A Little More Each Day

One working mama learning to run & to maintain my 100+ pound weight loss!

Weight Loss Wednesday: Passing healthy food habits on to O

on February 4, 2015

Last week, I got to speak with Oliver’s teachers about kids and healthy eating habits as an extension of my role on the school’s Food Board (more about that here). Helping Oliver learn to have a healthier lifestyle was a huge part of my motivation to lose weight and start to exercise a couple of years ago. Surprisingly, he’s also been really helpful in sticking with it for all of this time. Having little eyes watching and that little voice asking questions about what we’re eating or doing and why is an amazingly effective accountability tool.

Some of the strategies we’re using with him that are also helpful for me in maintenance include:

Grocery shopping together. Letting him help as we work our way through the produce section may take more time, but it gets him more excited about eating fruits and veggies and keeps me from getting in too much of a rut. You can never predict what a three year old will want to try, after all. 🙂 It’s helped me find new foods I liked and learn to cook new foods, along with getting him engaged in the process. Does he love everything he picks out? No, but he at least tastes it and that’s a big victory.

I'm more likely to work on keeping him from grabbing and eating produce in the grocery store, than fighting over candy bars in the check out line, which is just a fantastic problem to have!

I’m more likely to work on keeping him from grabbing and eating produce in the grocery store, than fighting over candy bars in the check out line, which is just a fantastic problem to have!

Cooking together. Like shopping together, it really gets him involved and invested in the cooking process and usually more likely to eat the new thing we’re preparing. Of course, this really works best at home, which means we’re eating more at home and less in restaurants. That’s usually a healthier choice for all of us.

This isn't the healthiest family cooking photo, but I love it all the same. He's not nearly as compulsive about the number and colors of M&Ms per cookie as I am. :)

This isn’t the healthiest family cooking photo, but I love it all the same. He’s not nearly as compulsive about the number and colors of M&Ms per cookie as I am. 🙂

Talking to him about what a healthy plate looks like. He really likes the “Choose My Plate” graphic they have at school from the USDA (see their link here) and talking through what we have on our plates and why reinforces those healthy choices for me too. Keeping healthy choices and the benefits of those choices in mind helps keep me from sliding too far into bad habits. Some days I need to be reminded that candy is a “sometime” food just like he does. 🙂

Keep portions small to recognize fullness cues. Kids are naturally very good at managing energy density in their diet. They eat as much as they need throughout the day. Any parent of a toddler will tell you that sometimes that means eating a linebacker’s breakfast and nothing for the rest of the day, but over time it evens out for most kids. We actually teach to them override that and eat when they aren’t hungry, with “one more bite” and “clean your plate” and huge servings of things. I’ve clearly already unlearned my natural portion control, but I need to work on it and at the same time reinforce that ability Oliver naturally has. Smaller portions for all of us is a good thing.

Food isn’t a fight. I struggle with this as a parent and as a weight loss maintainer. We shouldn’t be fighting with ourselves or our kids over food. It gives food entirely too much emotional power over ourselves (I know so many people who’ve lost or are losing weight that see food as the enemy) and over our kids. Sometimes we need to take a deep breath and let it go. And no, I am not good at that yet, for O or for me, but I promise I’m working on it. 🙂

What healthy lessons are you working on with your kids? What healthy food tips have you learned from them?

Resources for more information if you’re interested:

Choose My Plate (USDA) here

EatRight.org (Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics) here

WebMD Nutrition for Preschoolers here

HealthyChildren.org (American Academy of Pediatrics) here

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: