Keeping Healthy, Body and Mind

Raising two boys is hard.

Not only do I have to ensure their safety

or at least try to....

It is also my job to make sure that they have good food to eat...

By which I mean healthy food...

And that their minds and bodies are provided what they need to grow into strong healthy young men!

Getting little guys to do what is best for them is not always the easiest task.  We have learned through much trial and many errors to get them involved and make it as fun as we possibly can!!

When it comes to snack time we always try to ensure there is a variety available to them.  The boys know that they can have any fruit or vegetable that they would like (that we have in the house).  It is not uncommon to see Tommy munching on a carrot or two, while Jack is snacking away on some grapes or an apple.   

Dinner time we find we struggle a little more, they are offered only what has been made for the entire family (no special separate meals are prepared for them), and they get a serving of everything that we have.  I do not, however, believe that meal time should be a fight.  So there is no yelling or arguing about what they do or don't like, they are expected to try a bite of everything, 90% of the time there are at least two things on their plate they discover they like. (Tommy was shocked when he realized that cooked carrots are good, and will eat a plate full, Jack has learned that broccoli is one of the best foods ever and will often try to steal an extra piece or two off of Mommy's plate). We also have a rule that once they are done eating there is no nighttime or bedtime snack until all the dinner dishes have been done and the kitchen has been cleaned, if they leave the table still hungry (because they didn't eat everything) they are learning they will just have to wait until we are ready, and then its either fruit, cheese and crackers, yogurt, or some other healthy option we have in the house (we do let them decide what they would like for a snack).

Sometimes it is hard to stick to this, sometimes it is easier to just order a pizza that we know everyone will eat and have some cookies, and sometimes we do (sometimes we even just have ice cream for dinner), but we know that if we make and try to stick to a general plan that most of the time our boys will be eating what is good for them and what they need to grow.

Keeping their minds and bodies nourished, beyond food, is the harder task, for me anyway.  We make reading fun, offer rewards of trips to the Children's Museum after reading for so many hours (right now we are at 10 hours for Tommy and 5 hours for Jack).  We are lucky that they are both so excited to learn, they love to just pick up a book and read it.

I also make a point to encourage them to play creatively - there is no wrong way to paint a picture (or a body!!), build a building, or layout the train tracks.

Trying new ways to build and design encourages them to look at their world in many ways.

We turn to group sports (soccer...woo hoo) to help keep their bodies moving

And we let them play and explore with the neighbors kids with their bikes on our little street, and in the sand, grass, and dirt of our yards.

Everyday is a challenge to find ways to keep them growing healthy in mind and body, and many days we don't succeed.  There are times where the TV keeps us company as we lay about, or our eating is more about filling our stomachs that feeding us what we need. But as a family we try as best we can to keep us all growing and living well.  

What about your family?  What do you do to nourish your children, body and mind? Do you have rules or routines that you follow to keep your kids growing strong?


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  1. Good luck with trying to get them to eat healthy! I tried with my son, but he would starve?? Now he is much better.

  2. Sounds like you are doing a great job to me...much better than I did when my boys were little. I am ashamed to say that I was a "short order cook" mom! *blush*

    We did some of the other things you mentioned with our boys, too. They loved going places and playing outside. Their absolute favorite thing to do was to camp out in our back yard! Now that's my kind of camping. Enjoying the outdoors with all of the modern conveniences of life just a few steps away! ;-)

    We also tried to make sure that our boys were being fed spiritually. When we moved to where we live now, we found a church with an active children's program. The boys absolutely loved it, becoming involved in Sunday School and Children's Church. They were in little Christmas plays, went to Bible School, etc. They have literally grown up with their friends, and I have no doubt they all will remain connected in some way throughout their lives.

    Having a good spiritual foundation and relationship with God has helped them to grow into the young men they are today, equipping and enabling them to face whatever comes their way in the days and years ahead.

    You're doing a great job, Liz!

    P.S. Be sure to stop by my blog this week...I'm having a giveaway!

  3. Oh it does look like you are being a great Mom, legos, tv, etc. All that does help them to grow into healthy adults. I wanted to add to my comment earlier.

  4. Your mealtime approach is much like ours was at that age, and still is for the most part. At 9, E has few foods she really doesn't like to eat...and actually has quite a few that aren't traditionally enjoyed by children in this region (goat cheese and gourmet olives, for example). The one concession we made at mealtimes though was that she preferred raw veggies to cooked. So, when I was fixing fresh veggies, I would set her portion aside and not cook them. But, I definitely agree about not being a short-order cook for the family.

    If there wasn't such a big age difference, our kiddos would have such fun together. They seem to enjoy the same things (Legos, soccer, children's museum).

    Sorry we missed you this past trip. We ran the whole weekend and didn't really get an opportunity to contact anyone.

  5. I think most of our routines help all of us. I would go nuts without our bedtime routines. The kids know what to expect and things go pretty smoothly most nights. I need to get better at challenging Nate mentally though. He needs to learn and be constructive to avoid him being crazy!

  6. Great post. :)

    It's so important to have a good balance in all that we do and in all that we give to our kids --the "Goldilocks" factor, i.e. not too much, not too little of anything, but "just right." Easier said than done, though. =) But doable.

  7. Looks like you have a wonderful plan in place!!

  8. They are so happy too! Healthy happy kids are the best. Great job.


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