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Old 01-10-2003, 05:52 PM   #1  
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Question Question for people who have young kids!

Hi all,

I'm new here and am not sure this is the right place to post this ... I hope if it 's not, somebody will be kind enough to point me to the right forum.

What do you tell your kids about your eating plan? How do you instill healthy eating habits in them without making them "afraid of food" or obsessed with it at an early age?

I have two children, ages 3 and 6. They are both normal weight have always been right about the 50th percentile for both height and weight (actually my 6yo son looks 'healthy' to me, but he needs a size 6 SLIM pants). Generally speaking they are both good eaters. My son eats a wider range of fruits and veggies his little sister, but she does excellent compared to many 3yo I know.

The six year old especially is into 'exercise' and 'nutrition'. This was triggered by lessons in school, as I never went overboard about talking about it other than to say "no you can't have more candy,you've had enough sweets today, how about an apple?"

He'll often ask if a certain food is 'good for you' and basically if it's not junk I tell him "yes it is, as long as you also eat other healthy foods" *Otherwise he'd argue "why can't I have FOUR tangerines, they're good for me" UGHH!)

Personally, I have a lot of weight to lose and I'm trying to limit carbs, not all carbs, but starch. (Even the good high fiber kind is a problem for me once I start, I don't stop until I've eaten so much I'm uncomfortable). So when I cook dinner, I sometimes cook starch (like rice) for them but I don't eat it. I always cook extra veggies. The other day they asked why I wasn't having rice. I explained that I need lose weight to be more healthy and that I always eat too much rice, so for now, it's best that I don't have any.

Well, last night, Mr. 6-slim announced he wasn't having dessert cuz he was trying to cut fat. "Cut fat" is not a term I use so I don't know where he got it - but he's master of the TV remote, very bright and I've "caught" him watching the news, Discovery Health, etc) I stressed that he was very healthy and didn't need to lose weight and that if he was full it was ok to stop eating but that if he was still hungry, he should have a piece for fruit or some yogurt like he usually does after dinner. He decided on fruit.

I don't want to make my kids paranoid about food, I want to instill good habits and I'm trying to model good habits, but the point is, as an overweight adult, I can't eat everything a 6-year-old does --- nor would I want to, lol!

How do I answer the questions, respond to the 'diet' comments? Do you have any suggestions? What's worked for you?

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Old 01-21-2003, 01:58 AM   #2  
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I had the same problem explaining my dieting to my 6 year old daughter.

I decided not to use the words dieting, or weight loss with her. Just healthy.

I know she is learning about exercise and health in school right now so she thinks its great that mom wants to be healthy like her, she even told me that I'm supposed to drink plenty of water.

If she asks why I'm not having something, I just tell her that I wasn't in the mood to eat that particular food, but I know she really likes it, so I made it for her.

It seems to be working, she hasn't told me she needs to lose weight , she just wants to exercise with me, but so does my two year old. They try a little then lose interest.

I hope I'm doing it right, who knows. I would sure like to here a few opinions on the subject myself.

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Old 01-23-2003, 10:42 AM   #3  
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I have a 4 year old girl and a boy who is almost 2.
What I do is to never mention being fat, or needing to lose weight to my kids.
I exercise each day, and I tell my kids how fun it is, and that it makes you feel better. I bought them a Teletubbies exercise video that is simple stuff like bending side to side, crawling around on the floor, sit down-stand up-things like that. Small kids love physical activity-it is when they get older that being lazy comes in from watching our habits. If you exercise regularly and do family things that are active-say, going to the zoo and walking around for a few hours, rather than going to a movie-the kids will grow up with these good habits. Children of overweight parents are more likely to be overweight not because of genetics, but because they learn their eating and exercise habits from us.
As far as food-I never tell my kids that I am not eating something because I am fat, or because I am trying to lose weight, or that it is bad for you. They see me eat yogurt and fresh fruit a lot, and they eat a lot of it because they are used to having it around. I cook healthy, but since I don't preach about foods being good for you or bad for you-it is just fine when we go to a restaurant now and then and we order them kiddie meals with things like cheeseburgers or pancakes for dinner. If you talk too much about certain foods being forbidden, then they are either going to avoid those foods like the plague, or they are going to want them even more when they are older. If my daughter asks why I am not eating something, I just say I don't really want any-not that it is bad, or because I am fat. And it is okay for you to have dessert with your family now and then-you can make sugar free pudding or Jello now and then and enjoy yourself.
I have a cheeseburger occasionally, but when we go to Burger King-my kids know that it is a special treat, not a regular occurance. That is what is key. Candy and fast food are just fine, but they are special treat foods at our house, not something we do all of the time. That is the attitude you want to project to your children.
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