It has been a while since I have written a blog, so I thought I would write a new one 🙂 Last semester I took a class called Nutrition Through the Lifecycle, in this class I learned about the dietary needs for each stage of life. We started with preconception and the important nutrients a woman and man need in order to have a successful pregnancy and then how to keep a healthy pregnancy. We touched on breastfeeding and I learned SO MUCH about breastmilk I had no idea it was so complex and how truly amazing it really is. We went on to toddlers and preschool age kids, then children and preadolescents. Next we learned about adolescents, middle aged adults, and senior citizens. I found this class to be very interesting and beneficial because each stage of life is important to development and growth of our bodies, in the beginning stages, as well as maintenance when we are in the later stages. I have found it to be so important to keep a healthy life style throughout all stages of life, one of the first things you learn in the beginning of the nutrition program is that a healthy life style throughout your entire life is what helps you live longer and to be able to function at the best ability that you can for as long as you can. Simple choices each day can have a great impact in the years to come.
Something so crucial that I learned is how early on we learn our nutritional habits and who we learn them from. From such a young age we learn by the example of our parents. They are the ones who provide the food and feed us when we cannot feed ourselves. Their preferences become our preferences, if a variety of foods are not introduced, then that child is less likely to have a diet with variance in it. If a child has obese parents then that child will take on the same eating habits and will most likely end up overweight or obese as well. These children have a harder time breaking out of the struggle of being overweight because they literally have no idea how to eat better or how break the cycle they have been taught for so long. This will continue into adulthood and probably onto the rest of their life. As a infant/toddler (6 mo. or older) it is important for a new food to be introduced each week so they increase their interests in new foods and tastes. An interesting fact I learned is that we are born naturally loving sweet and salty foods, so from a young age we will already have the cravings for these types of foods. This makes it important to introduce naturally sweet food so the child won’t become addicted to the wrong types of sugar.
As we move into the older ages, when we start to become more independent and hang out with peers more, our preferences are now more related to our older siblings and friends. This is when fast foods starts coming into play more often if the parent has not already made it a staple in the kids life. Kids and teenagers will start hanging out after school with their friends, and this usually means going and getting food like McDonalds and Taco Bell a few times a week. Teenagers look to social media and follow what is in trend even if it is not healthy for them and those who are still in elementary and middle school-TV commercials become extremely important and why the marketing industry spends so much money on these adds. Kids from a young age are conditioned to want foods that are highly processed, high in sugars and fats, as well as fast food because it is what’s familiar to them from the commercials are watching and where their friends go to eat.
The moral of this blog is basically, your eating habits start at such a young age and are influenced by so many people and a lot of marketing which can make it so much harder to stay on track when you want to have a healthier diet. Don’t be discouraged! There are plenty of people you can follow on social media who are fitness and health influencers who can help you stay motivated by seeing how and what they are doing that helps. Social media does not have to be a bad place, you can find a lot of helpful tools and tips, just make sure the people you are following for advice are certified in nutrition or personal training and not just being sponsored to earn money. Something else I am learning in a current class is how many celebrations we associate food with. We constantly have holidays where we use it as an excuse to pig out (~2.5 holidays/celebrations a month). In these situations it is okay to eat the food that is there that may not be the healthiest, just control the amount of food you eat. It’s all about portion control! Enjoy the food and family time, just think about balance and moderation.
This blog kind of had a little bit of everything but thanks for following along! And thanks dad for reminding me I have not written one of these in a while, I will try better!
Thanks for reading,