Today we have a guest post from Janae Bagley founder of SuperNutritionMom.com. I hope that you enjoy her insight into our eating habits!
Have you ever served your family dinner only to turn around and eat a completely different meal yourself, or even worse, grabbed the same meal replacement shake you drank the day before, all in the name of your newfound “DIET”??? Let’s face it, losing weight is hard enough without cooking two meals a night or drinking boring shakes.
“But my kids won’t eat healthy food!” you might say. Or, “I won’t lose weight eating the food I serve them.”
Stop punishing yourself by making your children food that you love but can’t enjoy on your “new diet.” It only sets you up for giving in to cravings at some point–if not today, perhaps a few months down the road once you’ve reached your goal weight. Well, guess what?! That weight will just come back with a vengeance, just like teenage acne!
First of all, what are you teaching your kids when you serve them different foods than you eat? You’re planting the seed for them to have an unhealthy relationship with food. The unspoken, yet powerful messages you’re giving them include things like, “Don’t trust food.” “Eat that while you’re young because when you’re old all the fun is over.”
What if instead you taught your children eating habits that would be good for their bodies for the rest of their lives? And at the same time, you’d be making life long changes for your own bodies that not only help you permanently lose weight, but improve your health.
Here are some easy ways to start eating smart with your kids while losing weight:
Make Vegetables Invisible
This will automatically reduce the calorie content of food without sacrificing flavor or completely changing the foods you eat. Shredded zucchini, spinach, shredded carrot, chopped cauliflower. Favorite dishes to hide vegetables in: muffins, chilis and soups, enchiladas/burritos, pasta sauce.
Serve food on smaller plates
You don’t even have to change your cooking! Research shows that just having a smaller plate will reduce the amount you eat. Eat in a small ramekin (bowl). If you’re still hungry, grab more vegetables.
Only offer vegetables as snacks after school (before dinner)
If the kids make a fuss then maybe they aren’t hungry enough and can wait until dinner (since it’s only a 2-hour wait). This will keep you from snacking with them when you’re probably not hungry, and that’s possibly eating mindlessly. If you’re going to do that, then at the very least, mindlessly eat some vegetables.
If you’re not eating vegetables by now, start today
It takes a max of 10-15 times to try a new vegetable before some kids will accept it. If you’re a kid at heart, time to start trying vegetables! Seriously, have you ever tried zucchini noodles or cauliflower mash? They’re yummy!
Ditch the sugar-sweetened, and artificially sweetened drinks
Skip juice, milk, sweet tea and everything else. Just grab a water. Drink it before, during, and after the meals. You can mix it up by drinking carbonated waters.
Keep mealtime peaceful
If you’re feeling stressed during mealtime, you’re more likely to eat fast and eat more than you need. Mealtime is not a time for discipline or talking about stressful topics. If your young children are throwing a fit, try to calm the situation before you put food in your mouth–or theirs.
Don’t eat in front of the TV or any other screen
Have a screen-free, book-free, distraction-free meal and you will be more satisfied with the food you eat.
Don’t hide food from your children
If you’re eating something you don’t want them to eat, chances are you shouldn’t eat it either. So don’t keep it in the house to tempt you. When your kids go to bed, don’t head to the kitchen. Find other ways to relax after hours like a warm bath or yoga.
Following these tips is a great start to losing those extra pounds and enjoying food with your family. If you’re struggling with kids who are picky eaters, check out this article about how to conquer picky eating.
Janae Bagley, Registered Dietitian, loving mom, and founder of NutritionSuperMom.com. She is passionate about helping other moms ditch the dieting cycle and enjoy eating real food while losing weight.