We all have them. Food issues.. We eat to much, don’t eat enough, don’t eat at all or just eat the wrong stuff… We make our kids eat too much, tell them to eat, let them eat all the time, or make the really bad choice to not give them good choices to eat.
I was thinking about the other days lunch discussion and then the upcoming holidays and I thought I would do a piece about food issues. These are things I have learned and am still learning about food. I have kind of run the gamut, from feeding too much, giving the kids poor choices in foods to food battles.
This is what I have learned.
1. Do not fight with your child about food. They do not need to be forced to eat. They will not starve themselves. I learned from someone who was touted as an expert in the area of child development that a small child only needs to have 4 string beans, a glass of orange juice and a multivitamin to survive. I have found that to be true. They will eat when they are hungry, so be sure to offer good choices when they are hungry.
2. Eat at regularly scheduled times. This is for all of us. If we are eating at regularly scheduled times and not freely all day, we eat healthier, our stomachs have a bit of a break from handling food all the time and our blood sugars stay more balanced. Think Diabetic diet. It is really the healthiest way to go. I can talk more about that particular diet later, but the schedule is what I want to refer to right now. If you eat breakfast at about 8 am, then have a snack around 10am. Then lunch around 12:30 and a snack around 3. DInner about 5:30 and a snack about 8:30. For the kids at our house, we would do all but the night time snack and then actually eliminated the 10 am snack time just because they ate a better lunch then. When I was babysitting and up early then, we did have the 10 am snack because the kids were up and eating breakfast before 8 so they were hungry by 10.
3. Give healthy choices in foods but don’t become short order cook. If dinner is spaghetti and meatballs and your child does not like that, don’t make them a hot dog. They can choose to eat some noodles and a little sauce and that would be fine. Have some things that they can choose from for breakfast and lunch. For example, maybe a hard boiled egg and a piece of fruit. Or a bowl of lower sugar cereal. Lunch could be a bunch of choices from sandwiches to leftovers. At our house we pretty much clean out the fridge for lunch when everybody is home! They can then choose what to eat and as long as there is some sort of fruit or vegetable in the choices go for it!!
When it comes to the holidays, try as much as you can to stick to some guidelines. Don’t eat a huge amount of everything! For your kids, let them choose one or two things they might like and leave the rest. They won’t eat it anyways, there is too much excitement going on! Don’t push them to eat, it will only become a battle. Give them a healthy snack when you get home if they are hungry then. Don’t worry. They will survive.
And so will you if you don’t eat as much of the holiday food as you can load on your plate!! Just choose a small amount and fill up on fruits and vegetables…
Now, the biggest thing I could say here about food is this. RELAX. Its just food. Its not the end of the world. You will all survive. Make good choices overall and all will be fine. Encourage your kids to make good choices and try new things. If you eat a bunch of junk at the holiday party, if you got into a fight with your toddler about eating everything on his plate, if your middle schooler ate only the shrimp. Relax. Tomorrow is a new day. You don’t eat like this everyday so encourage everyone to make better choices on a regular basis and all will be fine.
This was sort of a serious piece I guess, so I will try to balance it out by posting some fun stories next time. I am hoping I can get another one out today, but we will see how long this peace will last!!! (As I type this, here come the two youngest needing “SOMETHING TO DOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!” hehehee…. )
Blessings on your day!!