Raising Healthy Eaters - Transcript

Narrator: Coming up on this episode of the doctor's pharmacy. Dr. Mark Hyman: Kids who have family meals with their families are less prone to bad behavior, risky behavior like eating disorders, drug and alcohol abuse, obesity. They do better at school, have less a DD. Welcome to the Doctor's Pharmacy. I'm Dr. Mark Hyman. That's pharmacy and have a place for conversations that matter. And if you have kids and you worry about what to feed them or what they're going to eat or how to get them to eat the good stuff, you're going to like this little podcast part of our Help Bite series to make small steps in everyday life that make your help better in the long run. So I personally had two kids raised them. I was a single father and I included them very early in the kitchen actually on a video. Me and my kids in the kitchen. I think my son was like 10 months old. My daughter was about two, and we were making, I don't know, I think I actually made bread from scratch and they were making such a mess, but they had the best time. And I think it's really important to include your kids in the kitchen early on, not just present a meal to them at the table, but include them in the entire process from shopping to cooking, to setting the table, to cleaning up the whole thing. It's just basic life skills and they learn osmosis and when they're little, they love it and they love to get involved and they want to be with you. So it all works out and you don't have to kind of go off and do the drudgery yourself, but make it a family affair and make it a fun thing. So it's really important. So I know there's challenges. I know that raising kids is hard. I know that getting 'em to eat the right thing is hard. I had a friend who's like, well, all my kids will eat is pizza and pasta. And I'm like, well, that's, it's all you feed 'em. They're not going to starve death if you don't feed 'em that for a while. And they actually will typically be fine and start to eat other foods. So basically, I always to joke at my house, it was only two things on the menu, take it or leave it. And so kids ate what they got and if they didn't like it, they didn't need it, and basically they weren't going to die or start yet. So it's really important to be flexible. It's important to include your kids. It's important to teach them about nutrition, food early on. And I raised my kids to eat well and live well, and they're both very involved in cooking and healthy food and they really understand. And it wasn't because I pounded into them or gave 'em lectures, it was because I included 'em in the process. So I'm going to give you my tips for how I did it and how I think also as a doctor, I've learned how to help families and kids include healthier foods in their diet and actually make it fun. So the first thing is to know what to eat. Typically in my house, there was no bad stuff. You couldn't get into trouble. One time my son said, I want to have friends over, there's nothing to eat. And he was a teenager. And I said, okay, let's go to the grocery. You can buy whatever you want except for one rule. It can have hydrogenated fats in it or high fructose corn syrup. And basically he almost could find nothing, but we did work it out. But it's important to teach your kids about whole foods, seasonal foods, local foods, go to the farmer's market with them, teach 'em about how grow and teach 'em about what real food is. You can teach 'em to read labels, like have 'em look at the labels, make it a science project. Can they actually pronounce what's on there? Do they know what it is? Is it a food or is it just some industrial food product that actually should not be what we're eating? Basically? I always say an almond doesn't have a nutrition facts label or ingredient list is an almond A doesn't have one either. And Apple doesn't have one either. So eat real food and ask your kids, was this food grown in a plant or was it made in a plant? Right? If it was made in a factory, probably not a good idea. So real food is grown on plants or is eating plants where there's animals. And so less processing, less steps taken from field to fork is really important. And you can teach your kids about that. Also, ask your kids, try to imagine what this food looked like in its original state. Sometimes it's easy to do, right? If you look at apple, that's what it looks like on the tree. If you are looking at something like bread, well, it creates a little imagination, but it's not that many steps. Grind the flour, a little yeast, a little Levi, and then you get the bread. If it's got 4,000 ingredients, what was the state of that food? There wasn't even a food. So I think it's really important. Also, model the right behavior by you modeling how you eat, what you eat, all little things. The kids will absorb that and they will understand almost by osmosis what to do. So I always had meals that I cooked. I cooked my kids breakfast, lunch and dinner, and I was a working physician. I was a single father. It's possible, and I worked really hard, but it's really possible and it just takes learning a skill like anything else. Most people are great at operating their iPhone or they're smartphone, but most people don't even have the basic