I was a plump kid who had to bear the additional weight of comments like “Girls like you should not be eating any bread or rice” and “Good thing you are pretty and nice, so your weight will not get in the way of dating.” The “solution” to my weight issue was exercise and constantly restricted portion sizes, and it has taken me years (decades!) to build instead a healthy relationship to food.
These early experiences with food have made me passionate about educating and empowering kids towards healthy eating. Specifically, my work is to educate kids, parents, and teachers about how important it is to tell the WHY behind healthy eating. We need to empower kids by allowing them to make their own food choices and guiding them in noticing and responding to feelings in their body.
When I became a mother, I wanted to help my own children see healthy food as a friend so they wouldn’t have to go through what I did. As luck would have it, my son seldom ate vegetables without a fight. It felt as though he and I were in a constant battle about his eating, and we were both so frustrated.
One night, as once again I was trying to get my son to eat his asparagus, and once again he was crying and gagging, I realized I had to change my strategy. I knew I needed a way to make healthy eating fun, not just something I commanded my son to do. So I created If It Does Not Grow, Say No: Eatable Activities for Kids, an activity book that helped us change the fights about food into fascination and laughter.
My approach is about curiosity, not demands. It’s about “How does it taste? How does it feel? Did you like it?” versus “You have to eat a plate of broccoli.” The activity book uses this same positive approach. Children of all ages will be entertained for hours as they
· draw and write about their favorite foods
· learn why fruits and vegetables are so awesome
· try easy recipes for fun foods
· get brave about trying new fruits and veggies
· make food art
· and find other ways to “play with their food.”
The activity book also helps teach kids (and grown-ups!) to slow down for mealtimes, how to enjoy and pay more attention to fruits and veggies, and how to make conscious choices for their health. These are lessons that naturally spread into other areas of their lives, making them stronger, healthier, happier kids... who grow into stronger, healthier, happier adults.
Eating is a life journey, so the activity book is simply a facilitation tool to start the discussion toward empowering you and your kids. Visit the book’s website www.doesnotgrowsayno.com for ideas on how to conduct fun food exercises, how to plan a rainbow meal, how to reduce your family’s sugar intake in fun ways, and much more.
Get your fruits and veggies ready; they're about to become very popular!