Wednesday 28 July 2010

Obesity & Children - No More Excuses!

This is a topic that is on my mind a lot as record numbers of children are becoming classed as obese in both America and in the United Kingdom. How can this happen? Aren't parents supposed to be in control of what food is in their home and how much a child is allowed to eat? Aren't parents the ones who prepare their children's meals? As parents, don't we love our kids enough to feed them properly with good nutritious food? Because that's what is comes down to. If you love your child, you will make sure that most of what she eats is nutritious and healthy, full of all of the nutrients and vitamins that she needs and lacking in things like sugar.

I know that, for some, it is not as cut-and-dried as that. I do know that it can be more expensive to buy healthy, fresh food. I know that our kids plead with us on numerous occasions to buy them sugar-laden food, and I know that for some parents, the time it takes to prepare a meal from scratch is a luxury they don't often have.

But I also know that some things in life are more important than all of the excuses that we rely on to keep us from feeling bad for not doing something. The health of our children should be a huge priority in our lives. And that means feeding them healthy meals and limiting the junk food they are allowed to eat. So here are some tips to help us make sure that we do everything we can for our children's health and that we keep those excuses at bay.

Excuse #1 - Healthy, fresh food is too expensive.


- Grow your own fruit and vegetables. You don't even need a yard of your own in order to do this. Some properly sized planting pots and hanging baskets can be enough to help you grow fruit, vegetable and herbs of your own.

- Re-use left-overs to create numerous meals from the same ingredients.

- Buy generic brands. Sometimes they are just as good as the more expensive brand name products, and the nutrition, in many instances, is just as good.

- Buy in bulk. Certain fresh ingredients can be bought in bulk and frozen in order to use later, and buying in bulk often costs less per item bought.

Excuse 2 - My child likes junk food, and they beg and plead for it all of the time.


- Be a parent. Part of being a parent is telling your children "no" when it is in their best interests. You don't have to eliminate junk food from your child's diet, but you should definitely limit it.

- Don't use sweets as a "treat." You don't want your child to be associating sugar-laden, non-nutitrious food as a reward or a special occasion, and giving it to him as a treat or a reward will just enforce the idea in his mind that good times equal sugar (or fast food or whatever unhealthy food you are using).

- Make sure your child can have nutritious fresh food on hand to take the place of the junk food they are craving. Fresh fruit is naturally sweet and filling at the same time. I know very few children who will turn down something as sweet and delicious as strawberries, for example, and strawberries are GOOD for your child to eat.

Excuse #3 - I don't have time to prepare healthy meals or to cook from scratch.


- Batch cook ahead of time. Take one day, maybe Saturday or Sunday (or whatever day you have the most free time) and cook the whole week's meals and then freeze it all, ready to be microwaved or reheated in the oven when you need it.

- Chop and freeze your fresh vegetables needed for cooking ahead of time. For example, if you will be making a lot of dishes that required diced onions during the week, then chop and dice some onion ahead of time and freeze it in freezer bags in the serving sizes that you will need for the meals.

- Measure out and portion your ingredients ahead of time. For example, you can do this with grated cheese. To keep yourself from using more cheese than a recipe calls for, measure out the portions you need into individual bags and store it in the fridge (or freezer) ready to use.

- Use your crockpot (slow cooker). If you wake up early enough in the morning, you can prepare the entire meal and start it cooking before you even leave the house for work in the morning, and by evening, a hot, healthy meal will be ready for you and your children. (Also, by then, the house will smell delicous!)

These are just a few solutions. I hope they are helpful. I'll tackle ways to help your kids be more physically active in a later post.

Thursday 15 July 2010

And Life Goes On

I think this is the longest I have gone without posting to this blog since I started it. Part of the reason is that my laptop, which is my main computer, was away for a while getting itself repaired , and before that, it sat waiting for the manufacturer to come and pick it up while its screen remained completely dark no matter how much I tried to get it to work. Now, I still could write on my blog (and any of my other blogs) from one of the many other computers in the house, but I just didn't feel right sitting at a different computer. It was as if the words wouldn't come because I was in unfamiliar territory. I think I still managed to write a bit on my blogs during that time, despite how foreign it all felt.

So here's where I tell you the obligatory list of all of the things that have been going on while I've been quiet.

I've been working on some recipes for my Skinny Dreaming Recipe blog. It wasn't easy because our oven wasn't working properly and the fuse kept blowing out on it at random times. But I believe I have come up with some recipes that you will enjoy, and now that my computer is back, I will start adding them to the healthy recipes on my recipe blog. I plan on adding some recipe cards for you to buy here as well. Just check back in a few days' time!

