How to Start Your Kids on a Healthy Wellness Routine [Episode #552]
This week’s topic is: How to Start Your Kids on a Healthy Wellness Routine
How to start your kids on a healthy wellness routine is an interesting topic. It’s a potentially tricky topic for many of us, because we may be into wellness, nourishment, picking the best ingredients, but our little ones are in a completely different mind space.
They’re so present with what’s in front of them from the colors, the characters and the flavors, that trying to convince them that kale is what they should fill their belly with instead of a cookie, may be a little bit tricky for them to understand.
My oldest son, Bubby now is four and a half, and we’re definitely starting to go through some of this. He tantrums a bit now and he stamps his feet, and he’s had a taste of vegan cookies and he likes them, and he’s starting to try to be independent.
I definitely have some tips to share with you that have worked for our family, and some things that I have utilized with clients in the past that also have kids and are looking to transition as they have transitioned their lifestyle as well.
Have you been wondering about this very topic? If you want to know the answer to this question and 3 more sent in by Beauties just like you, listen now to find out!
I’m so overwhelmed with where to start my twelve year old. It’s one thing to start them early on when they really don’t have a choice. Now, my son does have a mind (belly) of his own and it’s difficult to get him to try healthier versions of foods he loves, like mac n cheese and ice cream. Help!
Stace – FL
Do you have any tips on how to move my kiddos from cereal to a healthier morning routine? I would love for them to get in more veggies and fruits but not certain they will drink the GGS?
Fran – Oregon
How can I help my kids transition from packaged snacks to wholesome, live foods? Any suggestions for easy healthy snacks that taste good?
Rylee – Montana
Wondering what your plans are for when your kids have a voice on how they would like to eat? I’m trying to figure out how to stress how important it is to live a healthier lifestyle using all your cornerstones, with my 8 and 9 year olds?
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Kimberly: Hey Beauties, and welcome back to our Thursday Q & A Podcast, our community show, where our topic today is How to Start Your Kids on a Healthy Wellness Routine. This is a great topic, an interesting topic, a potentially tricky topic for many of us, because as we all know, we may be into wellness, and nourishment, and picking the best ingredients, but our little ones are in a completely different mind space. They’re just so present with what’s in front of them, and the colors, and the characters, and the flavors, that trying to convince them that kale is what they should fill their belly with instead of a cookie, may be a little bit tricky, shall we say, for them to understand.
Kimberly: I will say, that my oldest son, Bubby now is four and a half, and we’re definitely starting to go through some of this, where he tantrums a bit now and he stamps his feet, and he’s had a taste of vegan cookies and he likes them, and he’s starting to try to be independent. So, I definitely have some tips to share with you today, some things that have worked for our family, and some things that I have utilized with some clients in the past that also have kids and are looking to transition as they have transitioned their lifestyle as well.
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Kimberly: All right, all that being said, let’s get into our topic today, starting your kids on a healthy wellness routine. First of all, I just want to kick this off by saying that no matter how you’ve raised your kids up until this point, if you’ve had a shift, if you’ve read one of the Beauty Detox books, or Radical Beauty, or Perfectly Imperfect, or you just somehow had some kind of epiphany, shift, and you decided to shift, please do not feel guilty for anything that you may have done in the past. Number one, we can’t go back, number two, we’re all on this pathway, so we’re all moving, and growing, and looking to go forward. Guilt is just adding this negative twist into things that doesn’t make anything better. It doesn’t make your kids healthier, it certainly doesn’t help anything. I encourage you to please, please not feel guilty and to beat yourself up about certain choices, or things you bought, or things you’ve fed them in the past. Just know that the page is turned, every day’s a new day, so we can start going forward now, no matter what’s happened.
Question #1 around the topic of: How to Start Your Kids on a Healthy Wellness Routine: I’m so overwhelmed with where to start with my twelve-year-old. It’s one thing to start them early when they don’t have a choice, but now my son has a mind and a belly of his own, and it’s difficult to get him to eat healthier versions of foods he loves like mac and cheese and ice cream, help.
