7 Surprising Things My Kids Taught Me About Eating Smarter
I hear from parents that they are struggling with a new diet because their family eats “differently.”
They are looking for tips and tricks to help resist what the family is eating in favor of some special fat loss formula meal plan. They complain that it takes too much time to cook 2 separate meals (the family’s and their special meal). They say grocery shopping for the family and their special meal plan gets expensive. And the list of divide and conquer tramples over any future hopes of finally making the changes last.
My first bit of advice is always the same question:
why would you feed your family food that doesn’t lead to the same outcomes?
I understand your 6 year old isn’t looking to lose weight, but you want them to be just as healthy as you, right? If so, then there doesn’t need to be 2 separate grocery lists, 2 separate dinners and 2 separate lifestyles.
Think about this:
Your kids grow up seeing you always eat differently than they do. They see you moan and groan about food. They see you punishing yourself by restricting foods. They hear you always ordering “special” meals yet kicking yourself 2 days later because the scale isn’t budging.
What kind of relationship do you feel your kids will have with food when they’re moms and dads?
Where to start:
A great friend of mine, Chris Mohr, PHD, RD, (a dad of 2 young kids) has a regular column in Men’s Health.
His latest piece, 7 surprising things my kids taught me about eating smarter, has a few nuggets of wisdom you and I can benefit from taking action on:
- Be nimble instead of rigid in your approach to diet is valuable for your sanity and the sanity of others.
- Let your kids help in the preparation process.
- Listen with your eyes (aka: no screens at the dinner table).
- Nothing wrong with a quick, mix-and-match meal that covers the food categories (some kind of fruit or veggie, a protein. and carb).
- Hand over our power and bestow upon them “dinner duty.” They have to make a meal and (here’s the best part) clean it up.
- Start a progressive dinner tradition by picking a few restaurants within close proximity to each other and try foods at each. (Cassie and I contributed this one. We often do progressive dinners with our girls to let them experience a variety of foods without a lot of commitment.)
- When kids are running in and out with their friends or simply being busy, having mindless access to quality choices means they’ll eat it.
Our role as adults is to teach, mentor and lead the next generation towards a more sustainable and healthier lifestyle than we have. The simplest step is to begin establishing healthy food guidelines that apply to the entire family, not just to one particular individual.