A Healthy Diet is Family Friendly {Part 3} Feeding Your Fam

Hi there, Mamas!  Here we go – week three for the Family Friendly Diet Series. (Check out Part One {Fad Diets} here and Part Two {Weight Isn’t Everything} here.)

RDN Mama’s When “Kid-Friendly” Food Isn’t

There are two big problems when beginning an extreme diet, as part of a New Year’s Resolution, or for any other reason:
1) Bringing your family with you on a fad diet and

2) Thinking that because your kids (or spouse) aren’t overweight, they don’t need to eat healthy.

This series will break down these problems and offer solutions on what to do instead, so you can raise a healthy, happy family.

{Part 3} Feeding Your Family

Through the first two parts to this series, we talked a lot about things NOT to do. However, I like to look on the positive side when possible, so this post is all about putting what TO do into practice.

RDN Mama’s “Are You Teaching Your Child Nutritional Curse Words?

Follow these tips and the whole family will be eating balanced, healthy meals, and you’ll be well on your way to your weight loss goals, if weight control is a priority for you.

Healthy foods should be enjoyed by everyone in the family!

Lor is so glad we had an excuse to bust out her snack during the photo shoot.

  • Feed everyone the same foods. You heard me! No fad diets here. And that’s a great thing! Not only are you setting a great example for your kids, but you don’t have to take the time to prepare and cook two different meals. Remember that it can take a child over a dozen “tries” of a food before they learn to like it. Don’t give up!
  • Portions can vary, though. Kids are good self-regulators. They tend to eat the foods they like and stop when they’re full. My daughter, for example, will eat just about any starch. Or vegetable if she’s in the right mood. But while she’s shoveling away at her whole wheat pasta, I try to focus my plate more on vegetables. Just because you and your kids and your hubby are eating the same foods doesn’t mean we each get the same nutrition from them. Follow the Plate Method and make half your plate vegetables – especially if you’re focused on weight loss.
  • Keep your “diet” to yourself. If you’re keeping track of your meals in a food journal or app, like MyFitnessPal, LoseIt, or Spark, good for you! Logging can really help you see where you stand on a day to day basis, in terms of reaching your goals. But, your kids don’t need to know that. It could make them confused, like they need to eat less of something instead of listening to their internal cues. Keep it on the DL.
  • Eat more meals as a family. Studies have shown that family meals are so beneficial for kids! Research has shown that when families eat together regularly kids experience: lower rates of substance abuse, teen pregnancy and depression, higher grade-point averages and self-esteem, increased vocabulary, and lower risk of developing either obesity or an eating disorder. What a great tradition to start! (For more on this, check out TheFamilyDinnerProject.org)
  • Practice eating mindfully. Take a look at where you typically eat your meals. Is it at a table? Is the TV on? How many cell phones or tablets are joining you for dinner? Eating at a table with few distractions can help you tune in with your body’s feelings of hunger and fullness.
  • Focus on health. Make nutritious foods the majority in your house. Focus on fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and low-fat dairy. By ensuring that you and your kiddos are getting the nutrients your body needs, it won’t be such a big deal when indulging in a special treat.
  • Plan balanced meals. For greater satiety and to make sure you’re getting a good balance of nutrients, focus on building balanced meals. By my rules, that’s 3+ food groups. Make sure to include a protein or healthy fat every time you eat, to help you feel full. Doing this can make sure you get a good variety of macronutrients (carbs, protein, and fat) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals).
  • Make exercise a family affair. Of course we can’t forget about exercise! It boosts your mood and energy level, reduces stress, and can manage cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar. It doesn’t have to be drudgery, either. Choose an activity you love and get the whole family involved! A perfect example is the St. Louis Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics 6k Run. Bring your family (strollers, kids – even pets!), burn some energy, get your face painted, and check out some wellness vendors. Plus, see if you can find me scooting along, and meet other dietitians from the St. Louis area. What an awesome day! {Registration Link here.}

How are you planning to help your family get healthy this year, Mamas?

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