The Tough Love Diet for Parents

Tough Love Diet for Parents

Readers beware! This article is not for the easily offended. It may feel like a slap in the face for some so read on only if you dare…

My two daughters, Ryah (7 years old) and Ella (5 years old), have such an appetite for life and it’s a healthy one at that! As I sit here typing this article, Ryah is next to me enjoying a banana.  But I don’t see it as just a banana. I see it as an energy-producing source by way of the rich B Vitamins. I see it as a protective antioxidant in the form of vitamin C. I also see that banana as a blood pressure regulator by providing the vital mineral potassium. If only we can visualize all the foods we feed our children from this micronutrient viewpoint we would probably reconsider the next trip to McDonalds. As adults, we know why we should feed our children nutrient rich foods but how do we get them to not only eat them but learn to love them? As parents we must live by example and provide a structured and healthy diet from the beginning.

Nearly all of my friends have at one point asked me, “How do you get your kids to eat so healthy?” My answer is usually the same, “They don’t have a choice.” Does that sound harsh? Does that sound unfair, or mean? Ok, here it comes. What’s unfair or mean in my opinion, is not providing children with the health promoting diet needed to optimize their life. What’s unfair is the fact that our innocent children depend on us to put their health first, but all too often their health comes second place to convenience.  The drive-thru is quicker, it’s on the way home, it requires no preparation or clean up. Letting strangers feed our children trans fats for dinner is easier than staying up a little later to clean up. Yes, now I sound harsh, I openly admit it. But we are adults. We can take it. We need to take it, we need to hear it, and we need to change it. Don’t blame fast-food restaurants; don’t blame the lack of time or the cost of healthy foods, and most certainly do NOT blame your child’s picky eating habits, by doing so you are letting your child make the decision on what to eat. Take responsibility and take action!  Don’t they deserve to be afforded the best opportunities we can give them? I know my children do and it all starts with their health, that is why I make the decisions and they learn to go with it. Children are resilient and they adapt easy to change, the younger the better so if you need to, make the change now. Something as simple as eating dinner together at the table can have a profound impact on the reaction of introducing new and healthy foods to child’s your meal. Taking the time to set the table and to sit down together focusing on the meal and each other displays not only the importance of the meal, but of your interest in what and how your children are eating. After all, if we don’t care who will?

My children are not completely neglected of the “junk food” nor do they feel like they are. Although we seldom eat fast food, they do perhaps enjoy a pizza on Friday family nights, but it is not a frequent occurrence. I can honestly say that my children have probably eaten at McDonalds 3 to 5 times in their entire life, they haven’t had Burger King in at least 1 year, and yet they NEVER ask to go to these places or similar ones. When they do indulge in meals that are considered unclean, we do it in a way that shows that it is a rare occasion and that it should not be expected on a regular basis. On rare occasions I will buy them sugary cereals as a special little treat. I would estimate that I buy these cereals about 3 times a year. For example, I recently bought Captain Crunch cereal for the girls to enjoy on this last Christmas Eve morning. Now every Christmas Eve, we each get to open one present. Well, to be fun, my husband and I wrapped the Captain Crunch box in wrapping paper and put a name tag on it saying ‘To Ella and Ryah from Mommy and Daddy.” When the girls woke up, we told them they can open their present before breakfast. They were so excited when they saw the wrapped box on the table. At first, afraid it was a cruel joke and they would be disappointed, I almost stopped them, but I didn’t. When they opened it up, they both screamed “YES!” and started laughing while literally jumping around. My older daughter said something along the lines of, “Good one. You kind of tricked us.” We all got a kick out if it and they thoroughly enjoyed their breakfast while understanding that this type of food was to been enjoyed occasionally. And yes, they still got to open a real present later that evening.

My point is that we do not have to totally eliminate these types of foods, but they should not be staples in our children’s diet. Let them have it occasionally and they will be satisfied. Explain the importance of a healthy diet and kids will understand. If they are too young to understand, they will some day and will thank you later.



Jonelle Baglia NPC Figure Champion

Jonelle is indeed a Fit Mom, inspired by her children to set a healthy and positive example.  Not only is she a smart & busy woman – she has a Master’s Degree in Exercise Science & Health Promotion, is a certified personal trainer AND works ful time for the United States Air Force, she is an accomplished Figure Competitor, winning shows in 4 different countries.  Through clean eating and her commitment to her training, Jonelle has been able to stay fit through her pregnancies and come out even stronger after each one.  Here at family always comes first and we love how Jonelle promotes good health through nutritious meals and fun activity!


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