Kimberly: Our first question now comes from Wendy, who lives in Louisiana, and she writes, “I’m so overwhelmed with where to start with my twelve-year-old. It’s one thing to start them early when they don’t have a choice, but now my son has a mind and a belly of his own, and it’s difficult to get him to eat healthier versions of foods he loves like mac and cheese and ice cream, help.”
Kimberly: Wendy, my heart goes out to you. I send you such a huge hug, and lots and lots of love. I know the frustration of this. I have been eating plant-based lasagna, as an example, for a long time, and I have been making it for clients for a long time. Everybody absolutely loves it, but I made it for one big celebrity, who shall remain unnamed, and her kids are used to, they have a private chef, besides when I was working with them, they probably fly in private jets, and they probably eat the best food ever. But I still think our vegan lasagna is really good, and they had it, and they were just like, oh, this is gross. This doesn’t taste like the cheese we usually have. I did use gluten-free pasta and they just thought it was disgusting. Everybody else I know has loved it except for these kids. They were probably about your son’s age. They were I think 11 and 14 or something like that. Then she has a younger one.
Kimberly: Anyways, I get it. I think it can be really, really tricky with kids. I think that it’s, first of all, starting with a place of not pushing an offering, so they don’t feel like they’re being backed into a corner. It can take up to 15 times to keep offering them a new food for them to accept it. This is according to Dr. Joel Fuhrman, who has a really good book on this subject called, How to Disease Proof Your Child. He talks about with his kids, they did start from start, because Dr. Fuhrman has been living this life for a while. He’s vegan plant-based and his kids have all been plant-based. But he’s suggested, and again, I don’t know if this can work at this time, but he just sits down, he says, and he talks to his kids, heart to heart, face to face, about why he wants them eating this way, so they understand that there’s reasoning behind it instead of just dictation, like I’m going to have you eat this and that’s it.
Kimberly: He explains to his kids, the reason we eat this, is because I don’t want you to get sick, and you’ll feel better, and you’ll have more energy to play soccer, and you’ll feel better, you’ll sleep better. So, it’s really important to mama that you eat this way, not just because I want you to eat this food, but because it’s been shown to be better for your body. When you’re, when things are better for your body, everything just works better in your life, however you want to explain it to your child.
Kimberly: Even if they brush it off, I think it is important to explain to them. I do explain that to Bubby at four years old, this is why we do this. It just feels like we’re sharing with them why, and they can understand some of that. I just think it feels better, this kind of communication, where we’re not trying to be the parent that dictates, but we’re trying to be a collaborative parent, a loving parent, is very important.
Kimberly: Next, I will say, healthier versions of the foods he likes, there are some amazing versions out there. For instance, the Miyoko’s butter. I’ve heard non-vegan say it’s just the best butter in the world. Some of the cheeses that are coming out are really, really great. If you play with some of the vegan ice creams, even like the Ben and Jerry’s versions are really good. Again, it just depends on the personality of your child. I have done this with clients. I’ve swapped out, again, let’s say the vegan ice cream and told them afterwards. I’d been like, hey, you didn’t even realize, but that was cashew based ice cream, or whatever. Then they were like, oh, and they were excited. It also gave them the opportunity to not close down, but to remain open-minded. I don’t know if that is something that may work with the personality of your son, or maybe he may feel duped and not like it, but that’s something you could try as well.
Kimberly: Another thing is too, if he’s not liking some of the full substitutions, let’s say you make pasta, but it’s not necessarily gluten-free, but maybe you leave off the cheese and you just make a delicious marinara. I just think you have to play with it a little bit, Wendy, as well, as far as the healthiness part. I think that kids should, this is my personal opinion, I think it’s really great when they learn to like roasted carrots. Maybe you start with the yummy things like roasted carrots with the Miyoko’s butter or coconut oil, something that is very familiar. Then over time, you can start introducing the broccoli, the broccolini, whatever. It can be a very slow process. I have had to go through this, even though they’re adults, with many clients. Eight months, sometimes it’s taken me, or sometimes a year or more, to get a client to have broccoli rabe, to have zucchini, just to have greens in general.
