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Better EatingOur Eating Habits Begin When We’re KidsSo what do we do as parents to help ensure our kids grow up to become healthy adults? Here’s a short list, in no particular order:Don’t let your kids drink their cal- ories. Sugar is the #1 cause of obesity, hands down. Start teaching kids that nothing quenches a thirst like water. Plain, boring, natural, water. The myth that fruit juice is full of vitamins and is good for kids has long been blown out of the water. It is, without question, WORSE than giving your child soda pop. Eating fruit is good for children, the vitamins and minerals are great for healthy bodies. And in fruit the sugar is attached to fiber, which slows the dosage rate of the sugar within your body (imagine a time released ibupro- fen – same concept). But, the second you juice the fruit, and limit or remove the fiber, you have a fructose bomb being launched into your child. One that overwhelms the mitochondria, the metabolism, and leads to fat storage and LARGE amounts of triglycerides being released into your bloodstream (that’s right, SUGAR raises your cho- lesterol). The same goes for the ever popular smoothie. Though not quite as bad as juice, a smoothie is a terrible way to get fruit into your diet. And I hope I don’t need to tell you that soda pop is bad for kids... and adults. But, if I did, there you go.Don’t use sugar as a reward. When our children have a special achieve- ment, we want to celebrate it, and we should! However, you must realize that the child’s brain is already overwhelmedBY BRIAN NESSELWe are a cul- ture that revolves EVERYTHING around food. I liter- ally can’t count the number of people who have asked me “We want to go to the movies – whatwith happy hormones for making you (and themselves) proud, so adding sug- ar will make it a more addictive feeling. By all means, buy a toy, a book, a pony (if that feels appropriate), but don’t add to the adrenaline rush by adding a dopa- mine rush, or you’ll be forming a plea- sure seeking response in that adorable, ever-forming, brain. The same can be said for sadness, boredom, anger, etc. Don’t feed emotions with sugar – it’s the building block of we do?” We are such a food reliant society we don’t even know how to watch a movie without eating! It feels unnatural to us! Think about it.Model positive eating habits. Over 2/3 of obese people had an obese par- ent, and it’s not from an “obesity gene.” Children learn their eating habits from you, just as they learn their personality traits from you. Be aware that they are noticing your serving sizes, your number of servings, what you drink with dinner, and what snacks you eat. Be the exam- ple of health to your child in a positive, proactive way. If you are overweight, make it a priority to change your eating habits. Avoid using the term “fat.” And, if you are trying to eat healthy, never say to your child “I can’t eat that” – tell them, “I choose not to eat that.” The first response is a punishment, the second is empowering.This all starts in our childhood. While our little brains are still forming (and it’s the prefrontal cortex of the brain that forms the most – which is pleasure seeking), we start learning what our re- lationship with food is going to be. And, as parents, you really need to recognize this: nearly 90% of obese adults started as overweight kids. Please read that sen- tence again: 90% OF OBESE ADULTS STARTED AS OVERWEIGHT KIDS!How? Because Billy scored a goal and he got a milk shake – so Billy asso- ciates sugar to accomplishment. Melin- da was teased for getting a bad grade at school, so mom gave her some cookies – so Melinda associates sugar with com- fort. Billy and Melinda get up before mom and dad want to, so mom and dad fill up huge bowls of cereal and park the kids in front of a television until mom and dad are ready to get up. Now those kids associate sugar with curing bore- dom. And every time they have sugar, that front part of their brain goes crazy, because sugar releases dopamine (your happy hormone) and that dopamine goes to the frontal cortex and makes us feel GRRRRREAT [no trademark needed]. Now we don’t just associate sugar with happiness, we CRAVE sugar AND hap- piness! So we go after more, and more, and more. As we go through puberty, and our hormones mature and start working overtime, we learn emotional stability, and often cope with emotional instability with escaping behaviors. In extreme cas- es we escape through alcohol and drugs. But, for a vast majority of us, we go back to what we have learned – sugar makes life better. And make no mistake about it, we LEARN this from our upbringing.In summary, remember these import- ant things: 1) Your children are constant- ly watching you as a guide for who they should be. No one in their lives has more influence than you. 2) Kids are starving for love more than food. 3) Lastly, hugs have zero calories, and your kids crave them a million times more than sugar... and they don’t need a cookie after one. I promise.MICHAEL E. DOWNING REALTOR• ASSOCIATE BROKER • HALL OF FAME AWARD WINNER• 43 YEARS OF EXPERIENCE • OVER 3,000 CLOSED TRANSACTIONS • RECIPIENT OF THE LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD• MEMBER OF THE RE/MAX 100% CLUB FROM 1983 thru 2008, 2010-2018Main Office: 269-968-6101 269-441-5564 • Fax 269-441-5235 H 269-963-2433 • C e-mail: DowningMik@aol.comRE/MAX Perrett Assoc.Inc.,317 E. Columbia Ave., Battle Creek, MI 490158 TIME PLATINUM AWARD WINNEREDUCATION ISSUE I SCENE 4403 23

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