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Wellness with Whit | Whitney Cardosi | Massachusetts






Today, I am chatting with Whitney Cardosi, founder of Wellness with Whit. Whitney is a wellness expert who teaches that cooking can be a fun and educational activity for children of all ages. She believes that cooking is an essential life skill that children can learn from a young age. By cooking and involving children in the kitchen, they can learn about the importance of food, proper nutrition, and healthy eating habits.


In today's fast-paced world, where convenience is king, Whit shares tips on slowing down, planning, preparing, and involving your children in all facets of meal time.


We will also hear how a California girl deals with Massachusetts winters and how her family prioritizes getting outside!



 




Tell us about yourself and where you are located. How old are your children? 

Hi! I'm Whitney Cardosi, Owner and Founder of Wellness with Whit. My family hails from Utah, however I grew up in Southern California and reside just north of Boston with my husband and two daughters. Kennedy is 9, and Stevie is 5.





How did you get started in your business?

I dabbled in blogging when I moved to Boston 10 years ago but my journey started with a Health and Wellness company called Arbonne in 2016. Since then, I have pivoted with passion several times and launched Wellness with Whit in 2023.


Your small business Wellness with Whit, has a weekly kid nutrition and food discovery classes! Can you share more information about your classes and services?

Yes! After eight years of coaching adult women, I realized nutrition had more to do with what we've learned than what we do. As a mom of two girls, I realized that these modern nutrition concepts needed to be shared with the next generation while they were still young, not when they were grown adults.


So I launched my kids "cooking" classes which are nutrition classes made fun and tangible through exploring foods and recipes.

I spend a lot of time with children between the ages of 2 and 5 because that's what my schedule allows, but I also love working with elementary and middle school-aged kids whenever I can.



What's your advice for people wanting to introduce healthy habits into their lifestyle but may not have much time in their schedule?

Keep it simple! We tend to overcomplicate nutrition, which is not surprising considering the amount of noise on social media. Research shows that one of the best things you can do for your family is to cook more at home.


So start by cooking and eating more whole foods and minimizing the amount of packaged, processed foods you consume.

And if you need help with HOW to do that, you can follow me on your favorite social media platforms or join my free group ;)


Do you offer any classes or workshops on nutrition that would help parents implement healthy habits?

Yes! Parents typically attend my pop-up classes, and I weave in many tips. I also partner with local community organizations to offer parent workshops, and I'm working on a membership that will support parents in feeding their families and developing healthy habits.


Our readers, especially busy mothers, often require straightforward guidance on their health and wellness journey with their children. To that end, what three simple habits can make a significant impact at the start of their journey?


Well, I spill the beans here and give you my three-step system for bringing more joy to mealtime.

  • First, involve your kids in the kitchen- chopping vegetables, rinsing produce or grains, or setting the table.

  • Second, serve up your dinners in a family-style manner. Put all the elements in individual dishes and place them on the table so everyone can pick and choose what they like.

  • Finally, let your kiddos plate their food. Let them pick what they'd like on their plate and put it on independently.

  • I dive deeper into these three steps in my free group.





What advice would you give a parent if they feel stressed at meal times? 

Remember, you are doing your best, and that's enough. Second to that, I'd say make a plan. Even if it is as simple as writing down what you plan to make each night, it will help relieve a bit of the mental load.






Does your family eat together? Why is this important? 

If you had asked me this six months ago, I would have said it a few times a month. We developed bad habits during the pandemic, and we were not eating together and making 2-3 meals for a family of four. But since implementing my system, we now spend 5-6 nights a week. In just one month, my kids added a dozen new foods to their diet, and we developed a more profound connection as a family. But the most important thing about eating together is mindfulness and connection. Thanks to fantastic research, we now know that our body, mind, and spirit are biologically connected.


When we take the time to prepare our food AND eat it with others, it directly and positively impacts our digestion, health, weight, and most importantly, our relationship with food.

What lessons have you learned about sharing healthy foods with your family, particularly your girls?  

Allowing independence and autonomy and avoiding shaming, pressuring, or bribing will do wonders for their willingness to try and enjoy new foods. I'm also very mindful about how I label foods and try my best to avoid "good" and "bad" and instead will make connections to how they FEEL. For example, after a particularly healthy meal, if I notice they are in a joyful or playful mood, I'll take a minute to point out how what we eat directly impacts our mood.


Also, feeding your family natural, nutrient-dense food will SAVE YOU MONEY. They will be satisfied with less food because their bodies will receive the nutrients they need. So investing in high-quality produce and proteins will save you money in the long run.

