General Diet Plans and Questions - Healthy Habits In Children

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03-03-2005, 10:55 AM
I wanted to start a thread here that focuses on not only our weight loss and fitness efforts-but passing along healthy habits to our children. I have lots of little things that I do to help my children lead healthier lives. I am a firm believer that children will grow up and continue the habits they learn when they are young. Here are a few of the things I do with/for my children:

I remember when I was a kid and Fruit Roll Ups first came out. At the time, they actually had pureed fruit in them-they were textured and actually had bits of ground strawberry seed in them. Over time they just got cheaper and cheaper-now they are pretty much a flat Twizzler. :lol: I don't buy any of these no-fruit, sugar laden things for my kids. There are a zillion brands now and I just don't buy them.
My kids don't miss out on anything-because I have found a wonderful substitution. In the health food section of the grocery store, or in a health food store I have found Stretch Island Fruit Leather. They are individually wrapped fruit leathers that are 100% fruit and juice. Nothing else-no preservatives or added sugar. It is a big deal to them once a week at the store to "pick out" their own flavor. They are usually 2/$1 or 3/$1 on sale. And I know what's in it.

~EXERCISE~ In the spring-fall seasons with weather permitting, my husband and I take the kids for a walk on the local walkway 2-3 times a week. My kids are young-so we usually walk 1/2 mile with them one way, and turn around and walk 1/2 mile back. They can easily go for a mile at a reasonable pace, (more of a stroll for me-but my oldest is 6.) and it is nice family time to talk together. During the colder months I have a few kids exercise videos for them-Elmocize, Exercise With The Teletubbies, Yoga For The Kid In All Of Us, Denise Austin's Fit Kids, Swamp Stomp, Little Kicks, and many others are out there online for sale. Check them out for one appropriate to your child's age level. I also swim with my kids a couple days a week in the summer.

I make healthier choices for my kids by just making small substitutions.
I buy the little applesauce cups all kids like in the no sugar added variety.
If the kids want juice boxes, I only buy 100% juice-no Capri-Sun or Hi-C or Kool-Aid Bursts that are 80-90% sugar water.
If the kids (and my husband :lol: ) absolutely must have hot dogs-then I buy turkey ones instead of regular.
I only buy whole wheat bread, brown rice, and whole wheat pasta over refined varieties.
My kids drink 1% milk instead of 2% or whole.
I offer my children fruit for snacks-grapes, apple slices, mini raisin boxes, etc. instead of cookies.
I buy reduced sugar and sodium peanut butter and all fruit (no sugar added) jams for their pb&j's.

These are just a few of the things I "sneak in" on my kids. :lol: If you have things you do, I'd love you to share!

03-03-2005, 11:55 AM
Just curious - is there a reason why you choose 1% over skim?

These are great tips - I do most of the "sneaky nutrition" ones already, but we definitely need to start upping the exercise as a family. :)


03-03-2005, 12:05 PM
Aphil, you are the :queen: mother. Your doing a fantastic job.

When the Grand kids come over I have noticed that they love fruit. I don't know if this becuz I just always have it or their folks don't buy it :?: I'll take Aphil's suggestions on the other treats, since this grandma doesn't bake sweets (U know why)..... ;)

Jenna is 3 1/2, when she is over and I'm working out, she loves to workout with me. She has her own little light-weight squat bar, she exercises along with me and is learning to count at the same time. She is such a cute little stringbean :lol: Again Aphil, thanks for the word about the kids exercise tapes, I'll have to check those out for her.....

Now that you made me think about this, I'm the only adult my grandkids know that works out. Oh Dear God, could I be a role model :?:

03-03-2005, 12:21 PM
Fiona-yes, there is a reason my kids drink 1% over skim. I drink skim, but give them 1% (most people buy 2% or whole for their families) because they are still growing children, and children (all the way through the late teens) have higher fat and caloric needs than adults. :)
Since they eat a lot of fruit and lean meats and whole grain carbs-they eat a lower fat diet naturally. I allow a little extra fat here and there for their growing bodies. I would rather have it in the milk or lean meat than in shortening/cakes/cookies/chips. :)

03-03-2005, 12:52 PM
This is a great thread! I'm looking forward to getting ideas. My son is only one, but genetics are stacked against him, so I'm doing my best to ensure he has healthy habits. Some of the things I've done/am doing:
-breastfed him for a year. Breastfed babies tend to be chubbier early on, but they thin out and grow up leaner .
-delayed the introduction of solid foods until he was 5 1/2 months.
-feed him whole grains. He usually eats refined flour products only one time a week.
-feed him lots of fruits and veggies.
-I never give him juice. He drinks water, milk, or unsweetened decaf green tea.
-feed him healthy fats--olive oil, tahini. I've started grinding flaxseeds and adding them to his yogurt and cereal. He eats whole grain bread with flaxseeds, and eggs enhanced with Omega-3s.
-he rarely eats foods with sugar in them.
-I try to respect his ability to self-regulate how much he eats. I don't push him to finish his food.
-I try to encourage him to feel his feelings. For example, when he gets angry, I try to mirror his feelings back to him ("I see you're angry because you can't do x," or, my favorite, "It's OK to be angry at mommy, but not OK to hit me"), and try to help him find an acceptable way to express them (hitting pillows, etc).