Kimberly: Another thing though, is I personally, there’s a school of parenting, I say this without judgment, because I think it’s whatever works, but where they sneak vegetables into things. I have had clients, again, I can’t help but talk about this because I’ve been on the other side where I’m dealing with adult clients, and they’re like, oh yeah, my mom would sneak peas in and this, then they did feel duped. Number two, they didn’t really like vegetables more because it was this whole under handed thing. So, that may work for some parents. Listen, I’m not dogging it in any way, but for me, I like everything upfront. I just want to explain to my kid, hey, sure, right now. I explained this to Bubby, maybe the cookie may taste good in this moment, but if I put this delicious cashew sauce on this kale, it’s going to taste really good. This is what we’re having for dinner, period.
Kimberly: As Dr. Fuhrman points out in this book, it’s also really important to just not keep the junk at home. If I get cookies, I get individual cookies that are wrapped because we’ve gotten in wars if there is a bag or a box of cookies and Bubby wants a second one or a third one sometimes. I just say, no, no, no, and he throws a tantrum. It creates more issues.
Kimberly: Now, we’re talking about a four year old here, not a 12 year old, but I’ve just found it, you can’t control when they go to their friend’s house, of course. You can’t control when they’re out, but at home, which is where a lot of kids are a lot of the time, you can just have these healthier foods and you can keep searching for brands and items that your son may like. We don’t have it all the time, but Bubby loves the diet cheese. He feels like it’s a treat. So, we have that sometimes. Some of his best friends, like his friend, Jude, is a full omnivore and he doesn’t complain, Oh, Jude gets eat this because he has some really, really tasty things he loves. Bubby also likes Beyond Burger sometimes. So, I try to give him exposure to a wide array.
Kimberly: Some of the substitutions may work, some may not work for you, Wendy. Like I said, some yummy vegetables to be upfront. If he’s willing to try, you can add different sauces and plant-based pesto’s. Like I said, cheesiness, like from cashews, you just keep trying and keep offering, because that’s all you can do as a loving, amazing mama that I’m sure you are Wendy.
Kimberly: Again, it may take 15 times, 30 times, it probably took 30 times for me to start liking avocados, but it does take time some patients and it takes love. It also takes acceptance. When he’s older and maybe a little bit easier, and maybe this is a rough patch, but I have found that the parents that keep offering, keep it in the house, and they’re your kids see you eating it as well, over time, hopefully he will be more open to it. Thank you so much, Wendy, for your question. There was a lot in there, so I hope there’s some nuggets you can try, and do check out that book again. It’s called How to Disease Proof your Child, by Dr. Joel Fuhrman.
Question #2 around the topic of: How to Start Your Kids on a Healthy Wellness Routine: Do you have any tips on how to move my kiddos from cereal to a healthier morning routine? I would love for them to get into more veggies and fruits, but I’m not certain they will drink the GGS.
Kimberly: All right, next question comes from Stace, who lives in Florida. She writes, do you have any tips on how to move my kiddos from cereal to a healthier morning routine? I would love for them to get into more veggies and fruits, but I’m not certain they will drink the GGS. I think a great transition is, cereal is cold, can have gluten and sugar, it’s what a lot of us were raised on. Again, there’s no judgment in any of this, but I wonder if they would be open to warm oatmeal.
Kimberly: You could start to put in some goji berries. It’s not perfect food combining, but I think that it’s okay in this case with children, and to start introducing, you could put blueberries, bananas are okay food combining, because bananas are a low non watery fruit, starts your fruit digests slower. So, sliced banana, some other berries or fruit in oatmeal would be a fantastic transition because they’re eating it with a spoon, so it’s kind of has the feel of cereal, but it’s nice and warm. You can put cinnamon on top, you could put a little bit of coconut sugar, so it’s really, really tasty. I think that can begin the transition.
Kimberly: I think by the time a little bit of time goes by, you can start offering the GGS if they’re open to it. You can make it with extra banana, you can throw in a date so it’s really, really yummy. You can offer that as well. But I would start with something like the oatmeal, which is, in many ways, easier and it’s more familiar because of the spoon.
