Healthy Moms Raising Healthy Kids
An interview with Liane Weintraub and Shannon Swanson, busy moms and owners of Tasty Brand.
In honor of May being Women’s Health Month, as well as the home of Mothers Day, we thought it would be fun to interview a mom for our monthly Q&A. We immediately thought of our friends Liane and Shannon, who created Tasty Brand. These two run a dynamic and delicious business, are fabulous and active moms, and have a whole lot of fun no matter where they are or what they’re doing. Here are their perspectives on raising kids that eat their veggies, while trying to find time for themselves.
Willow & Stephanie: You two create delicious, natural products that kids love, via your company Tasty Brand. Any tips for parents who have kids who aren’t so excited about eating their veggies (or fruit…or whole grains…)?
Liane & Shannan: We definitely recognize that some kids simply “refuse” to eat certain things, and that everyone – including little children – has a palate of their own. That said, every child should enjoy a wide array of fruit, veggies, and whole grains, and it’s up to parents to make sure that happens. Here are our best tips for making healthy foods a part of their kids’ diets:
1. Walk the walk (don’t just talk the talk!) If you want your children to eat a healthy and varied diet, you have to model the same eating habits yourself! When children see that the rest of their family enjoys eating a certain way, it becomes a part of their home “culture,” so to speak, and these foods can become a part of their lives forever.
2. Don’t make veggies the “punishment” and junk food the “reward.” It sets up a dangerous dynamic to tell a child that if he eats his broccoli, he’ll get a cookie. That kind of thinking casts veggies as something “bad” that has to be tolerated in order to get something “good.”
3. Teach your kids what different food groups do for their bodies and minds – the positive benefits of healthy choices like running faster, jumping higher, and having energy to play are pretty convincing.
W&S: What is one challenge to eating healthfully that you face most often? How do you overcome it?
L&S: One of the biggest obstacles we encounter comes in the form of messages that reach kids through TV or other media. Needless to say, most children are easily influenced by fun, friendly-sounding, cartoonish commercials and other advertising materials that are pushing less-than-healthy foods. No doubt this is a smart way for companies to enlist kids in getting parents to purchase their products. A passionate cry of “I want that day-glo pink breakfast cereal, Mommy! Pleeeeease!!!” can be tough to ignore, but if you explain to children that a lot of companies use commercials featuring cute and cuddly characters etc. to get kids to beg for products that are not always good for them, it often works! If children think that someone may be trying to manipulate them, they will be less susceptible.
W&S: The two of you are great friends and seem to have so much fun together! How much do you think close girlfriends positively (or negatively) affect your healthy eating and exercise choices?
L&S: Luckily, we are both pretty health-minded, so we tend to approach food and exercise in a similar way. If you go out to eat with us, chances are we’ll order the exact same thing!
W&S: As moms, you offer so much support and encouragement to your families. Who are your greatest sources of support and encouragement?
It is reciprocal! Our families are incredibly supportive of us and the company we are building. Because our business was inspired by our children, they are always part of our story and they motivate us daily. Seeing how proud they are of our products (they’re especially excited about our new iPhone/iPad game app), really boosts our commitment. My daughter says she wants to grow up and work at Tasty Brand – what could be more encouraging to a working mom than that?!
W&S: As moms of daughters, what advice would you give to your daughters regarding healthy eating, exercise, and finding time for self-care?
L&S: Again, it really comes down to walking the walk. If girls are raised in an environment that is positive, healthy, and active, this becomes their accepted “norm.” The same principal applies with making time to take care of ourselves, whether through beauty regimens or workouts. If a girl sees that her super busy mom carves out that special time to take care of herself, it speaks volumes.
Thanks Liane and Shannon!
Tell us, BeeWell moms, what are some of the ways that you (or other busy moms that you know) find time to take care of yourselves on a regular basis?