As a parent of two school age kids, it's important to me to set a good example and establish good eating habits now. In analyzing my strengths and weaknesses in this department, here are some strengths and weaknesses I've established:
- My kids drink water. I never introduced them to juice when they were babies unless they were constipated, then I watered it down. Ice water has been a staple since they started drinking from sippy cups. Both girls love water. In fact when we go out to eat, they like to order drinks but they always ask for water too. It's great! I wasn't raised that way and somehow I was able to make that the normal. It saves money and it's better for them than adding extra sugar in their diet.
- We limit sugar. We have “snacks” in our house that defined at: fruit, vegetable, string cheese, granola bars, peanut butter, bread, etc. “treats” are sugary stuff. Those are limited to a couple times a day, usually after school and after dinner. An example might be 2 cookies or two mini-candy bars. Limiting sugar helps the kids be more aware of what they are eating.
- We talk about healthy eating. It's a regular conversation in our house. I always want the kids to understand what they are putting into their bodies.
- We let them help us cook. When kids see how their food is prepared, it sometimes help enjoy it more. Both of my kids have shown interest in what I'm doing in the kitchen and even though ti takes time, I try to include them. In the very least I let them watch and explain what I'm doing.
Weaknesses (things I want to/am working on changing)
- I haven't always set the best example. I have gained weight and I'm not happy about it. I'm kind of a vocal person and my kids, especially my 8 year old knows I'm not happy with my body. My mom was a yo-yo dieter my entire life and I decided I never wanted to be like that. I also don't want me kids to see me this way.
- I have introduced unhealthy ingredients into our diet. I like cooking and comfort food. Before I decide in August that I was going to make permanent changes, I cooked with a lot of unhealthy foods like: cooking oil (frying), butter, white flour, etc. I also bought white bread for my kids (they prefer that kind) and we would eat processed food more that I would like to admit. These are things we would eat daily.
I have started doing small things that the kids have accepted:
- buying whole wheat frozen waffles instead of regular
- buying whole wheat bread instead of white bread
- subbing sour cream for plain Greek yogurt
- encourage them to use almond milk in their cereal
- buying natural peanut butter with no added sugar
- making sauces with GF flour, olive oil, and unsweetened almost milk
- I make an extra vegetable at almost every meal. I have been buying more frozen vegetables and even if I make lasagna with vegetables, I still serve additional vegetables.
I still let them keep some of their sugary cereals, yogurts, and fruit snacks. However I have made some small changes and continue to make more. I also explain why I'm doing them and get the at least try it. I also ask their honest opinions about the changes. Some they like, some not so much. At least it keeps the conversation going that that's what is important.
Here are some more resources for getting your kids into clean eating:
- Healthy Meal Planning with Kids
- Clean Eating for Kids
- 21 Day Fix Recipes Your Kids Will Eat
- 7-Day Clean Eating Meal Plan for Kids
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