Nova, Sarita, Fred and Kiigin Bellefeuille enjoy some air-popped popcorn.

Nova, Sarita, Fred and Kiigin Bellefeuille enjoy some air-popped popcorn.

By Sarah Blackwell

NORTH BAY – The cooler weather has arrived, school has started and parents are back in their regular work routine.  So what does this mean for the health and wellness journey for your family?  Do you resort to take-out and ordering in as “rewards” for your family at the end of a busy week?  Do you have a regular routine of ordering fast food into your home?

Every parent needs a break from the chaos of the back-to-school routine, but this does not have to mean you sacrifice the health of your family members.  The same goes for a hard day at the office, or a stress-filled week that you are so proud of making it through.  Sometimes you just want to delve into your favourite greasy, cheesy, carb-filled fatty sandwich at the nearest drive-thru window.  This was a familiar story in our household prior to the changes we made in our diet and lifestyle after Fred had a heart attack and I had a diagnosis of cancer all within 13 months.  Fred talks about his struggles of craving high fat foods that he often turned to after a difficult week at the office or days of travelling out of town.

“Sometimes I just want to reward myself of making it through a tough work week. I have a high stress job, and I know that I want to go back to my old patterns of coping with the stress, but know that it’s not good for my heart,” Fred explains.

Sarah and Fred help each other with their cravings, “Sometimes, I will ask him to not make a food that I know is a weakness for me – like popcorn, because although it can be a very healthy snack for most people, it does not serve me well and my body reacts negatively when I eat it too often – like daily,” Sarah explains.

“Sarah has supported me when I have explained I have a craving and then she will make suggestions of alternative foods that may help fill that need for that food,” says Fred.  “For example, it’s usually the density of foods that I crave with the salt and fat content that I want.”

Often when you are under stress, you crave fatty foods, and often people will turn to these high fat, salty and sugary foods or drinks.  Fred also mentioned that he may not want these foods if he was not reminded of them through advertisements at coffee shop drive-thru windows.The journey into wellness does require support from your loved ones., whether that is a spouse, partner, relative or close friend.

“It really does make a difference when you know you can phone someone and they support you to remain true to your goals, instead of saying to you to just give in and that you deserve it,” Sarah explains.  “That does not serve me well nor does it keep me true to my health goals.”

“Instead try to find healthier alternatives to reward yourself and/or your family for a rough week at school or work.  There are multiple ways you can enjoy time together as a family instead of having high fat or sugary foods that will contribute to disease and discomfort.  You can also find alternative ways to enjoy the same foods but have healthier versions, such as movie nights with your own air-popped popcorn.”

So the next time you want to reward yourself or your children for a job well done, reconsider not using food and instead spend time together doing something you all enjoy with some healthy snacks mixed in with the activity.