Thanks to Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, who sponsored the campaign, for including dads in this important discussion about family health care. My views are based solely on my experience as a parent, and not as a medical professional.
When I turned 10, I turned green. I didn’t plant a tree. I didn’t stop using electricity. I didn’t participate in a protest over pollution. I mean green in terms of food. Yes, the summer I turned 10, I discovered healthy eating.
My parents shipped my brother, NG, and I off to overnight camp. It was our second year at Camp Council, so we knew the drill. We would be separated by age into bunks with each bunk having around 12 kids. The daily activities would include swimming, arts and crafts, and SPORTS.
Now, when you’re a 10-year old sports fanatic and have no school, other kids around, and ample sports equipment, life is good. I was content to be left on whatever field of play we were on all day.
But, all that running around makes a boy hungry. I needed to eat.
And that’s where the problem began
You see the food at Camp Council stunk! I know it’s not easy preparing food for so many people. I know the cooks were probably underpaid kids not much older than me. I know that I was picky and used to my mother’s food. But I didn’t care. Eating cereal for nearly every meal got on my nerves.
Yet hope came at night in the form of milk and cookies that were delivered to each bunk. If the cookies were burnt, which was a semi-frequent occurrence, the night was ruined. It was three more meals of cereal and bug juice – I don’t know why they called it that, and I don’t want to – till the cookies would be delivered again.
The only good meal of the week was Sunday morning. They had a brunch that consisted of eggs, bagels, and lox. The brunch was available till 11, but you had to get there early to get the good stuff. I rarely made it.
As you can imagine summer camp doubled as weight loss camp for me. Mind you, I was only gone for three weeks, but the poor food inspired me to be more adventurous.
I figured if I could eat the camp’s food – I didn’t just eat cereal – I could eat anything. It was time to expand my diet.
My mom served salad with nearly every meal. She tried to get my brothers and me to eat healthy. But when the salad came to me, I would pass it along – I didn’t want that green stuff. Give me pizza, spaghetti, hotdogs. You know, the kid stuff.
When I returned home from camp, I decided I was going to eat salad. “What could it hurt to try it? It can’t be worse than the food at camp,” I told myself. One Sunday night, I put salad on my plate. It was a production. My parents were looking at me. My mother counseled me, “Just try a little. It might take a little getting used to. Put some salad dressing on it.” I did as instructed and slowly crunched the cool, moist lettuce trying to determine whether or not I liked it.
“So, did you like it?” My mother was hopeful.
“It was okay.”
“Do you want more?”
“I’m okay for now.”
“Are you sure? It’s hard to tell after one bite.”
But I knew. I neither loved nor hated it. However, in time, I grew to like and even love salad. Eating salad opened up a new world of healthy eating for me.
And now I’m trying to do the same for my boys. Ms. MMK and I are fortunate in that the boys like a few kinds of fruit. Now, we need to work on vegetables and drinking water. I keep trying. We have vegetables with every meal. The boys don’t get their apple juice till they have had some water.
It’s not always fun to enforce this rule (most rule enforcement isn’t), but it’s worth it. I want them to eat healthy. I’m a healthy dad, and I hope my example will inspire them.
Anthem health insurance inspires as well. It tailors health care programs to meet your needs. They make sure that Americans are aware of their health care options – and how to make the most of them.
At Anthem, they also know parents are busy so they created some convenient options to fit your hectic unpredictable life. One such option is LiveHeath Online which is available via an app or can be used on your computer. It enables you to have video conversations with board-certified physicians 24/7 about your health issues and instructions on how to handle them. It’s the old fashioned house call but in real time. Health needs are never so convenient!
XY Media is sponsoring a contest to celebrate dads living a healthy lifestyle. All you have to do is submit a family-friendly video to https://www.facebook.com/healthydads and you could win a $100 Amazon giftcard just in time for the holidays. Be a #HealthyDad. For the official rules, go here.
Now go eat some fruit and vegetables and drink water. Be a #Healthy Dad that your children can emulate. Go green!
Click on the picture to see my #HealthyDad video.