For those who do not know me, my name is Jennifer Paolucci, and I am a mom to one of our Napa children, Evelyn Paolucci. I am also a certified professional trainer and nutritionist, mom to another little sweetheart, and wife to an amazing Italian New Yorker. I am extremely driven, stubborn, passionate, practical, and persistent. The information I have shared in this blog is a compilation of decades of education and self-exploration and more than 15 years of professional health guidance. But honestly I’ve learned the most in the last 4 years from the most amazing teacher I could have ever asked for: my daughter, Evelyn. My goal for the exchanges I have with my clients, and here on this blog, is to paint a picture of how big of a role nutrition plays in yours and your children’s inner-most chemistry: how you think, how you move, how you grow. I wish to explain how poor nutrition will sabotage your children’s development, and how excellent nutrition may just be the key to unlocking their greatest potential.
As a certified personal trainer and nutritionist, one of the more popular questions I have gotten from parents throughout the years is, “How can I get my child to eat healthy foods?” or “How do I ensure my child doesn’t end up overweight like my older family members?”
I have a plethora of answers to questions like these, but my first response to questions like these, regardless of the predicament, is to “be your child’s role model.” This philosophy, in fact, is arguably the best approach to any value or characteristic you’d like to instill in your children. It is far more effective to model the behavior than it is to preach it.
As most of you know, children are little walking H-Spon sponges (I googled which is the most absorbent sponge!). Not only will they pick up expletives that accidentally fly out of your mouth when you stub your toe, they will also pick up your energy, your perspectives, your mannerisms, the way you speak to others, and your eating habits. Not to mention the fact that if you espouse a healthy household, with a kitchen full with healthy foods, there is very little room for your child to learn anything different.
Nurturing your baby with nutritious foods and continuing to do so as he or she grows into a toddler and then an adolescent, will set the stage for how their little bodies understand and use nutrition. As they start attending school and start going over to their friend’s houses, you will likely set up guidelines for what they can and cannot eat; this is your duty as a parent! However, they will most certainly explore the world of “junk” food at some point. Not to worry! Their bodies will inevitably reject a long-term relationship with anything outside of the framework of healthy nutrition they are being raised with.
If you ever find yourself engaged in a conversation with your children regarding food, try to avoid words such as “good” foods and “bad” foods. The dialogue should simply be based on identifying foods that are the healthiest choices for them because those foods will help them feel good and grow strong muscles and minds.
So when it comes to your child’s eating habits, although there may be many other issues intertwined into the scenario, the first place you will want to look is in the mirror.