In 2008, after being married for 20 years, I found myself a newly single parent. I was on my own trying to achieve a high-raw diet for my four athletes in elementary and middle school.
At their dad’s home, my children get a salad with dinner, but also sugar cereal, Top Ramen, junk-food snacks, meat for dinner, and . . . no more green smoothies.
What’s a mom to do? I know many of you have similar questions, because I get them filling my Inbox.
Some of my kids are asking for good nutrition on their own. My two daughters are vegetarians by choice and ask their dad if they can come to my house when he makes hamburgers. My healthiest child begs for Brussels sprouts and steams them after school for a snack. And all the kids notice they don’t like how they feel, eating junk at his house. But others of my children will eat junk whenever they get the chance.
These are a few tips if you or a parent you care about is dealing with this or a similar situation. Because even if divorce isn’t part of your life, your kids may go to the in-laws’ or grandparents’ home and encounter a set of standards different than yours.
–Make sure your kids leave for school (or for their dad’s or grandparents’ house) with excellent nutrition up until that point.
–Let go and know that after all you can do, God takes you the rest of the way. You don’t have to be perfect, you just have to do the best you can. My mom always said that she sent her eight children out into the world and said a prayer after us when we walked out the door. Control the things that you can, that feel right to you, and let go of the rest. It’s like my yoga teacher says: I’m going to show you ways to push your body outside its comfort zone, but do you what you can and call it good.
That’s not to say, of course, that we dive-bomb into junk food hell. If you ever needed good nutrition, you need it most in crisis. You can’t control the emotional devastation of many of the trials that confront you in life. But one thing you can control, with a bit of effort, is how you treat your body.
Don’t let nutrition and exercise be the first things to go. Keep up the standards you can reasonably achieve and you’ll feel so much better, traversing the tough times.
To Your Health,
p.s. If the only habit you maintain through your kids living apart from you part of the time is a green smoothie, you’re still nutritionally far ahead of 99 percent of Americans. Remember that even a pint of green smoothie is 7.5 servings of greens and fruit!