There are so many fabulous bloggers out there, and we want to highlight them on Cityline.ca. We’ll be profiling different lifestyle bloggers from month to month — they might write about food, fashion, beauty, décor, parenting, entertaining, gardening, you get the idea! For April 2015, we’re putting the spotlight on Raising Healthy Kids. Run by Deb, we love her emphasis on healthy and active living, an idea she’s instilled in her children from a very young age. Find out how she makes health a priority in our Q&A with Deb:
When did you start Raising Healthy Kids?
I have been writing since high school — a regular contributor to our local newspaper, a few front page stories and regular High School Beat column and thought I would be a journalist, but investigative reporting was not really my thing. After completing my 1st year of journalism school, I changed my university major and gave up on writing as a career. Fast forward 20 years, 3 kids and a successful career in the private sector and I have finally come full circle to writing again. I created Raising Healthy Kids in March 2014 after 4 years of writing and creating healthy family content for the company my husband founded, Life Science Nutritionals.
I started blogging as a way to share our healthy lifestyle, to provide readers with quick and easy tips for healthy meals, overnight oatmeal for fast breakfasts and tell how I organized school lunch making so the kids could do it all themselves. It has become our personal story of how we continue to stay active as a family as the kids keep getting older. Now that the girls are tweens, it is interesting to see how my role has changed. I don’t just feed them healthy meals or take them to the park, I educate them on better food choices, teach them to cook and encourage them as they join school volleyball teams and cross-country run clubs.
Ever since your children were very young, you’ve encouraged them to embrace a healthy and active lifestyle. Why was this so important for you to instill in your children at a young age?
I was fortunate to have parents that encouraged family activity growing up. From the age of 10 I can remember being in my basement and having pull-up competitions with my brother, going for family jogs around the neighbourhood and making a game of who could do more sit-ups. Our family spent Sunday mornings hiking through local trails, we skied, skated, played soccer, did gymnastics and I took enough swimming lessons that I eventually became a lifeguard. By 15 I was a runner. I have run countless 21km half-marathons and even completed a 70.3 half-Ironman triathlon in 2013. Being active and outdoors was a part of my childhood and it carried over into my adult life. I want that for my kids. I want them to grow up strong physically because I believe that will give them confidence and encourage a lifetime of active living. My husband and I started them early, we crossed a finish line of a half-marathon with each of our babies in a jogging stroller when they were each 8 months old. But it doesn’t have to be to that degree! Just going to the park, learning to pay tennis together, or walking the dog through a local forest encourages the whole family to be active.
We don’t have a scale in our house. With 3 daughters, I want them to have a relationship with fitness, not weight. We don’t use words like fat or diet. We discuss nutrition, we discuss the benefits of real food vs. processed, we find ways to make brownies healthy and include oats in our chocolate chip cookies.
I have taught them to run at a young age and now at 9, 11, 13 they all want to train for a 10km race this spring. They have completed more triathlons than I can remember, all 3 are accomplished skiers, they rock climb, they hike. My oldest is taking her Bronze Medallion, my middle is an excellent gymnast and my youngest cannot dance enough.
Do it together. We discuss and prepare food together. We stay active together. Eating healthy and being active is for all ages! We love ice cream and birthday cakes, but make school snacks with oats and flax, we love pizza and mac ‘n’ cheese but add veggies to the sauce, and we use every holiday as an opportunity to be active together. Birthday parties at the skating rink or pool, Mother’s Day we ride our bikes 15km along the water to get ice cream, Father’s Day we go rock climbing or roller skating, Easter and Thanksgiving we go hiking and geocaching. The whole family has bikes, not just the kids. We have snow pants to get outside in winter to hike and build forts. We go to the local pool to swim laps so we can keep up with the kids as they progress through swimming lessons. We get out on the water and learn to paddle board with them, we did our first triathlon as adults in our 40s after we realized our kids were loving the sport and had each done 10 triathlons, and we had yet to try even one!
For the record, we also LOVE our family Sunday nights on the couch watching Survivor and The Amazing Race together with a giant bowl of popcorn. We do know how to slow down and do nothing, but it is usually after a full day outdoors doing something fun!
Tell us about a post that you’re particularly proud of and want to share with Cityline.ca readers.
My favourite post by far as a mom, is this one: Raising Runners – When Your Kids Make You Crazy Proud. We never force our kids to participate in organized events like races. They have done it since they were very young and honestly have grown to enjoy them. But this race was different. It was their first 5km race alone — without mom or dad — and it was POURING rain. What they accomplished and just the fact that they even did it, still brings tears to my eyes. They did this one for them, not me. They understand the journey and the joy of fitness, of setting and reaching goals and feeling proud of themselves. I could not ask for more.
That eating real food and staying active as a family is not difficult. It’s not expensive, it doesn’t require fancy recipes or tons of time. We are a busy family. We built a large company, working full time while raising our daughters and still made time to make quick healthy meals and be active as a family. You can feed a family fast and not rely on processed food, you can teach kids to make their own lunches without packaged snacks, kids can still enjoy their favourite mac ‘n’ cheese, pancakes and brownies if you tweak the recipe a little to make it healthier. And parents can learn a few new skills like rock climbing and paddle board yoga if you are willing to get out there and have fun with the kids.
What are some other blogs you love reading?
I currently have a blog on YummyMummyClub.ca called Family On the Run and I LOVE being a part of that community. The amount of diverse writers, blogging about everything from family to fashion, from food to fitness, is a wealth of knowledge! The business side of me likes to follow websites like Momeomagazine.com and for health and fitness I love Health Your Way Online Magazine.
What’s your top advice for other bloggers?
Blog, write, tweet, Instagram, and pin what is important to you. Your audience will find you. I have heard many times over that people love the fact that we live what we write. My blog really is about my family and our life. We really do spend all day every weekend outdoors in the winter and spend all summer in pools, lakes and riding our bikes or running. We really do put squash in our mac ‘n’ cheese and the kids pack spinach brownies for school lunch.
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