I have fallen behind on adding some interviews from inspirational people who've lost weight to my Super Slimmer's blog. This has happened for various reasons. One person is having trouble finding some before pictures to add to her interview. (I hope she finds them soon, because her story is an amazing one!) One person sent me before and after photos but has not returned the interview questions yet. And one person just let me know that the interview questions never reached her, so I will be resending them today. The good news is that those three people are lined up to share their interviews about their success, and you are going to love their stories!

I've started trying to learn to draw and sharing my attempts in a new blog called Designing Doodles. I have never had a natural talent for drawing or art, but I believe that if I practice a lot and read up on techniques and keep at it, I may eventually develop some sort of style of my own that will be worthy of using to illustrate the children's books I have written.

My children's stories are for young children and have themes with lessons in them, such as appreciating the family we are given, finding out we love the life we have now, and learning to live a healthy lifestyle, and they are all magical tales with fairies or mermaids or other fantasy beings.

My 3 year old son told me his first two stories ever, and I am very proud of him! His stories can be viewed at Imaginative Minds: Writing By Children. He told a story about a boy who walked a long way and wanted some toys that he couldn't afford, and he also told a story about a boy who loved dogs, especially his own dog.

My 7 year old daughter and 3 year old daughter had their Sports Day at school and yesterday had their Summer Concert at school. The Summer Concert had a Disney theme. Isabella's class performed to a Pinnocchio song and all of the girls dressed up as fairies while the boys dressed up as Pinnocchio. Gabriella's class sang a song from Mary Poppins and they all dressed up as chimney sweeps. It was fun to watch, and I could tell that the children all enjoyed performing. I'll be adding photos from both Sports Day and the Summer Concert to my personal blog later this week.

As has happened for many people in the past few years, finances have become an issue for me lately, so I have been brainstorming money-making ideas. I have decided on several products for kids that I will be adding to offerings at Your Kids' Creations' in the next few weeks. Feel free to check in their next week and see what gifts have been added.

I've also been debating buying a domain to keep all of my shops and blogs in one place. I have 18 blogs and even more on-line shops. A part of me thinks it might be easier to maintain them all and for my readers and friends to access all of it if I can keep it under one umbrella domain. I just haven't been able to come up with the name for it yet. Making it more difficult to think of a name is the fact that my blogs and gift designs range from writing, dieting, princesses, fairies, families, cats, photography, recipes, reviews, writing by children, art by children, drawing, self-improvement, comics, fairy photography, dream journaling and more. If anyone has any name suggestions, I'd love to hear them!

My 17 year old daughter spent a week in France on a trip with her biology class. While she was away, Robert and I missed one of our Slimming World meetings. I hate missing meetings. It's weird, but the weigh-ins at the meetings really help keep me focused and on-track with my eating and exercise, and I look forward to the meetings as a social outing. I consider most of the people at my meetings friends, so I look forward to seeing them each week.

I am writing for the Examiner as the Saratoga Fitness Walking Examiner. It's a bit of a struggle though, because my articles there are supposed to be regional for the area of Saratoga, California, and I no longer live there. So if you or anyone you know live in the Saratoga area and do a bit of walking, I'd love to interview you for a future Examiner post.

I am still maintaining my target weight, and I am still exercising regularly. Our elliptical is starting to have problems. We were offered an exchange because this one is falling apart so soon, but the one the company wants to change it for is not as good as the one we have, and we thought about changing it for a rowing machine, but, at 6'8" tall, Robert's legs are too long for the rowing machine that would be in the right price range. We are currently trying to get the company to send someone out to repair the elliptical crosstrainer instead of exchanging it for something else.

So please tell me in the comments what you have been up to during these past couple of weeks.

Wednesday 7 July 2010

Walk Your Daughter To Work Day


Today is Walk Your Daughter To Work Day. I can't help but wonder how many people will actually take part in this today. I thought it might be a good idea to help parents make the choice to walk their daughters to work with them today by listing some reasons why it is a good thing to take part in.

Walking is healthy for both you and your daughter. The effort of walking helps with circulation and benefits the heart.

Walking with your daughter is a great way to bond with her. It gives you extra time with your child and allows your child to talk with you. It's a great way to learn more about what your child likes, and, in my experience, children tend to open up and talk quite a lot when out walking with a parent.

Walking with your daughter is a great way to show your child, through your actions, that health and fitness are important to you. Children learn best through the examples that we show them.

Taking your daughter to work with you helps her get to know you better. It's a way for your child to learn a little bit more about what your day away from them is like.

Did you participate in Walk Your Daughter To Work Day?