So one of my favorite ways and his to incorporate veggies into his diet is to make a green smoothie. He loves it and so do I!

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  67. Thanks for sharing this! Your girls are the cutest! And you're so right - kids pick up on everything we do. My son is almost 3 and a pretty good little eater. I'm fortunate that he actually likes foods like fish, veggies, fruit, etc. He also like candy but we really restrict what he gets in that regard - though I'm not the kind of mom to say NO to any and all sweets - life's too short! We never really offer juice, except the occasional OJ, so it's water or milk to drink, and again, we're fortunate in that he really likes water.

    I'm about to have a baby girl, and I'm so aware of the issues girls face regarding food and body image (boys do too, of course, but to a much lesser extent). So I know it's my job to model the kind of behavior I want her to have, both in my eating habits and in how I view and talk about my own body. I may not have a perfect body but I love it and hope I can teach her to honor her own body in that way. Thanks for your inspiration!

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  68. My kids' schools require one healthy snack (fruit or veggie) every day which I think is great. We also limit soda to only special occasions and almost never have apple juice in the house - it's probably one of the most unhealthy drinks that people mistakenly believe is healthy.

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  69. i don't have any magic solutions for anyone... we are blessed with good eaters and i don't take credit for that. our four littles (ages 2-7) eat what we eat and tend to enjoy it. dessert is never a given, always a "special treat" and sometimes that treat is fruit. that standard does get compromised around halloween time! i think soda is completely unnecessary for kids, (my boys get half a can of caffeine-free sprite at parties and are in heaven - ha!) one thing that does work for us is asking the kids to take a "no thank you" bite, just one, of something they don't want to try. they either try it and like it or don't and say "no thank you" and that's the end of that. don't ask me why, but that works well for us.

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  70. Last year we figured out that my sweet 2 year old boy has a dairy allergy. When we look for foods for him to eat, we've realized that most processed foods were a no for him. We started to cook more from "scratch" food for him, but I got tired of making two meals- so, we've all started eating more whole foods. Another thing we've done is gotten rid of cereals! My kids have healthy oatmeal and fruit now each morning. Also- no soda here! That's a special occasion food for us :) Love those bottles, they'd be great!!

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  71. For meals and in between I only fill their cups with water, no juice. They actually prefer water now when someone offers them a drink because that is all they know. Of course they get their servings of milk. But water is 90% of their liquid intake. And added benefit, no cavities!

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  72. My dd has severe food allergies, so I prepare almost all of her food, and almost all of her food from scratch. We only drink milk or water (juice and a very occasional soda are for treats at a restaurant). We eat whole wheat, I use honey to sweeten almost everything (as little refined sugar as possible) and we stay active, active, active. We focus on being healthy. My kids don't really like processed foods, they actually had very, very little. A few snacks in the form of pretzels or goldfish, but otherwise whole, natural foods. Like how our grandmothers and generations before cooked! Keep it up, you are doing wonderful!

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  73. My 5 year old son, who wears glasses, thinks Aubrielle is cute. He made me show him the video twice.
    I love all of your tips for having for a healthier family. Especially keeping your family active and hydrated.

    Thank you for sharing, even though it makes you vulnerable. We love you guys!

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  74. We try to make the presentation fun. Veggies placed on the plate to look like trees, fruit arranged to look like silly faces. We also abide by the "You get what you get and you don't throw a fit" rule. My girls aren't allowed to say they don't like something until they've taken 3 bites. After that, we don't make a big deal about it. I always make sure there's at least one healthy option on their plate that I know they'll eat well. As long as we see they are getting a decent meal, we don't force every food we eat on them. Every one is entitled to have foods they just don't like. For example, I can't stand tomatoes. My little one detests green beans. And that's ok! And we are also entitled to have fun snacks once in a while. I'm not going to deny my kids ice cream on a hot summer day or a cookie here and there. Our goal is to just make healthy eating the norm and the occasional not so great stuff ok too, as long as its the exception and not the rule. We try not to harp on it so they just assume healthy eating is norm. We never punish the kids over food. That's a first class ticket to lifelong issues with food. Hello, my name is Exhibit A.

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  75. We all eat the same breakfasts and dinners, and all together. All 5 of us, sit down at the table to eat and talk, and drink water:) That way I know they are getting eggs and fruit in the mornings, and healthy proteins and veggies at night.
    Lunches are my "go easy" meal, so that's when they might get PB&J in their lunchboxes, a treat- like a Larabar, nuts, apples with almond butter, a quesadilla or mac and cheese.

    Jessica

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  76. The best thing for us is just not to buy junk & then when they are hungry they will get fruit to eat instead.

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  77. I'm not a mom yet, but I feel my mom did a great job. Our snack choices were typically fruits and veggies. She made a lot of food from scratch, and cut down on the amount of sugar when she felt it wouldn't taste weird to do so. We got juice at breakfast, milk at lunch, and water for dinner and everything else. If we had dessert it was usually only at either lunch or dinner. Soda and chips (except for corn tortilla chips with salsa) and sugary cereals were saved for special occasions like birthdays and holidays or big get-togethers with family and friends.
    That said, I think you are doing and awesome job! Keep it up. =)
    Alesha <3

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  78. Great post! Something similar happened to me... something along the lines of "Mommy's tummy is big so that means she has a baby in her tummy." Not fun. BUT, to answer your question... I am pretty insistent on having dinners at the table and having multiple food groups to eat. My in-laws are VERY unhealthy and living in the same town and being around them all the time makes it really hard to stick to my guns. But it's important, so I still do it. As far as water goes, it's really hard to make sure they get enough water when they're at school. I don't think the staff does a good job of that...

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  79. Only have a second to comment, but wanted to say that this was a great post and your girl's are absolutely precious. I enjoyed the video, I smiled the whole way through! Thanks for sharing! XO ~Liz

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  80. Water bottles always filled for snacks and with meals.
    thespencers2004@comcast.net

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  81. I have three kids and my 6 year old son has always been a very healthy eater. I love fruits and veggies and have always been a healthy eater myself, so I think he gets it from me and always chooses to eat spinach and orders side salad over fries with his meals in restaurants (all by himself- with no prompting!) My daughter is 4 and has my husband's sweet tooth for candy. He used to give her a lollipop a day, followed by fruit snacks and other not-so-good snacks. He always only gave her juice, while I would allow my kids juice with meals, but dilute it 50/50 with water. During her 4 year old well check, our pediatrician advised against more than 4oz. of juice a day for her since her weight is on an upward scale and could possibly put her into a overweight range in a few years. So that helped get my husband on board with only a cup of juice at breakfast, water throughout the day, and a cup of milk with dinner. The kids have no problem with it and my son helps my daughter want to eat healthy now too. It's hard to find a balance, with girls especially I worry about eating disorders, so we don't make it a weight thing - we make it a "give you body good fuel" thing. Good food helps you run faster, learn better, and feel happier! I also have a 6 month old daughter and I don't plan on introducing juice to her for a long, long while. And my kids are wigged out by carbonation in drinks, so they've never had a soda and think it's "yucky" so at least that has never been an issue =)
    Love your blog! Stay motivated! You are doing fantastic for yourself and your family!

