Jill Krause doesn't like to get complicated when it comes to health. You won't find this busy mom planning vegan menus or toting her little ones to kiddie pilates. The Krause family prefers a more simple formula: lots of fruits and veggies and frequent jogs to the park with Dad. The Baby Rabies blogger shares why she always has black beans on hand, why she's willing to splurge on trendy apple sauce pouches, and why she wants her kids to know that mom cares about being healthy.
Tell us about your family.
I'm the mother of a 4 year old boy Kendall and a 19 month old girl Leyna. I'm married to my college sweetheart Scott (MIZZOU!). We currently live in a suburb of Dallas.
How health-conscious are you and/or your family?
We try our very best to do all things in moderation, and to put an emphasis on living a healthy lifestyle. My husband and I both run, though he's putting in a lot more miles than I am these days. We also try to do everything within our power and the limitations of our bank account to eat and provide our kids with organic, local, sustainable food. We don't talk a whole lot about these issues yet, but I have to think the examples we're setting are already making an impact on the kids. They both are addicted to fruit and even some vegetables, and they love to run after us and stay active.
What rules do you have in your house about junk food and/or exercise?
Again, we really focus on moderation. I don't know that we have any hard and fast rules other than the obvious "no spoons of sugar for breakfast." We try not to keep junk food or soda in the house, but on the rare occasions it's around, our oldest knows he has to ask us first before having any. Then we usually make the call based on what he's had to eat that day and if he's had any other unhealthy treats. As for exercise, again, we just try to lead by example. My husband is WONDERFUL about taking the kids to the park or on jogs so I can get some work done. I do my best to join them when I can so they know mom cares about being healthy, too.
How do you teach kids about nutrition/exercise/encourage healthy habits without being too pushy? Explain this balance.
We're at the basic level right now. We explain to our 4-year-old why the right foods, getting lots of sleep, and getting exercise are important to grow "big muscles like daddy's." I think it's important to always focus on the feel-good effect of living a healthy lifestyle versus the look-good effect.
What are some creative ways you get your kids moving? How do you make being healthy fun for them and you? Share your ideas!
We are big fans of the Nintendo Wii, especially on super hot days here in Texas. Sometimes it's really not possible to get the kids out of the house to run and play, especially when it's 105 degrees outside. So we like to play Wii Sports or Just Dance- games that get us up and moving in the comfort of our air conditioned living room.
Deep down, do you think people teach healthy habits for health reasons or out of fear their kids might gain weight?
For me, deep down, it's a combination of both. The weight issue isn't so much about them being "fat" though, as it is about overweight children being unhealthy. I will, of course, love my children no matter what size or shape they are, but I certainly don't want to set my kids up for a lifetime of health issues by not doing everything I can to keep them from becoming one of the 30% of children who are now overweight in this country.
How do you protect your kids against body image concerns?
I really don't know. It's something I'm going to have to figure out as I go, I guess. For now, I try to make a conscious effort to not talk badly about my body in front of them. As the kids get older, especially my daughter, it will be important for us to have conversations about what is and isn't real in the media.
How can you compete with the super cool Cheetos Cheetah or the all-about-the-fun Kool Aid guy? Is it a struggle to make your kids eat healthy foods?
Basically, we don't buy them. Or we try not to buy them. We don't get excited about things like that at the store, and instead try to show our enthusiasm over healthier alternatives. I've had to make some small sacrifices, of course. My kids love the applesauce squeeze pouches. I'm not a huge fan of the extra packaging, but they're 10x more likely to eat the apple sauce from a pouch over apple sauce from a jar. So if I can get them excited about apple sauce (even in a pouch) and pass up the Cheetos, I'll consider that a win.
Do you believe in sneaking healthy foods into your kids' meals? If so, what have been your trickiest or most successful attempts?
You know, I'm just too lazy to try. Our meals are mostly pretty simple and straightforward. I find the most effective way to get kids to eat healthy is to keep exposing them to what it is you want them to eat.
Healthy meals are pricey and can take longer to prepare. How do you manage to eat healthy on a budget and in a time crunch? Can you share any tips, tricks or recipes?
It really is a struggle sometimes. When we're in a crunch, we pretty much always have the stuff on hand to make black bean tacos with fresh toppings or a platter with fruit, cheese and boiled eggs. Those are our go-to dinners.
What's the best tip you could give another parent about how to raise a healthy family?
Don't overcomplicate it! It's not about living with rigid rules and constantly saying no. Do and enjoy all things in moderation, and never be afraid to change and get better.
Jill Krause is a self-described dork and mother to a rambunctious 4-year-old boy and joyful baby girl. On her blog Baby Rabies, Jill writes honestly about parenthood, green living, and those moments in life that she has to laugh at or just cry into a bottle of wine. Find Jill on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.
See how other families stay healthy in our Care.com Interview Series: Raising Healthy Kids Without the Backlash »
Photo used with permission from Jill Krause.
* This article is for general informational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be providing medical advice and is not a substitute for such advice. The reader should always consult a health care provider concerning any medical condition or treatment plan. Neither Care.com nor the author assumes any responsibility or liability with respect to use of any information contained herein.