Fitness: What your parents never taught you about food

Me at age 3

Me at age 3

If I knew then what I know now, my life would have been totally different. It has taken me years of trial and error; of bad diets and weight gain to finally get in the groove of being healthy and maintaining my weight. Now, don’t get me wrong I am glad that I went through my trials they made me better but looking back I wonder what lessons about food I wish I knew. I often think about what values I will instill in my future children about diet and exercise, so they can avoid the pitfalls that I encountered.

Growing up I did not eat horribly, we actually ate pretty healthy. We were never allowed to have sugar, we did not eat red meats or pork, and we ate tons of brown rice and fiber; so where did I go wrong? Despite my parent’s good intentions I feel as though I didn't understand why I was eating so healthy. I ate what we had at the house and really didn't learn why these foods were optimal for my health. I was in college when I had my first hamburger and from there it was all downhill. Here are a few lessons I hope to pass on one day:

Don’t eat late. Eating late was a staple growing up; sometimes we would eat dinner at 9:30 PM. I didn't see anything wrong with it then, however as I aged I noticed I would wake up feeling horrible. I felt weighed down and my digestion was thrown off track. The more I learned, I realized that eating late and going right to bed is a sure fire way to pack on the pounds.

Eat color. While I developed a love of green vegetables as a child I still ate an abundance of meat. It wasn’t until I became an adult that I realized the importance of eating a variety of vegetables and fruits to have an optimal diet. Eating color is now the source of my vitality.

Don’t’ have seconds. I always had seconds as a child. Thank God the food was very healthy. However, when I was in college (and my diet disintegrated) I continued that bad habit of over eating. I really didn’t know what a healthy portion looked like. Instilling portion control in children at an early age helps to build a healthy relationship with food.

Eat Breakfast. Breakfast was never a huge deal growing up. Especially when I got to high school I always remember skipping breakfast. Breakfast is so essential. It kick starts my day and it sets the tone for the healthy eating.

What types of eating habits do you wish you had learned? What lessons have helped you stay fit? What will you teach your children? Share your thoughts and comments.