Character Chats

Let’s Talk Healthy Fuel

Let’s talk healthy fuel.

Here at True Balance Karate, we have a social emotional learning program called True Character. I’m Master H, the owner and chief instructor here at the studio. And I have two masters degrees in education, which means that we’ve developed this curriculum to best meet the needs of our youngest students who are three or four, and our oldest student who is 85.

Balanced Diets

And this month we’re talking about being healthy. Last week we kind of defined different concepts about what it meant to be healthy. This week we’re talking about how do you fuel yourself in a healthy way.

So, what does that mean? Well, we all know that we need carbs and fats and proteins within our food, within our diet, and I have been seeing a nutrition coach and we’ve been talking about what the right balance is for those three ideas. We all know we’re supposed to be eating fruits and veggies.

When my kids were growing up, fruits were never an issue. For them, it was getting in vegetables. And me personally, I’ve had trouble eating my vegetables. And that was something that with my nutrition coach that I’ve been working on increasing was the good proteins, the chicken breasts and the good meats that you’re supposed to be eating mixed with the vegetables. And some of our vegetables can also be a good source of protein, beans and things like that. So, as you’re looking at things, you want to make sure that you’re getting the right balance.

One of the things that my nutrition coach shared with me is that your plate should be colorful. It shouldn’t just be brown. And by brown, I mean French fries, fried chicken, the brown foods, bread. It should have color, it should have texture, it should have flavor behind it so that you’ve got some greens from like broccoli and some blues from like blueberry. And then you’ve got your meat and you’ve got different colors to meet those different nutritional values.

Healthy Choices

But then here’s the question, how do we get our kids to eat these kinds of foods? Some of us as parents, we don’t have a problem. Some of our kids are like, “Sure, I’ll eat anything.” Mine, fruits, not a problem. Vegetables, that was difficult. My daughter didn’t like to eat meat. My son couldn’t get enough of it. At which point we would talk about, “Which one would you like, broccoli or carrots?” I didn’t care, because they were both vegetables.

They got to choose, which empowered them to then eat it. So sometimes that worked. It was a tool that we would pick out. We would talk about how it would compare to other foods that they did like.

I remember when I was actually in third grade, my mom was trying to get me to try shrimp, and she was like, “Well, it’s kind of like chicken, and I know you like chicken.” And I was like, “Well, I do.” And I tried it and I wound up really, really liking it. So sometimes giving them something to compare it to will increase their likelihood of at least taking a bite and trying it so that they get that nutritional value.

So constantly reinforcing those good, healthy habits. I’m not saying you can’t have cake because cake and cookies, birthday parties, holidays, absolutely. But it’s, again, having that balance to what we are eating, having that colorful plate, making sure we have all of the different components so that our plate is filled with healthy foods.

Healthy Hydration

And then the other side of it is choosing water. I personally don’t like the taste of plain water, so I put lemon in it, which has actually gotten me to drink more of it. I put fresh squeezed lemon in my water. It gives it a little flavor. I have no trouble drinking water any longer because I now like the taste of it. Choosing water over soda.

If you’re working on building those healthy habits and you drink a lot of soda, could you switch one of them for a water? Not saying all, we don’t have to go crazy, but if you switched one, you’ve started one more healthy habit. And then in a couple weeks or a couple months, you’re like, “Huh, let me see if I can switch two,” depending on where it is, depending on what it is that you’re doing. But again, it’s you practicing your awareness.

Intentional Fuel

In martial arts, we talk a lot about being aware, being aware of our surroundings, being aware of people so we don’t bump into them, being aware of what’s happening in our space. But we also have to be aware of how we are choosing to fuel our body because that’s what we are choosing to do. So, if we’re being aware of how we’re choosing to fuel it, we can be aware of those good positive choices so that our bodies can remain strong, our minds can remain sharp, and we feel good about all of the choices that we are making.

Thanks, and I’ll see you on the mat!


True Balance Karate was founded in 2012 by Master Sue and Paul Helsdon.

We offer kids karate lessons for pre-school children ages 3-6 and elementary age kids ages 7 and up. These lessons are designed to develop the critical building blocks kids need — specialized for their age group — for school excellence and later success in life.

Our adult martial arts training is a complete adult fitness and conditioning program for adults who want to lose weight, get (and stay) in shape, or learn self-defense in a supportive environment.

Instructors can answer questions or be contacted 24 hours of the day, 7 days a week at 630-663-2000. You can also contact us here