When I began losing weight three years ago, I warned my husband that it (the weight loss and the changes I was making) would affect him and our family. I would be cooking and eating different meals and needed his support. The whole family was going to have to go along for the ride, including our then one and a half and six month old girls.
Looking back, I am extremely grateful that I changed how I ate when my kids were very young. When kids are under two, they pretty much have to eat what you give them. While they have preferences and are starting to know what they like, they can’t make anything for themselves or open their own fruit snacks yet, so as parents you have most of the control still.
Now don’t get me wrong, they still ate then, and do now, normal kid food. We enjoy chicken nuggets, grilled cheese, and peanut butter sandwiches as much as the next family, but they had to eat what I made or not eat. That’s an important lesson to learn early.
For those with kids that are older and are looking to make healthy eating changes, it’s possible! I have had to use different techniques on our kids to get them to eat healthy and accept that they are in fact going to eat what I make. Here’s how:
Introduce new healthy foods slowly.
Don’t go from making chicken nuggets and French fries to all vegan food overnight. That is a recipe for disaster. Take the healthy foods they already enjoy and include them at meals and slowly introduce new fruits and veggies.
Make healthy food fun.
Our 4.5 year old, doesn’t like bananas, but if I put chocolate chips on it and call it a banana ghost, all the sudden it is delicious. Try peanut butter on celery or ranch on carrots. The same thing you may do to get yourself to like a new healthy food. Another way to make it fun is cut food in cute shapes or use fun names to get them interested in it.
Try growing your own food.
We just (literally today) started our own little backyard garden. We have strawberries, zucchini, tomatoes, peppers, and carrots. My husband and I decided to let each of the girls plant a seed they wanted, so we are growing a pumpkin and watermelon, hopefully! I do not have a green thumb, but the girls were so excited to try planting and growing things that I thought okay, we can give it a try. What’s the worst that can happen?
Stop eating off their plate.
If you’re an adult and are trying to lose weight, don’t snack with your kids! I am very guilty of going out to places and packing lunch for the kids, but nothing for myself, so I end up eating a few bites of a sandwich and a couple carrots. By the time I get home, I’m starving so I eat a full meal and then some. It’s not healthy. Pack yourself a salad, a healthy sandwich, a smoothie or even just a protein bar so you aren’t getting overly hungry and binging at home.
Yes, losing weight with kids around is tough. But you can do it! Get them eating healthy, and make healthy eating a way of life for everyone. And don’t forget a piece of cake every now and then, never hurt anyone.