skills functioning in the kitchen, how to chop a vegetable, how to peeled garlic. I mean, just basic skills that if you learn, you could actually learn how to make simple food quickly and easily. So it's also important to understand that routine is important. I made sure that family dinner was a thing every night. I mean, unless it was some extenuating circumstances, basically coming together as a family, sitting on the table, eating together the same food and having time to relax and enjoy is a really important thing. There's a lot of research on this. Kids who have family meals with their families are less prone to bad behavior, risky behavior like eating disorders, drug and alcohol abuse, obesity, they do better at school, have less a DD. So it can be a time for engagement, conversation for discovery, and for real bonding as a family rather than stress. And today, most families probably don't eat together. If they do, it's each one eating from a different package or boxed food, cooked in a microwave, all made in different factories while they're watching TV or on their phones and not talking and not engaging. And that is just bad news for their health and for their emotional health, their physical health, and obviously even for the connection of your family. Also, boundaries are important. Like I said, my house, there was only two things on the menu, take it or leave it. And so I didn't have kids' food. It wasn't like the adults ate some dinner and then I made a bowl of pasta or macaroni and cheese for my kids. They just ate what we ate and they learned to love it. And what do kids eat in Japan? They eat raw fish and seaweed, right? Kids will eat that stuff if there's nothing else to eat, right? Don't actually like that stuff. So it's not that kids won't do it, but if we are giving them kids meals and Lunchables and all this targeted junk food that's been focused on children, it's bad news. So make your home a place where you can eat real food together. You're going to get kids exposed to delicious flavors from all sorts of different cuisines. And if they're picky, they're not going to starve. My mother would just tell the story of my sister who didn't want her eggs for breakfast. And so basically she said, okay, we don't have to eat 'em. But she gave her the same eggs for lunch and she didn't eat 'em, and she gave 'em the same eggs for dinner and she ate the cold eggs from the morning she was starving. So kids will not starve to death. They will eat. I promise you. Don't coddle them. Don't dance around them. I mean, I think it's really important to teach your kids about nutrition and to model the right behavior and have the right approach to eating and just make sure your kids make fun foods. You can make fun foods for kids. It was, I think, a great book that I had my kids, what was it called? Something Pretend Soup. It was called Pretend Soup. It's a great cookbook by Molly Kason. And essentially it's all this fun food that you can make with your kids that's healthy, but it's kind of got fun foods that kids, and it's all made from real whole food ingredients. So really keep in mind that if you can make food fun, it's great. Also, sometimes your kids take a while to get used to things. If you look at different flavors, some kids take a while to adjust to spicier things or different kinds of sourness or sweetness. So make sure you give your kids multiple options to eat the food, to try to present it to them multiple times and also make meal times fun. Don't make it stressful, don't make it a time of reprimand. I mean, when I was a kid, my stepfather was just horrible and mealtimes were so stressful, but I didn't like it and I want to be done as soon as possible, but that's not how it should be. And it led to all such of digestive issues for me when I was a kid. Basically went away as soon as I went to college. So the bottom line is make your home fun. Make your dinner time fun, make it pleasant, relaxed, and connect as a family and think of different conversation topics. Keep it light positive. Being under stress when you eat is not good for digestion and your metabolism. And also don't use food as a punishment or as a reward. We tend to go, oh, here I have some ice cream. If you're upset. Or even ice cream if you're going to celebrate something. No, it should not be like that. Occasional treats are fine, but food should not be used to punish or restrict your reward your kids. It's really important to have a healthy relationship with food and teach them from an early age that it's important to have a healthy relationship and not associate with positive or negative reinforcement. Parenting. I mean use games or there are other things, non-food related things to discipline your kids or to reward good behavior, but not food. Alright, how can you integrate healthy eating into your family's lifestyle? Well get your kids in the kitchen. Like I said, I always got my kids in the kitchen. I got 'em cooking with me. I took them to the grocery store with me. We decided what to eat together. We'd look at recipe books together. We'd go shopping together. We'd literally cook meals together. I make them my little sous chefs and we would put music on. We'd have fun and we'd have a great time. So they just want