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  82. We go walking together and have the kids sign up for activities like soccer and tumbling. We also had our first annual Family Olympics with my side of the family. It was a blast!

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    1. Great idea Jenn!! What do you do during your Family Olympics?

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    2. Great idea Jenn! What do you do during your Family Olympics?

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  83. thank you for this! we are currently trying to slowly introduce the "Get what you get and don't throw a fit" concept into meals now with Shelby but so far, no success but i know persistence is key! Since I only eat clean, non-sugary/Non-white starch foods and no red meat, it's hard to make a meal that all 3 of us will eat. Shelby is a VERY picky eater, hubby likes fulfilling meals so i usually have to cook 3 different things and I'M TIRED OF IT! We are moving in a month to a new house in the country on an acre and what better time to start something new! NO MORE WILL I MAKE 3 DIFFERENT MEALS! Now, given I will make shelby her chicken nuggets/fish sticks (baked not fried) but she's got to eat veggies and fruits more! She drink 2 Pediasure's a day and only drinks water and V8 Fusion Strawberry Banana but I FEEL LIKE A TOTAL MOM-FAILURE for not making her eat good things! She eats nuggets with ketchup and either Ritz or Whales crackers, USED TO eat Chef Boyardee Spaghetti, sometimes Pizza and fish sticks w/ the crackers and or whales....but now on her 2 days she goes to school, Miss Minna makes them try foods and I NEED TO DO AS SHE DOES because she's gotten her to eat applesauce and mac-n-cheese as well as mandarian oranges! since we will be living in the country (like 10+ min fr town) i can't run to the store everytime we are out of someone's "Favorite" stuff...so PLEASE HELP! Shelby is 3 and I'm a sucker :(i admit it... :( hubby will eat pretty much anything and if he doesn't like it, he makes something he does like but rarely happens.....

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  84. I always offer my kids fruit/veggies with their meals and when they want a snack, that is what I offer first. Especially after dinner. That's how I can tell if they're really hungry or just don't want to go to bed ;) If they pick the carrots, I know they were really hungry! And it's so true that they like drinking out of fun bottles! I can get my kids to drink water if I put them is a special cup :)

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  85. Well, I have a long way to go on my journey to get healthy, too. But something we do at our house is green smoothies. Even my littlest loves them and I feel so good about getting all those greens into my kiddos! :)

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    1. Yep you're right Salsa Mama they are super healthy, what's your favourite recipe? I am trying to have my husband drink some more but he's always complaining about the taste!

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  86. In my own efforts to eat better, I have focused on increasing the good rather than banning the bad. It's been helping all of us.

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  87. We always have fresh fruit and veggies readily available. And other options like string cheese and no-sugar added applesauce (sometimes homemade). We (husband and I) are trying to consciously change our habits now (daughter is 18 months old) so that she is raised and always views good eating habits as "normal".

    This was a perfect post for me to read today. I struggle with my weight and how I view myself but would never want my daughter to view herself the same way.

    Thanks,
    Amanda
    salhensley@yahoo.com

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  88. First, your daughters are darling...It's so important to be careful what comes out of our mouths. Little ears are always listening. Now for the question:

    I think as long as we have healthy options at home, we are more apt to grab healthy things on the go and the reverse is true, as well. Once they have a job and wheels, thought, you just hope you've taught them right because they'll run out and get the junk food they want.

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  89. I have three kids and I used to have a jug of cordial already made up in the fridge until I realised that my then 3 year old didn't drink anything but cordial. I replaced that jug with 3 x 2 litre bottles of tap water which are constantly being filled. That is the ONLY drink available to them in my house (plain milk and occasional juice for brekky on weekends is also available. This has made soft drinks/flavoured milks a treat. They can consume these at parties, or as a treat. But I've found by watching them that although they will have a soft drink (soda) on occasion that they tend to opt for water off their own backs now. It is very true that children are influenced by what we provide them with. Same for chocolate and candy I try not to have a lot of it in the house so if its something they want it becomes a treat and we have to go out and get it. Fruit and Vegetables are readily available (carrots, cucumber, cherry tomatoes) my youngest still struggles with vegetable and its an ongoing battle but she is learning that food isn't always about what we love the taste of, but sometimes we have to eat something that is tollerable just becuase its good for us. Like I said I'm 11 years into this (youngest is 7) and its still a learning curve, new things to learn every day. Good Luck!

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  90. I love water... I have always loved water... (ok I'll admit I also love coke but not as much) My kids love water. Mostly because that is what they get to drink... probably because they see me drink so much water. They enjoy milk, the occasional juice and sip of pop (my daughter has to take seizure meds and the only way she will take them is up in a straw filled with sprite). but they will both choose water 90% of the time if they are given the choice- and they are 4 and 1.5 so I think lead by example is what has worked for us!

    tanisanderson at shaw dot ca

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  91. My aunt lives in Midway and has lost 26 pounds already from changing her diet and going on loooong walks/hikes near her house. I like that your whole family goes hiking! Awesome example! You inspired me yesterday when I read your post, so today I got off my behind and walked/ran on the treadmill this morning. Only 30 minutes, but it's better than nothing! ;)

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  92. My older daughter is against anything that can be called "healthy". I blame it on the fact that our house was a construction zone until she was about 6, so we ate a lot of fast food. My younger daughter will eat most anything. So, the younger one is open to healthier choices, the older one screams at us and refuses even one bite of something she determines is "yucky". We have a long way to go, but we're working on it. We only drink water at home, the kids have never had soda. We also don't buy/eat much sugar. But otherwise we still have a ways to go...

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  93. My 5 year old was born with Congenital Heart Disease, HLHS where he only has half of his heart so in our home eating HEALTHY is a complete must. Snacks are fruits and veggies, and yogurt with granola! The kids LOVE the homemade granola. My son actually has NEVER ate at a fast food restaurant (he is extremely picky so it helps!)

    We talk to them about how important it is to eat right for our body. We also check out books from the library. We are learning about the heart right now. We only have one heart and exercise and eating right is SO important!

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  94. i'm the one in my family who likes to eat junky food. the rest of the family has better self control than i do.

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  95. You are a wonderful mom! I have a houseful of picky eaters! My 5 year old is the worst..she would love to snack all day long if I let her. I don't buy a lot of processed foods and always try to offer a fresh veggie or fruit before any other snack. I have teenagers that are always asking for sodas..but we rarely have it. Its a treat when we go out. My boys think its lame..haha!

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  96. My kids love raw veggies. I like to have those ready to go when they want a snack. I'm always amazed at how quickly they can clear a plate of veggies with a little dip made with fat free sour cream!

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  97. Love this post..and your right, kids (and even adults) don't drink enough water. I know my kids don't, so these bottles would be perfect. :) My kids have always been pretty healthy eaters, even my picky one. But it stems from me making home cooked meals every night, and always including veggies. My kids know they can't leave the dinner table until they eat their veggies, so now they don't even think twice about it. Even when we go to a restaurant, they sometimes pass up the fries for the broccoli! My husband and I have also talked about healthy and unhealthy foods, and also about "good" fats that our body needs.

