There’s no doubt many parents are concerned about their children’s eating habits. But, when you are so concerned about what your kids are eating, to the detriment of your own diet, something needs to change.
Marquita Winslow, a mum from Youngsville, N.C, said this,
We’re really health-conscious when it comes to them… We try to do the least amount of processed food we can. In summer, we grow our own vegetables and we freeze some, so in winter, that’s what they’re eating.” Regarding her and her husbands diet though, she says, “We’re just crappy eaters… I will have a can of Coca-Cola in the morning. Then I’ll be so intent on fixing breakfasts and lunches, I’ll skip eating or just snack. I get those Pringles and think I’m really good because they’re only 100 calories. Meanwhile, the kids’ grapes and carrots are sitting mere paces away in the fridge. Source
I imagine this is the case for so many parents these days. Everyone is so busy, and it’s really tough to get everything fitted in to an already packed schedule.
But, I like the comparison used by David Ludwig, director of the Optimal Weight for Life Program, at Children’s Hospital Boston. He said,
We use the metaphor from airlines: You put your oxygen mask on first before assisting others. We have to take care of ourselves as parents before helping our children. A mother who is overly stressed and malnourished herself will never be able to provide the best nutrition for her child.
So, what can you do to rectify this problem?
1. Realize there’s an issue
I think many parent don’t realize the extent of how their own eating habits can effect their kids, so realizing that it is a problem is the starting point.
Remember, your children are watching everything you do. And, although they may say very little, they do notice your behavior. So, changing unhealthy habits before your children are old enough to clue in and start mimicking what you do, is a must.
2. Start in the womb
Research suggests that the intrauterine environment plays a key role in future weight, health and diabetes risk of our children. So, if you are pregnant, or planning to get pregnant, try to improve your nutrition right now, to give your baby the best start in life.
3. Get planning
Whether this means writing a weekly menu plan, packing a healthy lunch for yourself and your kids, having meals stashed in the freezer for those extra busy times, or just having a supply of nutritious snacks for you and your kids available at all times – just do whatever it takes to make eating healthy easier for everyone.
Then, plan to eat together at least a few meals each week – chances are you’ll eat better when you are all sitting down together.
These are small changes, but they make a big difference over time.
Image source: Andy Ciordia