to be connected. The kids just want to be with you, especially when they're little. So it helps build their self-esteem. It helps connection to the family and teach them basic life skills. They can't tell you how many kids and not even kids, how many families and people have no idea how to cook. I mean, the American food industry has basically hijacked our kitchens and has us served our own homes in ways that has caused a massive obesity, diabetes epidemic, and chronic disease epidemic. And it's because we're not skilled in the kitchen anymore and we don't know what to do. So really important. So get your kids involved, help 'em plan meals, brainstorm our weekly menus, teach your kids about how to compose a healthy plate and what works. Like I said, take 'em grocery shopping and put 'em on little treasure hunts to go find the good foods and teach them about different foods that are fresh and real and it's kind of fun. So they obviously should be taught about where to shop and how to shop around the perimeter. But important, help them bring the groceries in, help them put away everything, help 'em just be involved. Get cooking together. They can wash their fruits and vegetables. They can help make simple things. They can track time, they can crack the eggs, they can toast things in the oven. So as kids get older, they can do better things that are more advanced, like peeling or grating or cutting veggies. Obviously you don't want to give a kid a knife and then help 'em part of the serving of dinner. It's really great. Just make them part of an enjoyable dinner time. Set the table and piece 'em out. Place mats and setting a table properly. Get flowers, candles, and just make it fun so you can enjoy stuff. Also, get 'em in the kitchen cleaning up. The kids always don't like that and nobody likes that, but make it fun and have a family cleanup after dinner where kids are involved so they understand the whole spectrum. What happens in creating meals. Also, there's ways to kind of trick your kids a little bit by helping put things into otherwise what we think of as unhealthy foods. For example, you can make carrot muffins or squash muffins or zucchini muffins. You can make all kinds of soups and sauces and dips and spreads or smoothies to sort of sneak in healthier veggies. You can maybe change the appearance of something like I had a friend who started a company called Super Sprouts where they would create Brian Broccoli and Colby Carrot, and they had all these kind of fun cartoons for their vegetables, or they could cut them up differently. So cut them up as different shapes or little cookie cutters used for Christmas. But you can use those for ves too, and it's fun. So there's all kinds of ways to cut fun shapes into food and turn 'em into flowers or hearts or letters or stars. It's great. Also, you can kind make plate art, make fun things in the kitchen. You can create pictures, designs fun colors of food instead of just a pile of Turkey, a sweet potato, asparagus. How about making asparagus trees or make a sweet potato with sun or Turkey clouds or just create a little art project? It's kind of fun. And that'll kind of make them more interested and also make the kitchen inviting place kitchens where we'll hang out. So make sure it's fun for them and get little small things so they can do if they're little and it's great. So bottom line is you got to get your kids involved in the kitchen early. You've got to get involved in the kitchen. You got to learn how to cook, and it's going to help one, keep your kids healthy, keep you healthy, keep 'em out of trouble, and solidify your family relationships, connections, which is really important to long-term health and wellbeing. So there's a lot more to this. There's a wonderful book called The Family Dinner by Laurie David, who is really just a wonderful woman who will actually help produce the movie Fed Up that I was in about childhood obesity and the family dinners, a great, great cookbook about how to cook with your family, and there's a lot of others as well. So I hope you enjoyed this little health bite. I encourage you to get your little chef's work in the kitchen and maybe they'll be making you dinner soon. My son's a chef now, so he makes dinner for me, which is awesome. And that's it for today's Health Bite. So I hope you enjoyed it. I'd love to know how you keep your kids healthy and treat them well. We'd love to know what you've learned subscriber ever get your podcast and we'll see you next week on The Doctor's Pharmacy. Narrator: I hope you enjoyed this week's episode. Just a reminder that this podcast is for educational purposes only. This podcast is not a substitute for professional care by a doctor or other qualified medical professional. This podcast is provided on the understanding that it does not constitute medical or professional advice or services. If you're looking for help in your journey, seek out a qualified medical practitioner. If you're looking for a functional medicine practitioner, you can visit ifm.org and search their find a practitioner database. It's important you have someone in your corner who's trained, who's a licensed healthcare practitioner and can help you make changes, especially when it comes to your health.