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  98. I introduced and encouraged veggies, fruits, and hummus from a young age. We rarely have snacks in the house, and we use the food dehydrator a LOT to make our own "fruit snacks"

    Love your blog, and the journey you take us on everyday, right along with you and your family!!

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  99. Total tears running down my face....thanks for this post! We try to have healthy options at home and talk a lot about making good choices and how sometimes it's not easy. We encourage each other at home and give "gentle reminders" when we see someone not making a good choice.

    I love it that schools are getting into talking about making healthy choices - allowing, even encouraging, kids to bring water bottles to class to "hydrate their brain".

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  100. Total tears running down my face....thanks for this post! We try to have healthy options at home and talk a lot about making good choices and how sometimes it's not easy. We encourage each other at home and give "gentle reminders" when we see someone not making a good choice.

    I love it that schools are getting into talking about making healthy choices - allowing, even encouraging, kids to bring water bottles to class to "hydrate their brain".

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  101. I just love your blog, thanks for being so open and honest about everything. Weight is such a hard topic to talk about because it is so personal. It is amazing how weight can affect your life in ways you don't realize until it is gone!!
    In our house we have healthy snacks most often and in reach and we do have the occasional sugary snack because I do want my son to know it is ok to have an unhealthy snack sometimes. We also take walks most nights of the week which really helps us have fun as a family. Wish we had the beautiful hiking trails you have!

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  102. My husband and I have to both struggled with maintaining healthy weight, so we're trying to teach our boys about making healthy choices. We spend time talking about how different kinds of food help us and give us energy and make us strong. We have also made the decision to only drink water, milk and a little bit of juice.

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  103. My husband and I have to both struggled with maintaining healthy weight, so we're trying to teach our boys about making healthy choices. We spend time talking about how different kinds of food help us and give us energy and make us strong. We have also made the decision to only drink water, milk and a little bit of juice.

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  104. Well, Levi is 2 and Noah is 3 months so I am learning by trial and error. I only put juice boxes (the very small ones) in Levi's lunch box for school (2 days a week). The rest of the week/those days he gets water only, and milk three times a day. I am trying to get better about hiding the fruit snacks and vanilla wafers for special occasions and having things like carrots, pretzels, apples, and cheese where he can reach them in the fridge. Some days are awesome and he eats like a champ, and then some days we have chicken nuggets and fries for dinner... It's one day at a time!

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  105. I actually already own two "adult" Brita bottles and just bought a child size for my toddler. She loves having one "just like mommy". Now I have to get two more as I have two more on the way (Identical twin girls!)
    My husband and I had agreed before we had children that we would try to encourage healthy eating from the beginning. I couldn't wait to make baby food and have her try new things. We both really love all foods (myself maybe a bit too much :)), and we wanted to share that with our kids. As young as I could I fed her from the table. Whatever we ate, she ate. At 17 months she is still eating and enjoying new foods. I hope it continues! We are water drinkers, always have been. I rarely drink soda. I like juice and sweet tea, but that is sometimes just as bad, so we don't keep that in the house.
    Good luck with your journey. I am proud of you!

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  106. It really is true, you have to teach by example. I was just having this conversation with myself about the family drinking more water. We don't offer sodas to the kids often, but juice and chocolate milk don't meet the same needs as water. Love the idea of these new bottles! Looks like something my kids would go for!

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  107. We try to reinforce the idea of moderation here. We allow the boys treats, dessert after eating a good supper, cake or cookies on special occasions, etc...but we also make sure that there are always healthy treats as well like apples, bananas, and carrots for them to snack on. Would love to be able to try out those new water bottles as well!

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  108. For the last 5 years, I've focused on one big dietary change for our family for the whole year. So one year, we switched from white bread to wheat bread. This year is getting rid of super-sugary cereals. Nothing in the house with more than 10 grams of sugar per serving.

    I realize some families may have to move at a faster pace than just one thing a year, but we weren't starting from a really bad place...I just wanted us to be even more healthy. Plus I get super easily side-tracked and would probably forget all my resolutions if I tried to do more than one at a time. lol

    Hopefully by the time my little ones hit 18 and are out on their own, they'll have some wonderful eating habits that are just natural for them.

    Aloha,
    Charlie

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  109. Treats and junkfood are for a special occasion. I always put out healthy options even though I know my child won't eat them all and a lot of it will end up on the floor. Children need to experiment, and once they recognize and remember the taste, they will enjoy it. My son is almost two and loves vegetables. He thinks raisins are fruit snacks and frozen mangos are popsicles. Keep up the good work! you are inspiring so many moms!

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  110. Treats are for special occasions. Kids are all about experimenting and I know it is important to keep trying. They need to feel touch and taste several times before it becomes satisfying. Their taste buds are still developing, and they need varieties of healthy food to choose from. My son who is two thinks raisins are fruit snacks and frozen mangos are popsicles. Keep up the good work, you are inspiring moms everywhere.

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  111. We do a garden and would almost daily cook with what we grew. We only used water on the plants so we felt good about them. Whatever we couldn't eat went into the freezer. Not only are we showing our kids to grow their own food and work for it, we also show them that daily we eat fruit and veggies.

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  112. My daughter is 4 and we have been fortunate that she is not a picky eater. She eats what we eat and luckily we haven't had any struggles with her about her diet. Her preschool does not allow any sugar including juice which has been a blessing. They offer only fruit/veggies in her school and I think this has really created healthy habits in her diet. I'm a firm believer that "if they don't have it they don"t know what they're missing". I don't buy sweets or processed foods and always have cut fruit and veggies on hand. We all have cravings for something sweet so we opt for frozen yogurt as a treat.
    Thank you for your post. Your family is beautiful!

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  113. Let me just say that your girls are adorable. You are doing a fantastic job with them and yourself! Keep up the AWESOME work!!
    My boys are 2 and 6 months, so we haven't been at this for a long time, but a few things I have done are:
    -make all of their baby food, with the exceptions of just a few items. I believe it's better for them without preservatives and additives, and I know exactly what they eat.
    -once they're eating "real food", they always eat what we eat. I'm not about to make extra work for myself! ;) Much like your family.
    - make sure we have lean protein, a whole grain, and at least one veggie at every meal.
    - try to make some snacks that are otherwise for purchase in the store (fruit snacks, goldfish crackers, etc. thank you bloggers for the recipes!!)
    - make more of our snacks fruits and veggies.
    - Last, but most importantly, my 2 year old cooks and bakes with me a LOT! He looves it, and I think it's really important to see the process. :)
    Thanks for your fantastic blog! I look forward to your posts in my inbox! :)

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  114. I noticed that whatever I keep on the counter, the kids will devour. if it's starbursts and M&M's, they'll be gone. If it's grapes and cherry tomatoes, they'll be gone as well. It takes so much more time, because those foods don't stay for long, but it's worth it. Hopefully when they start leaving the nest (sniff, sniff) they'll automatically make those choices. Love the blog! Your girls were stinkn' cute in that video. It's amazing how much they pick up on things, huh? I love the Brita Bottles. I picked up a three pack at costco and my 3 kiddos are using them constantly! Makes our Mayland water taste so much better!

