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Raising healthy kids

Putting your kids health first

I will start by saying that I am not parent. I also know that most parents hate nothing more then being told my anyone what to do with their children. So please don’t take offense, I just believe that the health of our children in the community is a key topic and something I want to talk about today. I am personally very concerned about the health of our children. Many of them are still too young to take the best decisions for their future.

I have no idea what it is like raising a child and being wholly responsible for another person’s health and wellbeing. But one of my greatest motivators to be healthy is so that when I one day have children of my own I can be the best parent possible.

We live in a world where children are incentivised and rewarded with sweet treats or junk food. My grandparents, aunts and uncles constantly greeted me with sweets and chocolates. Going out for pizza when you get good results at school, or movies with popcorn and smarties and slushies. We have all had that.

I walk around the Greenpoint Urban park behind my house on weekends and I notice family after family having a picnic with their kids on the lawns. The common theme is the amount of junk food and fizzy drinks everywhere. These kids are being brought up on items we cannot even refer to as food.

Convenience “Happy Meals” from outlets like McDonalds are considered “family outings” and “quality time.” I avoid shopping malls on the weekends but when I am forced to set foot in one I see it packed with families who spend their weekend time walking around shopping malls and eating food-court takeaways and other junk.

Loading up on more and more sugar and empty calories.

I remember when I was a kid there was always that saying “they will burn it off” or “kids will be kids” but I think in  reality when we are in our formative years we make habits. This is when we learn behavior. This is where sugar addiction begins. When we learn that chocolates make everything better  or that junk food is a reward for good behaviour and other negative emotional connections to food.


The average school tuckshop once again is stocked with piles of all the things that children should not have freely available to them. Sweets, chips, chocolates, muffins, cakes, fizzy drinks and the list goes on.

This is not living.

The question I have is why should children eat any differently to adults. Healthy food is healthy food irrespective of age. Why should children eat customized less healthy meals. Why should kids refusing to eat vegetables be accommodated by parents?

I can emphathise that this cannot be easy because of friends and school mates who are likely allowed to eat as they please. Your kid might not understand why they need to be different but if they are exposed to healthy eating from a young age, it can only give them a better life. It cannot be easy being the only kid who is not allowed to stuff their face with countless sugary cupcakes and sweets at a birthday party.

Finding a balance is something that, while challenging, is not impossible.

We had one guy at my school whose parents where very health conscious. Going to visit his place was less fun than other school friend’s houses. They didn’t have a sweet cupboard and fizzy cooldrinks weren’t allowed. Instead we would have dilute fruit juice with water or have plain water and have fruit as a snack. We all thought it was weird. Only now do I realize that his parents might have been the ones who had it the most right. He remains one of the healthiest guys I know. For someone like this it is not hard to be healthy. It is a norm and a habit instilled throughout his childhood. Don’t you wish you had grown up like that? Don’t you want that for your children?

We have seen  it in the community. With the right amount of education it is possible to bring up your children differently. It might be easier to just let them eat the packet of chips or the box of smarties and just give them what they want. But is that truly showing them the love and attention they deserve?

I acknowledge and applaud all the Sleekgeek parents who bring their kids and prams on the weekend to parkruns and walk or even run those 5kms with kids in tow.

Sleekgeek is about valuing health and about family. If you have taken the decision to value your personal health that is a great start but then why not your entire family too? These are the people you care about the most after all.

I was in Durban this past weekend for the launch of the KZN Sleekgeek dinner and we heard the personal testimony of Seone Maskell who since her own personal transformation inside and out has walked the same journey with her daughter Tyra who has lost 19kgs in her journey and has become an inspiration to the community.

In her talk, Seone told us how she realized that she could not call herself a good mother if she did not teach her daughter Tyra to be healthy. Seone didn’t want her history to repeat itself with her daughter.

If your child is overweight, inactive and eating too much junk food then you should probably think about that really hard.

Once again I am not a parent but I was a child once and I do get that all a parent wants to do is make their child happy. But in the end what will truly be best for them and make them happy? What will make them happy long term?

In Durban we also had Brett Shuttleworth share with us that he did his 8km swim from Robben Island for his daughter. To show her his love and commitment to her. At the Cape Town dinner, we had many people sharing that they committed to a healthy lifestyle to be able to be there for their children. We see this all the time on the Facebook groups as well.

So if for many of us our children are our reason then why not include them on this journey to health? Equip them now with the knowledge and tools they need to live a healthy life. It can only benefit you and your family.

I’m so delighted by the success stories of our incredible community, and I’m sure I’ll be seeing loads more soon. The tips, recipes and advice from our Sleekgeek parents are a daily inspiration for many and I invite you to become a part of it:

View our latest success stories:


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