Kimberly: All right, my loves, I love this topic. It’s really fun actually talking about our little ones and our kiddies. If you don’t have a child of your own, but you have nieces, nephews, neighbors, hopefully you’re having fun just listening to this, and maybe getting some ideas for your adult kids like your boyfriend, or your roommate, or your cousin who you love, but isn’t open to any sort of GGS at this moment. Like I said, it’s funny because we’re talking about this, but I think it does apply to adults, because I have used similar techniques with adult clients and children.
Kimberly: All right, we’ll be right back from our break. We’ll have two more questions for you guys on this topic. All right, my loves, my Beauties, we are back from our break. We have two more questions for you guys on this topic, how to start your kids on a healthy wellness routine.
Question #3 around the topic of: How to Start Your Kids on a Healthy Wellness Routine: How can I help my kids transition from packaged snacks to wholesome live food? Any suggestions for easy, healthy snacks, but taste good?
Kimberly: The first question comes from Fran, and she lives in Oregon. She writes, “How can I help my kids transition from packaged snacks to wholesome live food? Any suggestions for easy, healthy snacks, but taste good?” I love this question, Fran. There’s a couple of things here.
Kimberly: First, I would encourage you to have them be involved with the food gathering and the food making in ways that make sense for your family. What I mean by this is, at our juice shop, which used to be called Globial. It was on Melrose and then it moved into the Four Seasons. So, it’s the Solluna Juice Bar now. But my first juice shop, which is called Globial, we used to have this program with local preschools, and up to 72 kids would come at a time into the juice shop. They would go into our courtyard and we would teach them how to make almond milk. They were astounded. The look on their faces, their mouth, some of them their jaws would drop open. They had no idea that nuts could be used to make milk. A lot of them were so interested in trying it, and then we made smoothies with it and they loved it.
Kimberly: I think if you could get their little hands in there and teach them about almond milk. Or even if you have an herb garden, or if you have space for a planter box or veggie garden, this has made a really big difference with Bubby, going down, not every day, but a couple of times a week, because we plant together, and showing them how the greens grow. Then we pick them. He loves it, he’ll just sit there and he’ll eat the lettuces right there. Then we pick the greens and we say, this is going into the GGS.
Kimberly: I think including them in the process is really powerful. If you could take him to the grocery store right now, depending how old they are, and put a little mask on him or her, Bubby does wear a mask, and you could show them. They can help pick out, what fruit do you think looks good to you right now? Let them start to choose. They may go for the oranges, or the beautiful red strawberries, or the yellow bananas, kids love color. They love to feel that they have some dominion, some ability to choose. I think if you let them get involved, that’s a huge, huge thing.
Kimberly: Number two, like I was saying earlier, I think it depends on the personality of your family, how old your kids are, how far down you’ve gone. It could be cold turkey, or it could be a transition. Where cold turkey, you just say to your kids, hey, you know what? As a family we’re getting healthy and mama’s not buying the junk anymore. Or it could be a transition, again, it depends on the personality of the kids and the parents, where you start to bring in some healthier options and you start to put out veggie sticks and make things accessible. So, here’s hummus and veggie sticks on the table. Here’s cut up apples, here’s some guacamole and carrot sticks, whatever it is, so you can have that offered. Then some of the other stuff is still there.
Kimberly: Hopefully, you help them start to get more filled up with the stuff that’s really accessible. You put it out, and before you know it, they’re snacking on things. You put it next to them while they’re doing their homework on their iPads, or again, it depends on their age, but I think that you can just start as a parent deciding as the mother, we’re not going to keep this in our home. Again, you could communicate that to your child, but it becomes a very conscious intention. You could explain to them, why as a family, but this is where consistency comes in, because you don’t want to tell your kid to stop having potato chips all day and you’re continuing to have the potato chips, or whatever.
Kimberly: I think that leading by example, communication, deciding is it a transition away from these foods or am I not comfortable with that? Am I going to keep some around for awhile, or cold Turkey? To get them involved and to make some really, really kick-ass delicious foods, that they’ll think, oh my gosh. There is an amazing recipe section in Recipes for your Perfectly Imperfect Life, I should’ve mentioned that earlier. There’s a whole kids section and there’s the goji berry bars, there are these little food bars that you can make. There are these incredible spinach balls, and they’ve got almonds in them, but they’re delicious, and they’re cooked. Bubby loves them. There’s so many great recipes in there. I think you could check those out if you’re into cooking.