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  115. I've noticed with my kiddos is that they will eat whatever is laying out on the counter. If it's starbursts and M&M's, they will devour them. If it's cherry tomatoes and grapes, they'll be gone too! Have you ever frozen grapes with Sprite? Yummy treats. Our football team loved them for their half time snack! Hopefully as the kids get older and fly the coop (sniff, sniff) they will make those smarter choices to stay healthy! BTW, I love the Brita Bottles. I got a 3 pack at Costco and my family LOVES them!

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  116. Shelley, I simply love reading your blog. Your spirit, your honesty and your comfort with laying your life open for the world (within reason ☺ ) are always things I admire.

    I've been fairly lucky and not had to really worry about weight but I don't eat properly. I am getting better but at least now the foods I'm eating are good for me.

    One of the things that totally transformed my life and eating habits was a book my husband got me a few years ago. Knowing I loved to cook, he was concerned I had lost my zeal for it...and of eating. I snacked on junk all the time and loathed getting in the kitchen.

    He realized when we went to Disney World (which we do often considering it's an hour a way) I ate like crazy. I would suddenly discover my love of food again. That's when it dawned on him, the food was "real food". Not from boxes etc.
    So when he found this book he purchased it immediately.

    It's called "The French Don't Diet Plan" and it will totally change the way you approach food Shelley. It shows you how to eat real food and eat whatever you want, all while losing weight. It basically talks about why the French eat cheese, cream, bread, dessert, croissants, etc and are so much thinner and healthier than we are. It's because they eat REAL food and they know HOW to eat.

    Reading about the "Toilet bowl effect" alone was not only humorous but a total eye opener.

    I highly recommend getting it Shelley. The best part is it's not a diet. Hence the name of the book. It's about eating better.

    Hugs girl!!!!

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  117. As a mom of four girls (12, 7, 6, 4)it is hard for me to get them to eat healthy all the time. Luckily, they LOVE lots of fruits like grapes, and apples-(especially with a little dap of Nutella or PB sometimes)We have the same rule in our family, whether you like it or not, you have to eat what mom puts on your plate.(If it's something I know one of them really doesn't care for, I only put a little so it's not overwhelming)

    Our family's favorite meal?...Stirfry! They love the veggies and will eat them in the stirfry when they don't care for them other times. Maybe it's because it's all stirred together with the rice and chicken?? I just add some Pampered Chef Asian Seasoning to the chicken, and it gives it awesome flavor! I always have to add extra broccoli- it's my kids favorite...I kid you not! We have broccoli with most meals in some form or fashion!

    As far as water, we have an extra fridge that stays packed with bottled waters, but HOW great it would be to have the Brita Water Bottles! More room!! :)

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  118. I totally agree, our kids are watching us all the time. Yes, we need to set a good example for them all the time, not just when we think they are around. I have also found my kids drink more water when it is in a fun bottle as opposed to a regular cup. This is especially true with my 2 yr old. If the kids see me eat veggies, they are more likely to try. And even though my 2 yr old doesn't swallow a carrot, she will try it because the other kids too. So I keep offering it to her. I just offer stuff to my kids and it's up to them to eat it, but I figure one of these days they just might like it.

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  119. My daughter isn't old enough to make decisions on what she eats yet, but we have been making more of an effort to make healthy choices so that we can lead by example. Something we love on the go are freeze dried blueberries. They are so good and babies can eat them too. We try to keep water with us to stay hydrated too.

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  120. You are an inspiration to many with your weight loss journey! You are showing others that it's not an easy journey and there are bumps in the road that you need to deal with in order to make it a lifetime success! I believe it is a lifetime change in order to accomplish goals in weight loss.
    I started a "no juice" rule right when the kids were babies. I only give the kids options of milk and water. All of our kids are active in sports right now and it's essential for them to stay hydrated. Plus it helps having a water dispenser right in the front of the refrigerator! The water intake doubled when we got that!

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  121. Thanks for such a great post...I have a challenge that has been so overwhelming at times. My daughter does not tolerate fruit, what I mean by that is since she was an infant..fruit, well..made her gag. And it still continues today and she is 13.She is also not a big fan of any vegetables no lettuce for salads, nothing other than peas, carrots and corn. I buy organic, and have always been focused on eating healthy, low sugar..I also focus on the chemicals and additives in foods, soda, etc. I am SO aware..yet I have a daughter who will not eat fruit and it is like World War III to try and get her to eat vegetables. She loves meat..and loves sugar. Wow..the absolute opposite of me. So it has been a challenge..sneaking pureed veggies in meatloaf, etc. But now that she is 13..I want her to be aware of how important and vital fruits and vegetables are..but so many make her "gag". We drink water like crazy..always have...and I am excited about the new Brita for kids...absolutely fantastic. But,..any suggestions

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  122. Hi Shelly, my daughter is a nutritionist with a special interest in healthy nutrition for kids, motivated by being a mom herself.
    She has a blog and a facebook page and she frequently posts recipes and meal suggestions. look for 'Healthy Little Ones' on facebook for lots of pics of healthy, fun and colorful lunches for kids.

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  123. Hi Shelly.
    My daughter is a nutritionist and as a mom she has a special interest in healthy eating for kids. She has a blog with recipes and information and her facebook page is full of pictures of meal ideas, especially lunches that are colorful, fun and nutritious for kids. check out 'Healthy Little Ones' on facebook.

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  124. You should be very proud. I too have 3 kids and you know what ? We will stumble and fall. We are not perfect. The important thing is to keep pushing forward and trying to be better. Setting that great example is so important. But the times when we fall it's ok..shows our kids that we are human and it's ok sometimes to mess up and then make it right. I think your awesome!

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  125. We have been slowly transitioning over from a diet filled with junk for the kids (read puddings, cookies, and chips here) to eating healthy like my husband and I do. I don't know why it took so long to occur to me that if it was so important for my husband and I to eat right, then why not our children who are so important to us. Why fill their little bodies with chemicals and give them energy from pure sugar?? Now their snacks are almost always fresh, like apples, bananas, carrots, plums, oranges, etc. We eat so much healthier and have energy for going on family walks after dinner and even their attitudes have seriously improved. My adhd son is mellowing out and not quite as hyper as with the sugar filled juices starting off his day.

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  126. It's all about moderation. Growing up my mom always had sweets sitting out in bowls and my friends couldn't believe it was readily available to me at any given time. I think that's the reason I didn't go crazy with candy and sweets (and still don't to this day) b/c it was there and wasn't a big deal, it was never made a big deal. Which is what I do for my kids, and they don't go crazy over candy, I never have to limit it, they eat a few and then they are done. Sodas are a weekend treat, one on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Other times it's water or milk. My degree is in nutrition so I feel like I have somewhat of a good sense of balance on food. Of course we do splurge but save those for the weekends. Hardly ever eat fast food though, that stuff is just crap and I usually feel nasty after I eat it. You're doing great!! Keep up the good work!!

