Jones County, Mississippi
I always thought eating healthy and exercising were overrated. I was an athlete in college, but, even then, I didn’t eat healthy.
Then, as an adult, I had a business to run, and I was a single mom with five active children. So I never had much time to spend in the kitchen. I rushed through the grocery store, grabbing quick meals and snacks that I knew my kids would like.
Before we took Ms. Knight’s classes, we used to not notice the things we ate. We used to buy a lot of prepackaged and ready-to-heat frozen foods. And my children really didn’t like vegetables. They would say, “Mom, I don’t want these vegetables.”
With help from Ms. Knight and Ms. Evers, my whole family’s attitude changed.
Now we buy a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables and check the nutrition labels on products. We watch our sodium intake, and we try to monitor the amount of calories and cholesterol that are in our foods.
And the food tastes so much better. When we were shopping, we bought some fresh corn, and my kids could tell the difference in processed corn and fresh corn. They are really wanting to eat things that I never thought they would ever eat before.
Sometimes, I blend some of the vegetables in with other foods so they are more appetizing for my children. I sometimes take them to the grocery store and let them pick the fruits and vegetables they want. I get them in the kitchen and let them help. We make it fun. If they prepare it, they will eat it.
In the classes, I also learned to comparison-shop. I have saved a lot of money, because now, when I look at the labels, I look at the ounces and compare them. Now, instead of just grabbing something off the shelf, I know I can get more for my money by looking at the labels. I also look at the labels to make sure we are getting things that have less sodium, things that are under 20 percent of daily value. It takes me a little bit longer now to shop, because I want to make sure I do pick the right foods and I’m not just rushing.
The classes and eating together and exercising together has helped me and my family be closer. I am now kind of like their friend, and not just mama all the time, so it has changed that in our lives.
I was an athlete myself in college, and now I consider myself their personal trainer. Now, we get out and jog around about a mile a day, and we play basketball in the evening time when they get out of school. I kind of give them a break over the weekend. We do a lot of fun activities in that aspect. We do a lot of sports. We play baseball. We play tennis. It has brought me back to my college years, so I enjoy it.
We really enjoy that time together. The whole family feels better, too. I used to feel sluggish, but now I have the energy I need to get through the day. And I’ve seen that in my kids.
What do you hope your children learn from this?
My goal is to teach my children how to live a healthy lifestyle. I want this learning experience to continue through future generations of our family. My children have learned a way of life they can instill in their children.