What is your favorite meal to prepare for dinner?

Personally, anything with a crispy chicken skin is my drool-worthy meal, LOL, But I'd say pasta night with homemade meatballs is our favorite.


How do you incorporate "junk" food into your family's eating pattern? Are there any principles that you follow? 

We eat plenty of junk food (chips, etc.). You have to pick your battles, and I don't want to forbid it and create an unhealthy relationship with balance. I am the most "strict" on candy and snacks with food dyes. We rarely eat candy at home unless it's from a holiday or special occasion. And we don't keep a lot of cookies and such in the house. After school, they are allowed one "packaged" snack like chips or kettle corn and one "real food' snack (apple, banana, cucumbers, etc.). But I am not dogmatic about this.




Let's talk about getting outdoors with the kids! 


What advice or tips would you give moms who see the benefits of spending more time outdoors with their kids but don't know how to get started and maybe feel overwhelmed by the process and figuring out where to go/ what to do?   


We keep it simple!

I used to feel guilty if I wasn't getting my kids to the park or having elaborate outdoor time, but now a simple walk around the neighborhood is our go-to. My husband is more tolerant of the park, so he usually handles park time. We also enjoy family activities like camping and skiing. I always talk to my girls about the importance of vitamin D and feeling happy, so I usually say, "Let's get outside and get some happy juice." But also know every kid is different. My five-year-old loves to be outside. My 9-year-old prefers indoors (at least until I get her outside, and then she's happy).


What are some challenges you face in getting outside more with your kids? How do you overcome those challenges and make it happen anyway?

As I said, Kennedy prefers indoors a lot. Sometimes, I put the "mom foot" down and tell her she needs to come with us on a walk, but she'll usually join us when push comes to shove. It often forces me to get up and out when I am distracted by work or housework.


I think finding specific things your kiddos DO like to do outside is critical since they may not enjoy what you or their siblings enjoy.


How do you feel about winter? What do you do to embrace seasonal changes?

As I said, I grew up in San Diego, so it took me some time to adjust, but now I crave winter. We are balls to the wall from when it gets nice out through New Year's, so winter is my time to rest and recover. Plus, we are getting the girls into skiing, so we love having a winter family activity. But I genuinely love the rest I get in winter. As a side note, I am a firm believer in eating for mental and emotional health, so I make sure I support my mental health through nutrition during the darker months.



In what ways has being in nature and your wellness journey impacted your personal growth and experience of motherhood?

It is so key for mindset. I can be a workaholic, so being outside- hiking, camping, skiing, golfing, etc. forces me to slow down, be present and unplug. I typically have my best ideas and imagination on walks. It is key for overall well-being. There is SO MUCH RESEARCH about being outside and its impact on mental health, metabolism, and sleep.


What are some of your favorite outdoor activities to do with your kids?

Skiing, golfing, neighborhood walks, camping, and hiking.










What are some good snacks for parents to pack with their children?

Homemade trail mix, dried fruit, nuts, beef sticks/jerky, apples, nut butter, and for longer journeys, we love packing snack boxes with a variety of these things: cheese sticks, frozen berries, whole grain chips, and crackers













 

For more tips on traveling, browse the blog and follow on Instagram.



 

Imagine that your family will be out for the entire day. You plan skiing up north and won't be back until dinner time. How would you prepare the night before and in the morning to ensure you don't have to order takeout when you get home or spend a lot of money on snacks at the lodge?


My husband is usually in charge of packing lunches (this is what we do on ski days).   Lunches will typically be a nut butter sandwich or something in a thermos for the kids.  I'll make a protein shake and bring it in my insulated cup.  Then, we pack snack boxes for everyone to enjoy, whether it's a long drive or with their lunch.  We'll bring an insulated gallon of water and leave it in the car to refill.  My snacks are a trail mix, chomps beef stick, apples with almond butter, and my shake. Turkey slices are a go-to for the whole family as well. 


The key is to have a good balance of carbs, healthy fats, and protein so everyone is satisfied.









Where can my readers follow you and stay updated with your latest work? I'd love to share your content with them!



I love new friends, so join my free group !

Or they can follow me on social media;












 


Thank you, Whit! I want to express my gratitude for your time and effort in meeting with me to have an in-depth conversation on such a crucial and highly discussed topic in the parenting community. Your willingness to share your insights and knowledge will benefit many of our readers and their families.




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