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  127. I do not ban certain foods from my house (I have some very strong willed and rebellious children, so banning things is just a challenge for them to go against me). However, I rarely purchase soda and chips. I try to encourage the children to have a fruit for an afterschool snack, or if they did not fill up at dinner. Most of the time the choose to go hungry instead. We do have "yummy" stuff in our home, but we do not consume them daily.

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  128. Oh I wish we would drink more water at home, I really need to work harder at setting better examples too. I think you're doing amazaing! Keep up the good work!

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  129. The battle at our house is dessert! My boys have it in their heads that they NEED dessert after every meal. Trying to convince them that dessert/sweets are an occasional treat and not a necessity after every meal is tough. 3 of my 4 drink water with no problem. The oldest will actually pick water over any other beverage. But that 1...he wants juice! It's gotten better, we've talked A LOT about how many cups of milk and water you are supposed to have each day and how juice is full of "sugar bugs." He does have a water bottle at school and that helps. Our water here isn't good to drink either, so I'd love a Brita water bottle. Thanks for the great giveaway!

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  130. We have a huge battle at our house over dessert. My boys think that they NEED dessert after every meal. Trying to convince them that sweets/desserts are an occasional treat is really tough. They do love fruit and usually scarf it down faster than I can buy it. We try to eat fairly healthy, but on a tight budget it can be tough. Produce is pricey! Water drinking is a battle with one, he LOVES juice! The other 3 drink water fine and the oldest actually prefers it to any other beverage. I try to remind the juice lover how many cups of milk & water he's supposed to have each day and that juice is full of "sugar bugs" and that usually gets him back on track. The water where we live isn't good to drink out of the tap either, so I'd love to win a Brita water bottle!! :) Thanks so much for a great giveaway!

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  131. It almost made me cry when your little girl thought eating a pbnj sandwich would make her fat!

    I've recently, in the past few years, become a part time step-mom. My 11-year old step son comes and lives with us for 8 weeks in the Summer. He lives out of state the rest of the year. Every Summer, he goes home skinnier, more active and healthier. His grandfather has even called my fiance to thank us for taking such good care of him and that it is really noticeable. At home, he does lots of TV and videogame activities, eats poorly, and doesn't get enough outside time.

    When he comes here, I replace all of his snacking, which would normally be candy and junk food, with healthier choices, like nuts and dried fruits. I also regulate the quantity. When he asks for a snack, the rule is that he gets a bowl and pours the snack food into it. Last summer, within the first week he ate a whole box of crackers in one sitting while I was at work and he was home with dad. I told them both that the rule is you fill a bowl up and that's all you eat in one sitting. You don't eat out of the box/bag. His level of snacking dropped substantially! By the end of the summer he was rarely asking for snacks. I even told him, if you are really hungry, eat one of these granola bars, it will fill you up faster than just eating crackers which are like flavored air. He came back to me and told me I was right! I also make him try our dinners and I am constantly looking for good meals that he will enjoy. His mom and grandparents are always shocked when he comes home saying he likes something new.

    We also do NOT eat fast food. I grew up with hippies for parents and can count how many times I've had McDonald's on one hand. He told me once that he and his mom eat McDonald's way too much. I asked him how often they go, and he told me sometimes as much as four times a week. I told him he should let his mom know that sometimes he doesn't want to go to McDonald's, that it would be really good for her to hear him say that. I don't know if he will, but it is nice for him to recognize this as a problem.

    We've had many conversations about his weight. He is chubby and is really self conscious about it. He knows that he always goes home skinnier than when he comes to us.

    The other thing we do is try to get out every weekend and go for a hike, which is an easy thing to do in the Summer when he is with us since its so nice out. I've also enrolled him at boys and girls club summer day camp. He LOVES it! They are so active, its been really great for him. Much better than being a couch potato all summer. He loves it so much, that now that he has aged out of it, he has decided he wants to be a Junior Councillor next summer! We are so happy he wants to do this.

    Having him in my life has been such a positive thing. Not only is he a sweetheart, but he helps me recognize some of the unhealthy choices I've made with my life. I want to live a more active life style and having my step son has been a great motivator for me to do so. I want to be a good role model for my step son and my future children.

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  132. What a great topic!! This is a hard one in our house - mostly because I haven't started right from the very beginning - and I don't feel that I make the best food choices. I think this whole thing will have to start with me :) We have switched over to 100% whole wheat bread - which I got a lot of complaints about in the beginning when they were used to white. But now I don't get too many complaints as they know I'm not changing it - it is what it is :) Thanks for this awesome article and for the chance to win the cute water bottles. I would LOVE my kids to be able to drink more water!!

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  133. My 8 year old daughter has got to be THE pickiest eater on the planet! Any time we try to get her to try new foods it is tears, and frustration for at least an hour!! She wont eat hardly anything I cook and since I tell her that if she doesn't like what I cook she can make her own dinner, most nights she eats cereal! So I have been trying hard to figure out how to get her to eat healthy, try new things, and not have to make her her own separate dinner ever night or making her starve! But, I did realize the other day that at least some of what I say is rubbing off because as she poured her cereal she said, "mom, can I have an apple to go with this because I do want to eat healthy". Yeah! It is a small step in the right direction! Even if I don't win one of those bottle (please please!!) I think I will have to buy some for my two girls. I have a filtered water bottle that I love, and they keep begging for one of there own. So, this would be perfect!

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  134. Milk or water only to drink at our house and occasionally juice as a treat. No soda ever! Our little one is very, very picky, which is normal for her age, but we continually offer her fruits (which she eats) and veggies (completely different story here). We only eat whole grains and try to stick to non-processed foods as much as possible. It can be hard with kids, but so worth the health benefits! We also focus on maintaining an active lifestyle as a family - going for walks, hiking, exploring, playing at the park, taking dance classes, etc.

    On a side note, a special water bottle for each child is a great way to get them drinking more water! I am jumping on this bandwagon!

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  135. Milk or water only to drink at our house and occasionally juice as a treat. No soda ever! Our little one is very, very picky, which is normal for her age, but we continually offer her fruits (which she eats) and veggies (completely different story here). We only eat whole grains and try to stick to non-processed foods as much as possible. It can be hard with kids, but so worth the health benefits! We also focus on maintaining an active lifestyle as a family - going for walks, hiking, exploring, playing at the park, taking dance classes, etc.

    On a side note, a special water bottle for each child is a great way to get them drinking more water! I am jumping on this bandwagon!

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  136. Milk or water only to drink at our house and occasionally juice as a treat. No soda ever! Our little one is very, very picky, which is normal for her age, but we continually offer her fruits (which she eats) and veggies (completely different story here). We only eat whole grains and try to stick to non-processed foods as much as possible. It can be hard with kids, but so worth the health benefits! We also focus on maintaining an active lifestyle as a family - going for walks, hiking, exploring, playing at the park, taking dance classes, etc.

    On a side note, a special water bottle for each child is a great way to get them drinking more water! I am jumping on this bandwagon!

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  137. You're doing a great job! My kids do fruits and water/milk pretty well...it's the veggies we need to work on!

