Eating Problems and Children

Chuck and I are trying to start eating better.

The short term goal is to lose some weight, but ultimately the reason for this is to be healthy. Healthy enough that we are able to see our kids give us grandkids and watch those grandkids play and grow up. Possibly have kids of their own.

In doing that, we are counting calories and other macro-nutrients to try to be inline with what is recommended.

And I want the same for my kids. To be healthy. To live healthy.

Tricky thing, that is, because I do NOT want to be the diet nazi. I don’t want my kids afraid to eat things in front of me and take to hiding to eat. I don’t want my kids to gorge themselves on snacks when they are allowed them because they never get them. I don’t want my children growing up with the notion to eat past the point of fullness because we made them clean their plate. I don’t want them to have self-image issues because mom and dad were obsessed with how we looked and constantly discussing “dieting” or “calories”. I don’t want them tying rewards to food or emotions to food.

Why do I know about all those things. Because that’s EXACTLY how I was raised. Those are the issues I have with eating.

And yet, we run into issues. So how do we handle those issues?

Part of the problem is we’ve been lenient with “treats” in the last year. Daddy would go to the store daily for his afternoon Mt. Dew and bring something home for the kids. Usually a Little Debbie or sometimes a candy bar. So, now the kids expect that and throw a gigantic fit if they don’t get it every day. They ask “if we be good, can we”? That goes against everything I believe in. You don’t get food for being good. You get food to live.

Part of the issue is that Zachary is “starving” every night for dinner and bugs constantly, yet doesn’t eat when food is put in front of him and that’s wasteful. I want him to understand that he needs to eat what he asks for. But how to do that without making him clean his plate and eating when he’s not truly hungry? And how do we handle the bedtime “I’m starving” pleas? My suggestion tonight was to allow him to start dishing his own food from the options that are for dinner. Then he needs to eat that food before he gets more. And if not, he can put his plate in the fridge and eat it later. Afterall, some people can’t eat a lot at one time. So, how do we know when he’s hungry at bedtime or when he’s manipulating us? How many times do we tell him to eat his leftovers before it borders on insanity?

I wish that kids came with child-specific instruction manuals.


noname said...

Usually I tell mine to get a glass of water if they're hungry right before bed. If it's in the last couple hours before bed, I'll pop plain white popcorn (which I think rocks taste-wise...they're still growing on it) as it's a whole grain and, well, it's popcorn. They say eating within 4 hours of going to bed is bad as you don't have time to work it off/put it to good use. I dunno, I don't always manage supper that early but I try.

Water can fill you up sometimes. Another thing to consider is habit. If he's in the habit of eating at certain times then he's going to be hungry at those times.

I don't want to be the diet nazi either. They don't have to clean their plates but they do have to try their food. Also, if they refuse to eat their supper, they don't get anything afterwards. (like, when they're just pitching a fit because they wanted pizza instead of this or that when I know darn well they like this or that....) Good news it that it only takes a few weeks to fall into a routine with the healthy foods and actually look forward to them. Good luck. :)

Head Artichoke said...

Education. Explain to them why it's not good to eat too much of the bad stuff. Show them the trans fat content on the back of the package and have them help you find foods with the lowest numbers. Talk to them about the good and bad of sugar. Look at how much sugar is no the back. Get a list of vitamins and talk about what each of them does.

If you can teach them what's good, they can get excited to help you find the good food.

Debbie said...

Good for you! And your whole family. The family that is healthy together THRIVES together.

Once the kids learn the new routine it will become second nature to them.

My sister did this with her son. He was 8 or so when she made MAJOR health changes for their family including getting rid of processed/junk foods, introducing veggies and fruits into every day eating and getting exercise each day.

My nephew is 10 now and he will choose raw veggies over chips on a table full of food - I have seen him do it! He will also turn down extra desserts. This is a kid who used to horde junk food and eat crap all day long.

It's really just about teaching the kids that your previous habits were unhealthy and that the new house "rules" regarding food and exercise are to help you all live a longer, happier life.

Good luck to you! It will probably be tough in the beginning as the kids go through sugar withdrawals, but hang in there... it's worth it!


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