#ChildNutrition: Three tips to help MOMS DO BETTER

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Moms, today I am here for you.

Like most of you know, I am a mom of TWO amazing healthy boys and by God’s grace, I do my very best as a mom to not just feed them but nourish them.

I actually see it as a divine privilege to GET TO feed my family.

Like, God has GRACIOUSLY blessed me with these MEN and what an honor to show how grateful I am by feeding them with foods that will give life to their bodies and not take life away from them.

Yes, food is that powerful, and because I coach women through their weight loss journeys, I see how HARD a lifestyle change can be for them at that adult age. Not that it is impossible to pick up new habits and retrain taste buds, but things would be easier if we just planted the seed of a healthy lifestyle in them from childhood.

One person that has really modelled this to me is Heather Lindsey.

I adore how she carries her family especially Nutrition on her head. I know that when some people listen to her they may say ‘Oh she is harsh, or she is showing off and all’ but my sister, the satan you want to play with is certainly not playing with you and I see that he uses EVERYTHING including diet. Some of the incessant health challenges we are battling with in our kids is straight up diet-caused.

I said all that to say this: Let’s do better with our kids, Moms.

So to help us, I would share three tips to help us make better choices as Moms. They come basically from mistakes I have seen more and more moms make when it comes to their kids diet.

Ready? Let’s go

1. Prioritize water over and above every other drink

I mean, tell me WHY you cannot give your kids water even in their lunch boxes? And, I do mean ONLY WATER?

Who told us we had to put ‘Ribena and Caprisun?’

My kids’ school do this thing of Wednesdays being ‘Fruit and Water’ day, and recently, a friend shared with me how her kids school in the UAE told them at the orientation that only water and milk are allowed as drinks and they were serious.

How amazing for schools to insist on that at a systemic level, but I don’t even wait for Wednesdays and neither should you wait for the school. 90% of the time, I give my babies water only. There was a time I used to give ZOBO (a local homemade healthy drink) but I soon realized that the risk of it staining their uniform was not worth it. I mean, they are in school for less than one third of the day, so it is A-OK to drink water in those hours, and I can give zobo or tiger nut milk when they are back home.

So now its water, water and more water. Maybe two times a month, I give Milo or yogurt, and even that can stop at any time. It is not a right!

It is also a way to train our kids to be DIFFERENT and OK with it. Building very healthy self-esteem even when going against the grain. Almost everyone else would have a drink or two in their bags and when your kids ask you why they cannot also have same, you remind them that they are NOT everyone else and so don’t have to do what everyone else is doing. Noah’s example in the Bible is always a good reference.

Please get your kids to be VERY COMFORTABLE with water all day every day.

2. Don’t sweeten their cereal

I hear moms ask me what they can use to sweeten their babies’ pap when they are introducing solids. In fact a mom asked me if she could use sugar or dates and I am like WHAT???? Phew.

At that age when their taste buds are what my founding sociology fathers call TABULA RASA is blank slate, it is sugar you want to use to make the first strokes? Breast milk is sweet but a healthy and sensible sweet, so put breast milk in the pap or formula and that is all. You can also add like mashed banana or pureed pineapple to their cereals and all but this is more for the nutrients that come from fruits than for any sweetener effect. Your kids don’t know what it means to have a sweet tooth yet, so please let us keep them innocent.

Same goes for older kids. I see moms add sugar to cereals like Golden morn and Cornflakes. That one is even worse because most processed cereals already have sugar added to them. And while we are on cereals, please avoid sugar/honey/sweet coated cereals for your kids. Give them the plain ones like cornflakes and golden morn abeg. Then oats is one of the healthiest additions to introduce to your kids diet early, and that from 6months. Blend into powder at that early age and as they grow older into 1 year and more, you can give them like so. Put milk and any mashed/pureed fruit of choice (including avocado which is not sweet but highly nutritious) in and give them like so. No sugar please

3. Put TREATS ON A SCHEDULE

You see, the ideal thing would be to completely eliminate stuff like sweets, chocolates and other junks from your kids’ diet but I don’t think a little at infrequent frequencies would hurt. And that is the same for adults.

Let me tell a story to buttress

Recently a private squaddie was telling me how she had some treat and even though it was a little, immediately her body started to react and I guess that is a result of maintaining a clean eating program for so long.

Happens to me too and the very first time it happened was with ice-cream. I LOVE Coldstone ice-cream and don’t mind a treat every now and then, however because I had stayed away for SO LONG, maybe 3 months or more, the first evening I had it, I threw up until I was retching. By the next morning, my body was still on shut down mode. And I was PREGNANT phew. Did that mean I completely eliminated ice cream from my diet? Nope. What it meant was that I avoided going too long without it, so now maybe once in 4 or 6 weeks, sometimes 8 weeks, I enjoy a nice ice cream treat.

It still shuts down my body so I take it in the evening or on days when I am ready to do nothing else. If however I take it today, tomorrow, and next, then I stop reacting.

What this means is that our bodies really were not made for crap, but when crap becomes the lifestyle, then sadly our bodies adapt to it too

What a dangerous place to be.

Even worse, what a dangerous place to lead your precious kids into.

Said all that to say this…

SCHEDULE TREATS

And let your kids KNOW what you are doing. Let them know that we do fruits daily but we eat ice cream once a week or so. Let them know that just because they came home with party pack doesn’t mean the content (usually a load of crap) have to be eaten that day. Teach them to delay gratification. Never use TREATS and JUNK as reward for good behavior. Use healthy things instead and then other gifts and experiences. Chocolate cannot always be reward for cleaning your room, haba.

Beyond the act, it is the HABIT it is enforcing that is the scary part.

You don’t want to raise kids without boundaries… I want it NOW, I see it NOW, and I must have it NOW!!!

Nah, mama, Nah. Put the brakes in place and because you are BOSS, everyone has to obey that.

Dear Moms, this seed you are sowing now ooo, when you see the fruit of it, even you sef won’t believe it. It may seem hard but trust me, it will be so worth it

Let me end on this note

I like something someone said to me recently, about how really it is just LAZINESS that makes most of us moms make poor and unhealthy choices for our kids and I believe her completely.

If you would INVEST the time to do some research, you would know better. So much information out there for us to still be casual. Like they say, ignorance is no excuse in law. An ignorant mom is an OXYMORON abeg. It should never be placed side by side.

Being a MOM is a WHOLE JOB so I am not sure why we are not working, and by working I mean putting in the time, energy, resources, money and stuff to ensure that we are not just doing a shoddy, or average job, but that we are doing EPIC work. The kind that makes the heart of the FATHER very very happy that He entrusted these precious souls to us.

I am GAME. Are you?

Let me know your thoughts.

Love

Eziaha

Committed to #BringingHealthyBack

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