Over the past couple of years (with the exception of during my last pregnancy), I have been trying to lose weight. I have been successful, thanks to a program at our church that is focused on developing habits of healthy living.
Both my husband and I come from families with weight issues. I have been overweight nearly all my life. I’ve really wanted to NOT pass on my bad habits to my kids, and so I have also been making some changes in my family’s eating habits as well. Here are some of the things I’ve tried and what’s worked for us:
- Go Whole Grain… I have slowly been replacing our carbs with whole grains. My family has hardly noticed. I’ve always bought wheat bread, but a couple of years ago I found out that unless it says 100% whole wheat, it’s really no better for you than white bread! Some other examples – replacing white rice with brown rice (I’m still working with the kids on this one!), buying whole grain pasta and mixing it with regular, all bread and bagels, etc. I buy 100% whole wheat.
- Start substituting snacks… there are quite a few alternatives out there for kids’ snacks that actually have some kind of redeeming factor (low calories, increased fiber, etc.). I very rarely buy chips… we mostly buy flavored rice cakes which are low in calories. I never buy cookies… when we do have them they are the homemade variety where I can substitute some wheat flour for white flour. My kids really like Quaker Granola Bites – only 90 cal. a pack and they have more fiber than other snacks. One of the keys to controlling the unhealthy snacking is just not to buy the stuff!!!
- Increase consumption of fruits and veggies. It really is true – the more I force my kids to eat veggies, the more willing they are to eat them. We’re getting there… slowly. In the meantime, we’ve found V-8 Fusion juice. There’s a bunch of different flavors, and 1 cup is equal to both a serving of fruit and a serving of veggies. And best of all you can’t taste the veggies in it! We’re also going to try out membership in a CSA – Community Supported Agriculture – this summer. Here’s a link if you want to read more. I’m thinking the more varieties we try and the fresher it is, the more we’ll enjoy those veggies.
- Drink more water. One of my kids loves water, one doesn’t. For the one who doesn’t, I’ve found that flavored, no calorie water works. Remember if you’re increasing fiber with whole grains, you’ve got to make sure you’re getting enough water!
- Control eating – with my oldest child just 7, I still pretty much have control over what they’re all eating. We set limits – one snack in the afternoon (see above about snacks) and if they want anything else it has to be fruit or veggies. When we have a lot of candy – like after Easter, they’re allowed only 1 piece a day. Dessert is not an everyday affair – I might make a dessert maybe once a week.
- Increase activity – I recently got a Leslie Sansone Walk At Home video and the kids love it. When the weather’s nice, we can walk or bike outside. This one is definitely a struggle for our family, but we’re working on it!
Just thought I’d share a few ideas with you. After all, there’s no better time than the present to start living healthier!
Do you have any tips / ideas to share about how to get your family to be living healthier?