Here are some things to keep in mind while trying to change the family's eating habits.
- Allow treats occasionally. Don't boo me on this one. Parents can eat strictly without overdoing it for their children. I think the word "occasionally" is the key. We can be the judge of that term for our own families. If we are eating pretty clean as a family treats will likely make our kids kind of sick when they get them. In the real world children however kids will be faced with sugar and whites daily and we need to show them that they can be eaten in moderation.
- Don't drink calories. Try to introduce your family back to water. Save soda, punch and juice for special occasions not every day living.
- Have fun. Talk about eating healthy as something positive and delightful, not a drag or they will see it as something they need to fight against.
- Don't talk about "diets" Don't say "I'm on a diet." say instead "We eat healthy." Thanks sis. I overheard her telling her daughter this.
- Stay positive. Never talk about yourself negatively in front of your children. In fact, try to say something positive about yourself in front of your children if not once a day, once a week. This will have a profound impact on their long term self worth. When we talk about our selves negatively it is like we are talking about them. They see us as an extension of themselves.
- Small changes. We can see big changes by making small changes. Move sugary treats out of sight and out of reach (or in the garbage) while replacing them with fresh fruits and veggies. Have a refrigerator makeover where you put everything that you want kids to eat at eye level and make it attractive by putting them in an appealing bowl or dish.
- Don't be a food snob. The only thing worse than eating with a slob is eating with a snob. Don't talk about all the calories that are in the food when you are eating with your extended family members. You are wondering how I know this. I have been a food snob and am resisting the temptation to keep being that way. It is difficult to find the balance between fighting against daily temptations and not making others feel badly.
Happy Healthy Eating!
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