by Debra Giunta
Early last Spring, Design Dance decided to take steps towards increasing our wellness programming. We know that dance helps our kids maintain healthier lifestyles but exercise isn’t the only factor contributing to a healthy lifestyle. We know food choices play a big part in healthy lifestyles, so we decided it was time to partner with companies with healthy food as a main part of their mission. As we began diving into the many wellness focused companies in Chicago, we were delighted to find FEED Nutrition Consulting - a perfect match with their customized, family focused approach to a healthy lifestyle. This summer, we’ll be offering a series of family wellness workshops in partnership with the founder of FEED so we thought we’d take a moment to highlight some words of wisdom from Lara Field, Owner/Founder of FEED Nutrition Consulting.
Tell us a bit about the inspiration behind FEED Nutrition Consulting.
My dad’s illness was really the reason why I became interested in health. If it weren’t for my his struggle with cholesterol, I truly believe I wouldn’t be who I am today. Once informed of his risk for heart disease, my dad learned everything he could about lowering that risk. He bought at least ten diet books, learned how to cook, read nutrition labels, quit smoking, and started exercising. It was his mission to take control of his health, and he took me under his wing to learn along with him.
I was an average girl with an average appetite. I never had a weight problem or high cholesterol, but my father’s new health habits were making a huge impression on me. Moreover, I was fascinated by the changes we were making as a family.
You can read my full story here!
Can you identify ways that your upbringing positively (or negatively) impacted your relationship to health and wellness as an adult?
My upbringing completely positively impacted my relationship with food. As a young girl, learning about health/wellness at home made me a healthier eater, which made me realize how I would be able to change children’s health habits.
So many parents are working to balance so much day to day, can you suggest some easy ways to incorporate healthy habits at home?
Small changes make a BIG difference. Perhaps taking an assessment of usual habits (after school snacks, dessert rewards, soda/juice consumption, veggies with dinner). I think it is easiest to approach changes one at a time. Try clearing your pantry of salty snacks, and choose one or two items like low-fat popcorn, mixed nuts, or high fiber crackers to have around, instead. I think it is best to talk to your kids about health as much as possible. Not that they “should” do things differently, but rather how eating well can help them succeed/avoid doctors appointments/do better in sports. Keep them involved. Ask your kids to write down three choices they like for lunch and dinner, make compromises, but get their input. When they are involved or know what to expect, they typically are more willing participants.
You spend so much of your time working with families, can you name 1 or 2 issues you see the most often? What is some of your go-to advice for making a change in these areas?
Picky eaters - do you ask your kids what time they WANT to go to sleep? Well, speaking as a mom, NO! On that same point, don't ask them on a per-meal basis “What do you want to eat”? Get them involved, let them give input, but YOU should choose when and what is for meals.
Overweight kids - assess the sweets. Rather than having sweets daily or a few times per day, consider “dessert nights”. Determine (as a family) two or three nights per week that you can ENJOY dessert. The other nights, try to skip the sweets.
Lastly, for parents looking to build healthier habits at home, how can they go about starting to work with you?
You can learn more about the services we offer at FEED here: http://feedkids.com/what-to-expect/what-to-expect/
You can also stay in the loop on more ways to keep your family healthy by following along here:
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