Monday, September 24, 2012

Am I setting my kids up to have weight problems?

Woohoo! I'm so excited that I can actually access and post a real entry! I started this entry the other day but then I hit an error message so I was hoping this entry saved as a draft, and it here it is:

So this afternoon I've been browsing other blogs and one blog post in particular got me thinking...what about the future? I was reading This post and Diane mentioned that as a child she was encouraged to eat everything on her plate. I was told to do the same. I know that part of that was my parents way of teaching me to be careful how much I put on my plate because if I took more than I would really eat chances are my mom would be throwing it in the garbage at the end of the meal. When you are looking at the amount of food that 5 young kids may "waste" by loading their plates too full that could me a great deal of money "wasted" by the family in the long run! I hate wasting money and throwing food away really bothers me. I would much rather put left overs in the fridge for the next day's lunch or if it's a really small amount that is left I will sometimes use that as a snack.

So how do you teach your kids these important lessons without them growing up with the idea in their heads that they have to eat everything on their plate even if they are full? I mean it is better to throw the food away or put it in the fridge rather than stuff yourself fuller than is healthy! I can't blame all my weight issues on being told to eat all my food, but I do admit that there were times even as an adult where I ate more than I should have because I didn't want to waste my money or my food.

That took on a new dimension when I became a mom because I found that I didn't want to waste the food on my kids plate either! If there was something left on their plate that was still edible I would often finish it off...especially potatoes in all their varieties! That was a hard habit for me to break when I first started my weight loss journey...and I still struggle with it. Whenever I make french fries here at home I cannot let any go to waste! To me "left over" french fries are not that great, they need to be eaten when they are hot! :) So I am trying to find that balance. After reading her post and thinking and writing about it I have to admit that I probably "force" too much on my kids. I don't mean I make them over eat...I mean I don't allow them to get down from the table and go play when they first want to. I have very slow eaters in my home. Which is great! Except that I get very frustrated when they are still sitting at the table 45 minutes later and they are only half way through a sandwich! I know (from experience) that if I allow they to get down part way through their meal and go play then it is highly likely that 30 minutes after I finish cleaning up the meal they will be back complaining that they are hungry again! That irritates me, especially when it's at night! I hate being woken up in the middle of the night because they are hungry and can't sleep.

So how do you know when it's ok to let them go play, and when it's right to force the eating to continue. The last thing I want is to have any of my kids struggle with weight even in part because of some idea that they have to over-eat in order to avoid wasting food.

So what do you do? How do you walk that line? :)


  1. Perhaps this is just my excuse for not having a cleared off table, but I usually leave food (especially lunch) out for a while so they can come back and eat it when they decide they are hungry. We also have a rule of tasting everything before you can go play, but you don't have to eat it all unless you want dessert. And I try to dish up their food on small plates to remind me they only need small portions.

    1. Those are really good tips Vickie! I need to look at getting some nice smaller plates too. I have some for the kids that are plastic, but sometimes it's nice to use "real" plates :)

  2. We have the same "you have to taste it" rule as Vickie does. They never have to finish off anything. We serve a small dessert some nights, and that can be an incentive to the smaller kids to finish their vegetables or main dish.

    I also tend to just put small amounts on my 4 and 7 year old plates because I think it can be overwhelming for a little person to see a lot of food on their plate. My older kids are good, healthy eaters so I don't worry about them.

    I think just the fact that you are thinking about this is awesome!

    1. Thanks! These tips are so helpful because usually I just dish up my kids plates for them. That started because we would dish them up to let theirs cool before eating it. They are old enough now that they should be doing at least some of it themselves, so this will help a lot!