Today, it is more important than ever for kids to embrace a healthy lifestyle, but it isn’t easy! Parents compete with peer pressure, messages conveyed by the media and pop culture, and a decreasing emphasis on physical activity in schools. As a mother of three young girls, it is a priority for me to teach them the importance of a healthy lifestyle and to lead by example.
Sleep: We enforce a quiet period before bedtime where TV and electronics are turned off so all stimulation can start to die down. I love my sleep, and my middle one takes after me, but it’s hard to get the other two to bed! It is important for kids to get a full 10 – 11 hours of rest. A half hour of downtime reading books and talking about the day (I always ask them to tell me about their favorite part of their day) before lights out helps make the transition a bit easier.
Family Activities: As a family, we are very active. Weekends are spent outside at the park, or out and about in the beautiful city of Chicago. We also plan active family vacations. We’ll enjoy a lazy morning by the pool but make sure to take a walk on the beach, swim or surf at some point during the day. We have a blast and it keeps us in motion!
Exercise: Many of our clientele at Shred415 are mothers, so co-founder Bonnie Micheli and I were inspired to create a 40-minute SHREDkids, class for children ages 8-10. We use the term “class” loosely; children work on agility through play and are introduced to functional movements and different types of exercise. My youngest loves it!
Snacks: My girls pick one snack of their choice (within reason) after school every day. Typically, they choose a starchy snack like pretzels, crackers, baked chips, or cereal, and I portion it into serving sizes. I have been doing this since they were toddlers, so this is normal for them. Sometimes, they’re still hungry but instead of seconds of the starchy snack, I’ll cut up carrots, celery, cucumbers and peppers, or slice apples and serve with a bit of peanut butter. My motto is “everything in moderation.” I would never deprive my girls of food, but I try to keep an eye on portion sizes, and fill their plates with nutritional foods.
Dinner: My husband and I cook every night, and we always make sure that vegetables accompany each dinner. I also try to include a variety of flavors and textures on their plate. Right now, they love broccoli, green beans, peas and edamame.
Finally, we eat many of our meals together as a family. I use this as an opportunity to prepare balanced meals and introduce them to new foods. More importantly, it is such a special time for us to come together, laugh, discuss the day, and bond. I’m finding that it is important to have health and wellness discussions while my kids are young, so that they continue to be healthy and live an active life as they become young women.
Tracy Roemer opened Shred415, a fitness studio with three (and one on the way!) locations around Chicago. To stay fit, Tracy teaches and takes Shred415 classes, incorporates Flex Pilates and Core Power Yoga into her routine, eats mostly organic, and tries to get as much sleep as possible