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  138. We have found it's easier to eat healthy when we don't bring sugary and unhealthy foods into the house. We try to keep a good stock of fruits, veggies, and non-processed foods in general in the house. It makes it tricky with our picky toddler, but we continue to offer her healthy options even if she doesn't partake of the full range of healthy foods that we would love for her to be eating right now. Only water or milk to drink, and occasionally juice (it's a special treat). No soda ever, unless we are out to eat for a special occasion (birthday, family get-together, etc).

    I love the idea of a special water bottle to get kids to drink more water - if it makes it fun, they are more likely to drink more!

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  139. We are taking our family to Disneyland over thanksgiving, and so we decided to make a little challenge for us and the kids (my entire family is going, so there are 9 kids and 6 adults) by earning money to spend at disneyland. We have a point system that we are following, earning points if you don't have any sweets, pop, eat a cup of fruits/veggies, at least 6 cups of water, but we are also doing a spiritual side too, so that they can read either their scriptures or a church magazine, personal as well as family prayer, writing in a journal, FHE, adapting for us what works best. It has been so fun to watch them debate and decide if that cookie or piece of candy is worth that point taken. The adults is a bit different, but we have been having fun too!

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  140. My Girlys and I have made i a goal to drink 1/2 our body weight in ounces a day.
    How we do this,
    I premeasure all their water out the night before and keep it in the fridge. My eldest is in kindergarten so she takes a bottle of water to school everyday and generally it is empty when she gets home.
    Ok, so onto to how we make it fun... We have a giant chalkboard and each bottle they finish ( averages about 4 a piece/daily) they get to mark the chalkboard (it has different catergories not just water,) everyday they complete the task they get a small prize. (usually a special treat after dinner) and for every week they complete their goals, we take a day trip. Nothing to fancy but always something fun.
    Since we have started this my entire family is not only drinking tons of water but are eating fruits and veggies on a daily basis. :) I am very proud of the changes we have made.
    Alyssa M.

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  141. My kiddos (5 and 2.5) do pretty good when given choices and they usually add why they have chosen the healthier choice. It is amazing that they can understand it at their ages! My 5 year old is constantly asking for "MORE WATER PLEASE!" which makes me smile inside. I am still having issues with my daughter's daycare. Is there an appropriate and non confrontational way to ask what she is serving the kids? When I ask my daughter what shes had for lunch, I get a lot of: pizza, chicken nuggets, hot dogs, etc. and it makes me cringe becuase she spends the majority of her day there. ugh...... trying not to be a good nazzi :)

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  142. Making healthy choices is not something I've thought about too much. When I shop with my kids, i explain why we aren't buying donuts because they have too much fat and too much sugar. I try to buy a lot of fresh fruits and veggies, and include one in my kids' lunch each day. We hike or bike often, and each of my kids' has a water bottle. Basically, I guess we just try to lead by example, and we love getting outdoors.

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  143. I would LOVE to win some of these bottles!

    I always keep fruit and veggies readily available. I have a fruit in a basket on the kitchen counter and veggies chopped up in snack bags/tupperware in the fridge within my kids' reach. They love snacking on fruits and veggies!

    curtinfamily07 (at) gmail (dot) com

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  144. I absolutely loved this post! I'm working on losing some weight right now too, and I've learned so much about eating healthy. It really is a lifestyle change! I loved the "stop, I have to go potty". :) Totally made me smile. lol

    I don't have kids of my own yet, but I work with kids and I always try to encourage them to eat healthy snacks; carrots and strawberries over pop tarts! :)

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  145. We make sure we have plenty of fruits and veggies around. It is not easy to get my three kids age, 8,5 and 3 eat all we want them to eat, but we try every day, especially try to have a good variety throughout the week. Things such as chicken, red meats, fish etc, salad, pastas, etc. We have "0" chips or sugary snacks in our pantry, that way neither of us can get tempted by them. Of course we let them have chips or a juice here and there but "not having" sodas and chunk food in our pantry helps a lot. We also try to have them have plenty of running around, playing outside in the dirt, or riding bikes.

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  146. We make sure we have plenty of fruits and veggies around. It is not easy to get my three kids age, 8,5 and 3 eat all we want them to eat, but we try every day, especially try to have a good variety throughout the week. Things such as chicken, red meats, fish etc, salad, pastas, etc. We have "0" chips or sugary snacks in our pantry, that way neither of us can get tempted by them. Of course we let them have chips or a juice here and there but "not having" sodas and chunk food in our pantry helps a lot. We also try to have them have plenty of running around, playing outside in the dirt, or riding bikes.

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  147. I love this post. I just returned from a play group with my son. We are in week four and all four weeks the snacks have not only been not nutritional, they have been straight bad for you. He's only 17 months. I want to be an amazing influence for him and am working hard to provide healthy, nutritious snacks all the time. We are both better off for it. Thanks for the honesty.

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  148. We just avoid buying junk (and even try to avoid less healthy but not quite "junk" foods), because if it's not in the house we can't eat it.
    I my kids are almost 5 and almost 7 years old and I noticed my oldest child putting on weight after she went to school. So I'm hoping to start packing her lunch (instead of buying school lunch) because given the choice, she'd pick strawberry milk and cheese sticks rather the overcooked veggies served in the cafeteria even though she likes fresh veggies. Can't blame her, even if it's healthier it needs to taste good!

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  149. I don't have any kids, but to make healthy choices at home or on the go I'm doing a lot more cooking and eating less processed foods. I don't deprive myself favorite foods (hello ice cream!) but moderation is key. If you're gonna eat pizza, throw some veggies on there or homemade tomato sauce--or better yet actual tomatoes instead of sauce. Little changes can make a big difference! You look great... keep up the hard work ;)

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  150. My three year old is learning about all sorts of vegetables and loves to pick which one we eat with each meal. Involving kids in meal choices makes them much more invested to try healthy food, I believe.

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  151. My kids drink only water, milk, and occasionally watered down juice. They don't know that they are "missing out" on anything because they haven't had sugary drinks. As for healthy foods, they can't get enough fruit...apples, grapes and bananas are their favorites and my 3 year old loves broccoli! Thanks fo the chance to win. The sports bottles look great!

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  152. My son is only 2 so he really has no choice in what he eats. It is up to us to provide healthy snacks for him. We still do french fries and the occasional eating out (hey, it's life), but we limit juice (mainly only offer water) and require a veggie at dinner (even if it's just carrot sticks). He LOVES bananas and wakes up asking for them, so that's an easy fruit serving for him. Also I try to keep "healthier" snacks sitting around- pretzels instead of cookies, etc. Loved this post. A great reminder that kids are listening to EVERY word.

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  153. I think the best way to have your kids make healthy choices is to provide them for them! My mom always put one fruit or one veggie on the table with dinner (Not both at the same time--one or the other). I think I surprised my mom when she was last at my house because I always put on two or three fruits and two or three veggies. The kids love it! I also buy a Bountiful Basket, which helps a ton with my grocery budget. We get so much great produce this way, and it allows us to try new things that we probally wouldn't on our own. (My kids LOVE brussel sprouts because of this!) Another thing I do, is I have a big mug that I keep filled with ice water. My husband loving calls it the community watering hole because the kids sip on it as well throughout the day. lol They know that they can always get a drink from Mom's mug because it is always full. I also think it's okay to put water on the table for meal time--not always--we do still have lemonade or occasionally soda, but I think it goes back to what you provide! We also go hiking a lot and on bike rides. It doesn't feel like exercise to them, and we get to do it as a family!

