I grew up in Indonesia, a country where agriculture is the main source of food production and where there are actually various traditional healthy food to consume, from healthy and fresh green vegetables that contain a lot of vitamins and minerals to diverse alimentary supplies made of soy, like tempeh and tofu.
However, living in big city like Jakarta, the capital city of Indonesia, there are so many global food (well, junk food actually) that freely grow in the food market easily accessed by anyone, even the younger generation.
The problem wasn’t because my family taught me to eat junk food or that they thought junk food is better. They always encouraged me to eat healthy food like green vegetables and homemade slow food. But, maybe the issue was actually at that time, my family didn’t really understand how to explain well about why starting to eat healthy food early is significant for kids and younger generation.
I remember that I was quite overweight as a kid and early teenager because I didn’t control well what I consumed either in quantity or quality for health benefits. Besides, with the effect of globalization where there is a trend for global food among younger generation, consuming healthy food feels harder to follow as kids and teenagers often (as I did) want to look cool among their peers.
Sometimes the cool trend happens also in food habit, by consuming what is becoming the trend in the food market at the moment. Surely, parents can’t control what their kids and teenagers eat when they hang out with their friends outside. During my childhood and adolescence, I didn’t really know the importance of starting healthy habits early. My healthy habits started only when I felt it was necessary and urgent for me to start being healthy.
Based on my personal experience that I’m sharing here, I would like to tell that it really makes big difference if kids and younger generation start early to eat healthy. First, they will create healthy metabolism system in their body from when the body was really young.
Additionally, they surely won’t grow as overweight kids that will regret and feel the difficulty about starting the healthy diet later to reduce weight and be healthy. And I can assure you from my own experience that starting healthy diet after years of eating what’s “tasty” is both challenging and difficult. You will need huge courage and determination to do that after years of bad habits.
“The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don’t want, drink what you don’t like, and do what you‘d rather not.” – Mark Twain
Of course educating the younger generation (kids and teenagers) in the family to start healthy habits early could demand more time and attention from the parents.
It will take more than just showing internet facts and health articles to read. It will also take more than showing interesting photos and videos about healthy food. Well, I’m not saying these steps don’t work and shouldn’t be done.
However, starting from themselves as the older ones in the family will be an additional value for the kids’ consideration. Being great role models and showing the kids that parents also enjoy eating healthy food and following healthy lifestyle will explain better to the younger generation that the habit is not a torture forced into their life.
But, the habit is healthy lifestyle that could help them grow as successful and healthy people. There is a quote “In healthy body there is healthy mind” or in its original language, “Mens sana in corpore sano”.
With healthy body, your mind will work perfectly in your life so you can achieve your goals. Without healthy body, you won’t be able to conduct your daily activities as your body can’t function well and your mind can’t think properly. This is why healthy food habits should be started at very early stage, at the comfort of home environment, from the parents to kids.