Kimberly: Healthy snacks that you buy, I would check out, right now there’s so much innovation in food that I am very impressed. There’s the seaweed snacks that a lot of kids like, some are healthier than others, but just check, make sure they’re organic, some are oilier than others. So, sometimes you may have to try a couple of brands. I’m a big fan, again, depending on the age of your kids, but nuts, nut mixes, trail mixes are also really great if they’re old enough it’s not a choking hazard anymore, of course. There’s all sorts of amazing things that they’re doing now with ingredients like cauliflower and chickpea. If you’re transitioning your child away from even, it’s packaged still, but it’s a better transition from potato chips, there’s lentil based chips. There’s things like that.
Kimberly: Then also, healthy snacks are, we make wraps all the time, so I just heat up Brown rice wraps or teff wraps. I put Kite Hill cream cheese, which is almond milk based, and it’s delicious. Bubby loves it. I just cut it up into little pizza squares and we put them in a baggie or in a Tupperware. We take them to the park, we take them outside for picnics. It’s a great, great, great snack on the go. Bubby is really into veggie sticks now. It’s amazing, he just goes into the fridge and he pulls out carrots and celery. The crunch I find is really satisfying for him.
Kimberly: I would just also investigate which textures your kids really like. If they’re into things like soft and smushy, like butters, try almond butter, putting it on the celery with goji berries or raisins. If they’re really into the crunch, try giving them all those veggies, and even there’s these new mushroom chips that came out that we tried that were actually really good. Then of course the trail mixes. Bubby does really well with sourdough bread. The wraps we really like, we make very simple pizza with those wraps and then just a marinara sauce. Basil, sliced up tomato sometimes, and either a cashew based cheese, like the Miyoko’s cheese, or even sometimes the diet cheese, which isn’t as clean, it has vegetable oil, but it’s more of a treat. It’s not something you would want to have every day, but it’s certainly a lot better than regular dairy.
Kimberly: Those are some of my ideas, Fran, and maybe we’ll do a whole blog one day linking to different products that are approved. I also think healthy granolas can be really great for kids that they can pick up and eat in their hands. But again, please check out the recipes from Perfectly Imperfect, especially the little veggie burgers, they’re quinoa and sweet potato based, and Bubby would just eat those all the time.
Question #4 around the topic of: How to Start Your Kids on a Healthy Wellness Routine: I’m wondering what your plans are for when your kids have a voice on how they would like to eat? I’m trying to figure out how to stress, how important it is to live a healthier lifestyle using all your cornerstones with my eight and nine year olds.
Kimberly: Okay, last question comes from Rylee, who lives in Montana. She writes, “I’m wondering what your plans are for when your kids have a voice on how they would like to eat? I’m trying to figure out how to stress, how important it is to live a healthier lifestyle using all your cornerstones with my eight and nine year olds.” Riley, that is a great question. I have not had the chance to get there quite yet, but again, I’ll iterate that I have worked with many clients that have families and make this transition with their kids. I think it’s about communication, patience, acceptance, and respect. By the time they’re old enough to make decisions, they are fully formed little adults in a way. We are still their parents, but I think that the way we communicate, and the way we respect them is so important for their self-esteem and just so that they feel heard and validated, and they know that they’re worthy as they are.
Kimberly: We don’t want to trample on their burgeoning self-esteem, but at the same time we are parents and we do have to guide them. Again, it helps if you’re doing it earlier, so to speak. Any parents that are out there, remember that your children will watch you and they’ll lead by example. Bubby will meditate with me sometimes, and even if he’s like, eh, he gets up right away, he sees me meditating several times a day. That spiritual cornerstone is a big part of our house. We have a gratitude practice that we do as a family every night at dinner. We walk, we play outside so many hours a day. We talk about the sunshine and how healthy it is. So, I think by the time they’re older, there may be resistance, especially in the early tweens, teenage years, they may rebel. But I think that somewhere in their brains and their consciousness, the guidance is being registered.