I'm sure it's going to be increasingly difficult to keep him eating the way he is, but I've heard what a baby eats between the ages one and two influences his tastes for life. I'm trying to make sure he prefers healthy foods.

03-03-2005, 01:38 PM
I agree about the breastfeeding as well for those who plan on having children. I nursed my children as well. They say that one of the reasons breastfed children tend to be thinner-is because they learn from infancy to "listen" to when they are full. The mother does not have a guage on how much the baby has eaten-the baby stops when they are full.
(There is no bottle with 1 oz. left in it to try to get them to finish so it won't go to waste.)

-I do allow sugar-but in very limited portions and not regularly. I don't nix sugar altogether-because I don't want them to rebel when they are teens and be gorging on M&Ms hidden in their lockers ( :lol: ) but when I do allow sugary things it is for special treats-they don't have chips and cookies in the house regularly. I don't mind if they have a cookie at grandma's house, or trick or treat candy at Halloween-but it is not an every day or every week occurance. Moderation is the key. I want my kids to grow up with the attitudes that cookies and candy aren't forbidden, but they are "treats" and not everyday foods.

-cereal is a big thing. I try to get oatmeal, Cheerios, Kix, and other lower sugar or whole grain varieties for the children. They are not going to eat my Kashi or bran flakes...but at least they aren't getting "Frosted Marshmallow Sugar Bombs". :lol: My husband is a real "kiddie cereal" eater-so I am trying to switch HIM to the newer 1/2 sugar varieties of Fruity Pebbles, etc. :rofl:

-You can make normally "processed" type of kiddie foods out of whole foods if you do it yourself. Instead of processed chicken nuggets-there are many recipes online using cut up cubes of real chicken breast and baking them. You can also cut a baked potato (with skin) into wedges and season and bake. Much better than deep fried french fries-and they get the fiber benefits from the skin being left on.

03-03-2005, 08:03 PM
When I was a kid, we actually made our own 'fruit leather' in school...not just making the leather, but the class went on a field trip to the coast to pick berries...which we washed and cleaned, pureed (I think the teacher and parent assistants actually did this bit) poured out onto sheets and let dry in the sun (covered to protect it from bugs and things of course!).

If memory serves (and this is going WAY back) we were studying pioneer life and I guess this was one way that our pioneer ancestors preserved fruit.

Besides, it's WAY more fun to eat something you made with your own two little hands. :lol:

03-03-2005, 08:18 PM
Oh my kids would LOVE to do that!!!!!! *Must find a fruit leather recipe!*
Yes, MrsJim you are correct in the pioneer thing-we have some pioneer field trip sort of family places in Indiana-and I have heard them mention this before.

Something else that we do as a family is have a garden. We have a very small one-but we grow 5-6 different things each year along with a patch of wildflowers in another part of the yard. It is fun for the kids to see how things grow, and to help in the garden with the planting and watering. Last year we did carrots, radishes, green peppers, strawberries...and grew our own pumpkins for Halloween. I think if kids have an active role they are more likely to try new vegetables. :)

03-03-2005, 08:59 PM
I don't think there's a fruit leather recipe in it, but you might want to check out The Little House Cookbook from your library (forgot the author - it's based on Laura Ingalls Wilder's series though).

I just googled and there are LOTS of fruit leather recipes/techniques out there...

Maybe you can make zucchini or broccoli leather and the kids'll eat it. *ew! just kidding! EW!*

03-03-2005, 09:07 PM
Zuchinni leather...we need a vomit smilie. :rofl:

03-04-2005, 11:23 AM
Zuchinni leather...we need a vomit smilie. :rofl:

Suzanne will probably kill me but I couldn't resist...

03-04-2005, 12:09 PM
YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :lol: I have needed this smilie before. :lol:

04-12-2005, 02:05 PM
You have some great ideas! I do the same with my kids, but do allow them the junk from time to time. My big thing with them is that they try all different kinds of food, because they never know if they will like it or not. If they don't, fine. I won't make them eat it. But I think it works pretty well, as they are really pretty good eaters. They like veggies (but not raw) and beans, whole grains, ect. We eat a lot of vegetarian meals, but they aren't too crazy about soy yet. LOL They do not drink sodas at all, and only 100% juice. I will bend a bit about some things, just because I remember how it was when I was growing up. My dad was always trying to diet and banned so many foods from our house because of it. Well, when I got out on my own what did I buy?? Sugar cereals and pop tarts. LOL I have better willpower and so I do allow some foods in the house (in moderation, of course) and I am able to stay away from it myself. I'm hoping this way the kids don't make such a big deal out of the sweets/chips. I'm trying to set a good image for them in exercising myself and teaching them about proper nutrition. Oh, they are very active too (DS is in karate and baseball and DD#1 takes ballet/tap class).