My kids and the 80/20 rule.
Over the years, I have learned that we are all on a journey. Our lives are that journey. Sometimes there are low valleys and sometimes there are high mountains. The journey should be beautiful and sometimes we just need a change of perspective to see that beauty. We have all been through tough times, big challenges and little struggles. If we can just look at our fellow humans and realize that they are also on their own journey, we can have grace and compassion towards them. My aim is to realize that we are all at different places. No two people are at the exact same place in their journey because we all have different experiences, different feelings, different emotions, and a different perspective. I want to share with you some things I have learned on my path. If you see things differently than me, that’s ok! We are all special and unique individuals. We all have our own opinions and that is what makes the world go round.
On my journey, I have often tried to jump down other people’s path. I’ve tried “keeping up with the Jones’s”. But that never brings true happiness. We must each walk out our own path and find what works for us. When it comes to health and food I have jumped on and off so many bandwagons over the years. I wish I could say I was done with that but that would only last until the next thing comes along. I am always on the lookout for healthy things. But the reason I am always researching and studying health and food-related things is because I want healthy kids. I want their little bodies to work the way they are supposed to. When germs try to invade, I want a fever to spike to kill off that virus. When they run around barefoot outside, I want their feet to soak up the good bacteria in the ground that will strengthen their immune systems. Health is something we often take for granted until we’re sick. But I am trying to lead a more proactive lifestyle and build up healthy bodies before sickness comes. That is why I have adopted the 80/20 rule for my life. especially when it comes to food and eating. This is probably not the 80/20 rule you are familiar with when it comes to business. This is my own rule of how I try to direct my family’s food choices. I want to instill good practices in my kids at a young age so that when they grow up, go to college and move out, they know how to make good choices. I know I won’t be cooking all their meals for them while they are in a college dorm. And I won’t be bringing over dinner each night after they are married. So, it is important for them to know how and what to eat to keep their bodies healthy.
My rule for food is 80% of the time you choose something nutritious and less healthy options 20% of the time. Sometimes this is based on the day, other times it is based on one meal. My main focus when it comes to getting in the 80% of nutrient-dense food is dinner time. Because meal planning plays a big part in healthy eating, I place a lot of emphasis on making sure our dinner is not only delicious but also nutritious. Once we have a healthy dinner, this gives us options for the next day, like leftovers for lunch. We like warm lunches at our house, so leftovers work perfectly. My next priority is school lunches. I need my babies’ brains to have the extra fuel they need to get them through the day. So I have developed some lunch ideas that I will be sharing shortly in another blog post. I haven’t forgotten about breakfast, but we are still working on getting something in their tummies before school starts. That routine should be more concrete here soon. But, back to the discussion about our journey. These are the steps that I am taking to help my kids prepare for their own life journey. Right now, these are the tools in our bag that are working well for us to train our littles about healthy eating choices.
An example: My son’s 11th birthday is just around the corner. How he is already 11, I will never know. Time just goes by that fast. I have decided not to deny my children the enjoyment of their birthday party and the dessert of their choice. Sure, fruit cups are a healthy choice and a yummy dessert, but does that really compete with traditional cake and ice cream? Not in my family it doesn’t. So, my 80/20 rule comes into play in these kinds of situations. My family will eat a delicious and nutritious dinner filling up 80% and the remaining 20% will be from the dessert of their choice.
Because I have to eat gluten-free and I want to be able to celebrate with cake too, I have to be a little creative. One way is to make a homemade gluten-free cake. Danielle Walker, the author of Against All Grain, has some delicious grain-free dessert recipes. Everything I have made from her cookbooks or blog has been amazing and I highly recommend them. A couple weeks ago, I made a strawberry cake from her cookbook. It was so delicious and because I knew the ingredients were healthy, I didn’t feel quite as bad going up for a second slice.
I strive to live my life in moderation, and moderation in food is important. It’s all about choices, most healthy and some not as healthy. It’s unrealistic for me to think my kids won’t ever eat anything unhealthy. I know when they go to their friend’s houses or grandparents or anywhere away from me, they will be faced with choices. If I can teach them moderation and the 80/20 rule, then even when I am not with them they will feel empowered to make good decisions.
Often times, I feel like I need to tell my kids no a lot. No, don’t play in the road. No, don’t run in the parking lot. No, don’t unbuckle your seatbelt in the car. It’s time to add some yes’s. Yes, you can have an apple for a snack. Yes, you can go play outside. Yes, you can have a homemade popsicle. What are you doing to add more Yes’s? What rules do you implement to help teach your kids how to make healthy choices as they grow?