Kimberly: It’s so important that as parents, we voice our opinions and we talk about the lifestyle that we’ve chosen and the reason that we’re doing that. I think a lot of families don’t really have those conversations with kids. It’s more just this dictating, this is what you’re going to eat. It’s good for you. But instead, if we get down to their level, and I always sit on the floor so I’m near Bubby’s height, and I speak from my heart, hey, the reason we’re doing this is because it helps us sleep better, and feel better, and have energy. We can play more, and do all these things. It’s from a really loving place. Again, even if they rebel, even if it seems like they’re not listening, I do believe it is being registered. We just have to hold our space.
Kimberly: Like Dr. Fuhrman teaches us, going back and offering a food 15 times. The patience that’s needed for that! One thing about being a parent is patience, I think, is something that we all have to dig it and cultivate more and more from, because our little ones will challenge us, won’t they? They will give us a run for our money. We want to really just be patient. We want to accept where they are right now, but we keep offering, we keep sharing about why we’re doing the things that we’re doing. We have the healthy food in the house, we have great alternatives, we have a whole spectrum of snack foods that are hopefully healthier, all the way to just the kale salads, and the delicious GGS, and their version of power protein smoothie. Again, we just don’t keep the junk around.
Kimberly: That sounded harsh when I first read this book. I read that book before I had children. But when Fuhrman says, don’t keep the junk around and eventually they will get hungry and they will have to eat. Bubby has tried to dig in and said to me once, I’m not going to eat anything unless you let me have another cookie. So, it was this battle of wills a little bit, but I didn’t give in and eventually Bubby did get hungry. Guess what? He was hungry and he starts going into the fridge and having his favorite healthy food, which happens to be apples. Then he just started letting go a little bit. I think it’s like the way they push at bedtime, and push, or at least Bubby does and wants to stay up later, and we stay firm. Eventually, that becomes something that they mold around.
Kimberly: With food, I think when Bubby is older, he will have the choice. He will decide if he wants to remain plant-based or not. Maybe he doesn’t want to, but all we can do is provide that foundation, do our best, lead by example, keep our house the best it can be. I think if we let go a little bit and give ourselves a break, and this is really important, be compassionate as mothers and not beat ourselves up if our kid eats junk some of the time and they don’t like our healthy cooking, that’s the way it is. I think if we back down a little bit and we have a more relaxed approach about it, I think the kids would actually come around even more in the first place too, because they have a little bit of space.
Kimberly: I also give Bubby choices. Granted, they’re all healthy, but he goes in, there’s a drawer in our fridge for apples. I did an Instagram video of this once if you want to check it out, there is a drawer for celery and there’s a drawer for carrots, so he has some liberty. He has some choices, even though they’re all healthy choices. Then lastly, I’ll say that we do allow for treats. It’s not all or nothing. Sometimes we do have cookies and we do have vegan ice cream. He likes vegan donuts. But like I said, I usually just get small amounts and we eat them there or on the spot, individual cookies, because it does cause a lot of problems for me when there’s more in the house. I’ll continue to share, and I’m sure this will continue to evolve as my kids get older. But right now, that’s what’s really working for us. I hope some of that is able to work for you too, Riley.
Thought of the Week
Kimberly: As we wrap up the show, I’m going to leave you guys with a quote of the week, which is something I’ve said for years. But I think it applies beautifully here as well, which is “Progress, not perfection.” Remember that we are doing our best. If your kid chooses to eat a banana one day and doesn’t have that cereal that he usually eats, that’s progress. Even if they eat not so well the other meals, you’re doing your best, you’re making steps, and that’s all you can do. I think also, just be assured that them seeing you change, and the positive changes in you from your diet or your lifestyle changes, is going to help support their wellbeing and their growth as well.
Kimberly: Love you guys so much. Thank you so much for tuning in. As always, I’m so grateful for you, I love you. Lots of love to all you mamas and papas out there, and future mamas or aunties out there, whoever’s listening to this show. I send you so much love, so much gratitude. We will be back here Monday for our next interview podcast. Until then, take great care. I’ll see you on Instagram. I’ll see you on our website. Be sure to check out the show notes at mysolluna.com because we have suggestions for other podcasts you may like and resources. So, head over there as well. See you soon, and again, so much love.