Page 30 - Scene Magazine 46-02 February 2021
P. 30

Nutrition Scene
   I think it’s important for ALL parents to look at the decisions we make when it comes to developing our children’s eating habits. So, let’s start from the beginning.
First, there isn’t a child alive who is responsible for their weight. Children’s brains are wired as pleasure seeking machines – that’s how we learn every- thing about the world. To understand childhood obesity, you must first under- stand a child’s brain and gut chemistry. Children are moved by two forces – se- rotonin and dopamine. Serotonin helps us feel right, normal, happy, energetic. When we are young, healthy active serotonin helps us to play, learn and
You’ve chemically changed his brain’s view of his emotions.
Don’t make desserts a tradition.
be aware. Dopamine is your feel good hormone. It elicits a pleasure response. Dopamine can help serotonin levels increase (or become more visible to your brain). And this is where things get tricky. When we are sad, or depressed, our serotonin levels will dip. When we introduce dopamine, it raises our ability to use serotonin, so we feel happier. And what’s a fast way to increase dopamine? Sugar and carbs. So, when Billy is sad for losing the big game, and you take him for ice cream, he goes from sad about the game, to feeling much better about life as he eats the ice cream.
and explain that desserts are once in a blue moon kinds of things. Remove the “specialness” of desserts, so they don’t feel like a reward – because food rewards make us crave being rewarded.
Parents often come to me with concerns about their children’s weight, and what to do about it.
It’s important to ad- dress correctly, and
Children’s Eating Habits
We learn this quickly as children because, again, we have pleasure seeking brains that want to learn. For children who don’t feel accepted in school, feel troubled at home, or battle normal feel- ings of insecurity, food (specifically sug- ar and carbs) seem to always make life seem a little better. Problem is, it’s short lived. So, they go back to it. The fact that sugar has been proven to be addictive makes a child vulnerable to over-use of sugar. Often as parents, we know that the tasty treats make our kids happy, so we use them to show our love. And that is where we can unwittingly start fostering unhealthy habits that lead to unhealthy weight gain.
absorbable, and hit’s the bloodstream
very quickly. And, as many of us know, it’s highly addictive. Between the sugar and the caffeine, the soda pop producers of our country know that they are cre- ating a drug – perhaps the most widely accepted drug on the planet. Remove it by introducing other options that still offer a sweet escape, without offering the sugar and caffeine (and not diet pop – that can be worse in more ways than we have time to explain). Drinks flavored with stevia, erythritol, or other natural non-sugar sweeteners, are decent options, but always make water a regular part of their day.
I will say this was one that was regularly in my childhood. After dinner, we often would have ice cream, snack bars, cook- ies – a little something sweet, as my mom used to say. We form emotional connec- tions to dessert as a kid, which makes it easier for it to become a life-long habit. Make your dinner filling and healthy,
If you’re realizing you may be in this situation, here are my suggestions to turn the corner to a healthy lifestyle for your kids.
Promote healthy family eating habits. If a child in the house is at an unhealthy weight, don’t single them out as the reason the family is eating differ- ently. Make the decision in the family that EVERYONE needs to be healthy and learn healthy eating habits. Then, show everyone how good healthy can taste (and, oh my goodness, it can). If it feels like a punishment, healthy eating will feel constrictive and unfair. This is a positive thing, so make it positive and enjoyable.
Get rid of the soda pop. Widely con- sidered the number one factor in juvenile obesity, soda pop is terrible for children. It’s liquid sugar. Because of that, it’s easily
Develop a healthy family lifestyle.
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Go on adventures, hike the woods, take the family bowling, ride your bikes around the neighborhood together, throw the ball around. Enjoy the real world more often than your kids enjoy their electronics. Spending more time with you like this will bring your family closer together, and improve everyone’s physical and emotional health.
 It’s never too late when you have kids. The only mistake you can make is to never try. Your children’s health is your respon- sibility, and it will impact their entire lives.

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