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    Posted January 7, 2014 by
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Talking to teens: Healthy bodies

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    The right marketing

    I have five children, and, for the most part, they are healthy eaters. When my daughter was about 5, I had her absolutely convinced that the best treat in the world was brussel sprouts. If she disobeyed while shopping, I would take them out of the cart and tell her she was not going to be able to eat them if she continued, she would beg me to put them back in the cart. How? It was easy. It is what we ate, enjoyed and spoke fondly about.

    So much is not on how we manipulate our children, but how we model excellence to them in our everyday life. A favorite food, eaten and enjoyed, with the right "marketing" always worked. We never forced our children to "eat their vegetables". We made sure they ate a bit of everything on their plate, without making veggies a second class food.

    Much the same with exercise. reading, civic and religious activities. They watched as we lived life, we included them in our activities, and we provided plenty of kid friendly alternatives to those more difficult activities. This occurred while they were still toddlers so that it was natural for a walk, or run, volleyball, baseball, etc. We challenged ourselves, and the children, in plank month, push ups, etc. It was part of the fun. We have no "live" tv, and for years, no tv at all.

    We have not deprived our children, I shop organically and non gmo whenever possible, no soda in the house, but okay out in restaurants or special occasions, no candy or snack food in the house, but okay at times. This way they were taught that it is okay in moderation or as a treat, but no way to eat.

    When my youngest was three, he declared, no one can drink a cup of coffee unless they drank a glass of water before, and if we wanted dessert, we had to drink water and exercise before the dessert.

    He is now 12 and won the Healthy Living award given out by our senator. All my children have either run cross country, played a sport like softball or baseball. All five have a BMI in the healthy range. We completed our first mud run in 2013.

    They eat well, have had few health issues, and have been on antibiotics very few times in their lives. They are all around healthy teens and young adults.

    Julia Dunst
    Reading, PA
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