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  154. If my 3 and 4-yr-old boys want something unhealth(ier) to eat, I make sure that they even it out by choosing a healthy option to go along with it - an apple, banana, etc., for example. I also offer them water in a cup without even asking if they want it because 80% of the time, they will say no if asked.

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  155. We've always stressed moderation...eating a slice or two of pizza is ok, just not the ENTIRE pizza. I'm also of the thought that if you deprive that's what they are going to want more...act like it's not a big deal and they won't think it is.

    We also emphasized the different colors of food and trying to make your plate as colorful as possible...my girls LOVE contests.

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  156. I struggle with having my kids eat healthy. (I'm not the best example.) The one thing I feel like I do okay at is I try to have a water bottle in the fridge for each person. that way when they need a drink they can have some water.

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  157. i have 4 kids ages 9, 6, 4 and 7 months. about a year ago, we realized we were having dessert WAY too often, probably 5-6 nights a week. the kids grew to expect it and made a major fuss if we didn't have it every night. my husband and i (both ~20 pounds overweight and not super healthy-eating role models) realized this was out of control. we implemented 'dessert night' which is wednesday. we typically go out for frozen yogurt topped with fruit or we stay home and make a small batch (we don't want leftovers laying around the kitchen, taunting us) of cookies with the kids but we use it as interactive, family time so the focus isn't on the sweet treat. it's been working beautifully. needless to say, we all really look forward to wednesday.

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  158. As a new mom to a 14 month old girl I'm always stressing about making sure she has a healthy balance diet to avoid unnecessary weight and long-term health problems - your post made me realize I need to put as much energy into my health as I do hers. After all she needs me (as much as I need her), I need to be a good role model for her. Water is one of the items I don't drink enough, that needs to change. Thanks for sharing your story.

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  159. One thing we have gotten our kids into is running races with us! A lot of the time when my husband and I run our 5K's they have a smaller "kiddy" version! My kids LOVE this. They have done the Color run and the Mud run with us so far and next year they are talking about doing the Zombie Run with us! It's usually about a mile long and you would be surprised how much fun and easy it IS for your kids! They don't really even have to train for it. We make them run back and forth to the mail box down our street! ;) It's perfect......good exercise plus they get the mail for me! A win win! ;)

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  160. I think it is so important to lead by example! If kids see YOU eating certain things, they will eventually follow! Keep offering those fruits and veggies and keep eating them yourself!

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  161. oooh this is awesome! to help encourage my kids to make healthy choices I give them healthy options. They want a snack? Okay! You can have an apple or a banana. I explain to them {ages 3 & 7} the benefits of different foods {high in protein, high in vitamins, etc. etc.} Would love to win! These look awesome! :)

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  162. I love to have fresh veggies and fruits washed, peeled and cut so the kids can grab and go. . and me too!

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  163. Great story about how important it is to watch what you say around children. The old adage about "little pitchers have big ears" is so true. I love that you are leading by example and emphasizing a healthy lifestyle over a clothing size or number on the scale. The way you live will have a stronger impact on your girls' lives than what you say.

    I certainly need to drink more water and wean my self off the diet sodas.

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  164. Thank you for the encouragement to set a good example for my own daughter! Luckily, we don't drink soda in our house so that is not a habit she has gotten into. I am trying to cut down on juice and encourage more water as well. I find she is more excited to eat something if she has some part in it. She helps to make the healthy trail mix and she loves edamame because she can pop it out of the pods. I also portion out snacks when I buy them so we have some portion control and aren't eating a whole bag in a sitting.

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  165. We've really cut back on drinking soda and juice to special occasions only. I've started making small replacements like real fruit leather for sugar-filled fruit snacks, whole grain crackers for refined processed crackers, and making whole wheat bread, pancakes, waffles, cookies, etc. whenever possible. I try to do it in a way that is teaching about making healthier choices instead of just restricting them.

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  166. Shelly,
    Your story resonates with me because I have actually said to my little girl alright now eating that is gonna make you fat, you see mommy's pudge? you don't want that right? -BAD MOMMY moment. I started going to the gym and eating differently and she came on board. Now she takes kiddie Zumba while I take adult zumba and we figure out together what snacks we should have. She is a slender little 5 year old so I want to get this right but I was going about it all wrong initially. Thanks for sharing.

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  167. Shelly,
    Your story resonates with me because I have actually said to my little girl alright now eating that is gonna make you fat, you see mommy's pudge? you don't want that right? -BAD MOMMY moment. I started going to the gym and eating differently and she came on board. Now she takes kiddie Zumba while I take adult zumba and we figure out together what snacks we should have. She is a slender little 5 year old so I want to get this right but I was going about it all wrong initially. Thanks for sharing.

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  168. My girls are 3.5 and 2 and I've always been kind of a health freak. Becoming a parent actually helped me more, b/c it made me back off the crazy freak part. It made me more realistic and practical about how to keep a healthy lifestyle that's also realistic for a family. My biggest thing is that I don't buy cheating things. If I don't buy them, I don't have them to give to my kids. Cheating as in super easy and fast but not as healthy options. Like cookies or a lot of processed things. I try to think ahead when we go out too. If we're going to the mall, I throw some peanut butter and crackers in my purse, some string cheese, and maybe some of the organic applesauces in the little squeezable pouches. Having those options with us makes it easier to skirt around all the high priced, low nutrition foods we could buy to snack on when we're out. I have one of those apple slicers that just shoves down onto the apple to slice it too for a quick easy snack and we always keep several options on fruit and veggies to snack on. I do bake a lot, but having so many healthy habits and options in our lives balances out some cupcakes and pie here and there I think ;)

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  169. I try to have fruits and veggies cleaned and ready to eat, so that when they get the munchies, they can find what they want quickly.

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  170. We are NOT perfect with our eating habits and feeding our little picky eater is sometimes very tricky. But we try to eat mostly organic food and avoid everything partialy hydrogenated, high fructose corn syrup etc. We never drink any soda drinks and plain water (Brita filtered :))is our best choice.

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  171. I bought the kid knives (pampered chef) and I give my kids bananas and other fruits with a cutting board and have them cut up their own snacks! They LOVE doing this and it helps me too! My son cut up bell peppers yesterday for our veggie chili and it made me smile every time I ate a bite with a crazy cut up piece of pepper :)

    Kathy C.

    Caplingers2002@yahoo.com

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  172. I involve my 3 year old in meal planning and grocery shopping. At our local Trader Joes, where we do most of our shopping, my girl even gets to push a kid size cart. We focus on fresh fruits and veggies and lean meats. We always pick one less healthy item for a "once in awhile" replacement snack. Eating healthy takes effort, but is so worth it. As an overweight child, I never want my child to go through what I went through.

