Ten Things I Learned In California

I got home yesterday after spending 12 days as Aunt Nanny Barb to my niece and nephew. My own kids are much older than 10 and 13, so it was a trip back in time for me.  I only wish we had a swimming pool when my kids were little!  As I traveled home, I was thinking about what I learned while I was there...

  1. Listen to My Own Advice. I was really exhausted before I went and ended up with bronchitis and a touch of pneumonia while I was there. The ironic thing about letting myself get so tired was that I had just done a topic on Rest, Relax, Breathe and Sleep. Ouch.
  2. Make Sleep and Rest a Priority.  Turn off the TV. Close the laptop and the book. I did notice that when kids were short on sleep, they got grumpy just like adults do. Amazing.
  3. Eat at the Table.  True confession. When I was so tired and trying to recover, I just let everyone eat where they wanted to. Not the best idea. That only encourages mindless eating, making it much harder to recognize internal hunger and full signals, let alone trying to stop eating when you're no longer hungry.
  4. Listen to Your Body.  This is a key to good health. I knew I was running on fumes before I left, but I thought I could just keep pushing through and rest once I got to California.  It doesn't work that way.  I ended up with a very clear reminder to listen to what my body is trying to tell me!  Sometimes it really wants me to tell people "no,"that I can't do everything all the time.  It's taking me a long time to learn this one.
  5. Model Good Eating Habits.  My niece and nephew aren't the biggest fans of fruits and veggies, but once I started feeling well enough to prepare food, I served plenty of them anyway. No, I would never force anyone to eat them. But, I hope they noticed me eating lots of them. And they were available if they decided to try some.
  6. Order Two Beverages on the Plane. Make one choice a vegetable or 100% fruit juice and the other a non-caloric beverage.  This is a great way to get a veggie or fruit group in your travels.  I like tomato juice and my husband usually chooses the Snappy Tom spicy tomato juice.
  7. Sometimes Fast Food Wins. OK. I'm a nutritionist.  But it was all I could do to get in the car to drive the kids to their activities let alone prepare meals. As long as it isn't a steady diet, and it is done in moderation, the kids will live...
  8. If You Give Yourself A Cookie, Don't Forget the Milk... When my nephew brought the his buddies in to taste my cookies, I provided watermelon chunks with fancy toothpicks right along with the cookies. It's all about balancing less healthy food choices with those with more nutrient density.  I should point out that all but one boy ate more watermelon than cookies!!
  9. Look At the Bright Side. The walk-in clinic provided great medical care even though they didn't take my insurance, and they gave me a discount.  I didn't end up in the hospital. I got better. I read an entire book. 
  10. Watch for Teachable Moments.  My niece experienced light-headedness and dizziness during her 8 hour color guard workshop. She thought she wasn't given enough water breaks. Since I knew she only ate 2 cookies before it started, I chatted briefly about blood sugar levels and the importance of eating healthy foods including protein before active days like that.  She did admit she was very hungry. I asked her to pick what she'd like to eat before the start of the next day's workshop.  She went off with a grilled cheese sandwich and a glass of milk. Guess what?  She felt much better all day. It worked. And I think she just may remember that.
And, yes, it's great to be back home!