Nurture Through Nutrition

By Keegan Eichstadt
23 June, 2017

Hey, so I’m gonna be a dad woohoo !!! (cue – cute baby emoticon)
Soon there will be 3 of us occupying our humble little home and that means of course an extra mouth to feed. Needless to say, I am super stoked and can’t wait for this amazing journey of parenthood.
Seeing as my wife and I are both health care professionals (Lou is a speech therapist with a special interest in autistic children), we tend to approach our lives in much the same way we approach our work. Gather all info, assess the situation and make a diagnosis, make some sort of plan to fix the mess and then execute with super efficiency.
Yeah … that’s not gonna cut it with parenthood apparently. We just have to “dive in and enjoy the ride” as our parents have aptly put it. Although we have both read loads, and are planning on taking some fashionable anti-natal classes – heavy breathing and all – we are feeling very intimidated by the journey ahead. We are worried about the same things most first-time parents think about: are we going to be good parents, how to make sure our child grows up healthy and strong, how are we going to financially support a larger family while still giving them the same life opportunities our parents gave us etc. etc. But there is one particular issue that has been floating at the back of my mind … Childhood Nutrition.
We are a fairly fit and healthy couple, and this healthy lifestyle is really important to the both of us. With more and more people suffering from health issues as a result of many years of an unhealthy lifestyle, I am determined to make a difference through my expertise in health and nutrition. But most of all, I am disturbed by the impact of our unhealthy environment on the youth of today. 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 5 boys age 2-14 are overweight or obese and 2 in 5 do not participate in sufficient physical activity.

Now – I want to be a cool dad, I really do.
I want to let my kid live a happy, free and joyful life, especially when it comes to food and sport choices.
But … that means I will be up against a constant battle of sugary treats, unhealthy “happy meals” with seductive toys and the peer pressure of “just let them be kids and eat whatever they want”. I’m not a parent yet so it’s unfair for me to pass judgment of others who are managing their own personal battles every day to get through parenthood. But I’ve worked with kids as my patients and when it comes to the health of children, I do not tolerate any excuses when I am presented with an obese and inactive child who does not know any better because they have been forced into this life unknowingly by their guardians.

So, this is my plan:
1. Always encourage the healthy stuff first. Always.
2. Make food healthy and fun!
3. Never waver on the belief that good choices for my child early in life will give them longevity.
4. Throw the “cool-parent” card out the window. Cool was for my youth. Be the parent and make the hard choices even if you become unpopular.

Wish me luck.
Comment if you like … all opinions welcome.
I’ll keep you in the loop on how it pans out.