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  173. great post! my kids eat what we eat, and they like it! i have never allowed them to be "picky" or "cater" to each individual child. because once you do that i have seen that it is really hard to turn them back around! i do understand that if you don't care for a certain taste...then that is fine, but you have to try it first to know that you don't like it. i am a water drinker and so i have my kids drink nothing but water. on occasion a root beer float here and there, and soda once in a great while, my first child does not like the taste of soda at all, i taught her well :) the best thing to do is to not buy junk food, premade meals or soda, give up fast food and eat out once in a while...that way you look forward to it. home cooked meals are the way to go, uh if you like to cook, that's why i married my husband!

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  174. I have learned it can take many tries for my children to eat a certain fruit or vegetable. I try to serve healthy food. We have treats and dessert too but always talk about eating them in moderation. In my daughters elementary school starting in Kindergarten, a dietician would come in and talk about healthy food choices. It has been wonderful for teaching her and started family discussions. My kids would go crazy over these cute water bottles.

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  175. Just make lots of healthy food available...

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  176. I try to just lead by example for my 3 year old. She eats what we eat. My mom was extremely strict on food and we were never allowed to eat "fun" food that other kids were eating so I don't want to be that strict, but I also don't want to let my kiddos eat the way my MIL let my husband eat. Trying to find a middle ground :)

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  177. Thanks for sharing your story, Shelley. I try and not buy items that are filled with sugar for my toddler. We limit special kinds of treats and try to increase her intake of water. We try and set the best example we can with our choices as well. It certainly one of the tough aspects of parenting I'd say.

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  178. I try to make fruit available to them all of the time, and serve veggies with dinner. Also, drinking just water and milk, no juice.

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  179. I try to make fruits and veggies available to them and they drink only milk and water, no juice (except on rare occasions).

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  180. After my weekly grocery shopping, I immediately wash all the fruits and veggies and cut them up so they are an easy snack for the kids to grab. I also keep a bowel of fruid on the table- I think having it out in the open encourages them to grap a healthy snack. Another thing I like to do is when I'm just about done preparing our meal, I have the kids come to the table and put out a few of the cut up veggies for the kids to munch on while they wait. They love to pick out which veggie they want and be able to help themselves.

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  181. I try to fix real meals with local food whenever possible. We spend a lot of the fall freezing and canning and getting ready for winter. My girls help with this process and enjoy the food we make.

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  182. I work for Weight Watchers (and lost 32 lbs with the program). I think setting an example for your kids when they are young is key! Learning that we can eat all foods in moderation but some are better than others (bulk up on fruits, veggies, lean meats and only treat ourselves with sweets once in a while) is such a healthy lifestyle. Good for you for helping your girls to be healthy and balanced people!
    Meredith
    www.thelovelyowl.com

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  183. My daughter is only 9 months old but I've realized that she is noticing what we put in our mouths. She has started to reach for everything and it goes directly to her mouth. So I figure if she notices what I'm putting in my mouth at 9 months old, she's going to continue to learn from my habits. So as a family we decided about 2 weeks ago to change what we do not want her to mimic. If we don't want her to sit on the couch and eat chips and drink sodas, we will change that habit of ours and show her that we can be healthier. Sure, she doesnt "get it" but she does watch EVERYTHING. This has also made us realize we need to be more active too. So instead of sitting on the couch watching tv, we turn the tv off and roll around on the floor with her, walk up and down the stairs behind her, take an extra walk around the block, visit the local play area, and most importantly...lead by example. I'd also like to take this opportunity and thank you for allowing me to follow your lifestyle change. I appreciate you.

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  184. I try to keep the bad stuff less accessible and the good foods are served as often as possible.

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  185. I try to make the bad goods less accessible and the good foods especially fruit easy to get and served often.

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  186. Have you read the book "French Kids Eat Everything?" (You may have already mentioned it in a post... I'm a little behind, so my apologies if you have. ;) It's about a family (who moved to France) and they journey to healthier, a bit crazier eating. The French food "rules" (and what is/is not acceptable in their society) is a lot different than here, and while some of it probably couldn't work in the U.S., a lot of it could. We try to eat lots & lots of seasonal fruits & veggies. I am trying to broaden our horizons, so I let our 4-year-old pick out 1 produce item to buy that we've NEVER eaten before. She loves that, and she's usually really excited to try the brussle sprouts, star fruit, parsnips, etc. :) You are such a gorgeous inspiration, Shelley! Keep up the amazing work!

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  187. we've tried to start from the very beginning with having them drink water. when they turn one and are able to drink regular milk they have one sippy for milk and one for water and for meals they can have milk (as they get older, 2ish, they can have juice or milk) but through the day they have their own cup for water. One of my kids will easily make her own choice to eat/drink healthy things the others are just use to it. as for snacks I had an aww haa moment when my first child was 2 where I realized their snacks shouldn't be cookies, it should be good things;(real) cheese & crackers, banana's, carrots, nuts etc. Any time they had their snack after school and still want something I always tell them they can have carrots, that's their option. they get other things too; fish, fruit snacks that's only one a day.
    Anyway, great post, love those new bottles! my kids would love them for sure.

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  188. I watched that whole video - your girls are just dolls! My five-year-old makes a lot of the same faces as yours. Too cute!

    I love this post, and it is such a great reminder that our kids are ALWAYS watching and listening. You are such a great example for your family! (And for all of us!!)

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  189. I have 5 kids ages 1 to 11 and I still am trying to figure out this healthy lifestyle stuff! A couple of things that are working for me are
    1) I made a new rule that they don't have to ask me for a snack if they choose a fruit or vegetable, they can just help themselves to the fruit or veggie they want. This is great because it frees me up from being stuck in the kitchen so much (which helps me not snack as much) and they feel empowered.
    2) They always come home from school absolutely starving, so if I plan ahead and have a bowl of carrot sticks or something equally healthy already out, they don't even look for something else they go right for the quickest thing to get in their mouths.
    3) I finally bought an air popper for popcorn and everyone LOVES that for their snack because it feels like a treat. And most of the time we don't add butter. Unless it's Friday night movie night, then it's required. :-) I think you are doing great and you should be very proud of your progress. I'm sure you girls are proud of you too!

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  190. I want my children to learn a LOT more before adulthood than I did. I can definitely tell they make better choices when I make better choices. I think knowledge and awareness is key!!! You must THINK about what you are doing... and teach your children the same!

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  191. Ever since our 5 year old started eating solids, I"ve made it a point to serve healthy foods, balance our proteins & carbsetc. Still the one thing I struggld with is the place for desserts/treats and how to teach healthy eating without making some foods "good" or "bad" We"d love 2 of these bottles for summertime drinking as they stil aren"t too fond of plaintap water

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  192. Ever since our 5 year old started eating solids, I"ve made it a point to serve healthy foods, balance our proteins & carbsetc. Still the one thing I struggld with is the place for desserts/treats and how to teach healthy eating without making some foods "good" or "bad" We"d love 2 of these bottles for summertime drinking as they stil aren"t too fond of plaintap water

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