Eat Well: Keeping Yourself, and Your Kids, in Check

By Jenny Steadman December 13, 2013
Are you laughing at me as I dare to suggest you eat well during the holiday season? I mean really, I must be crazy, right? With all of those cookies in the office break room and the big family meals and delicious treats those kind neighbors drop off.... I must be insane!

I'm not telling you not to enjoy the bounty of the season, I'm just suggesting it not be so, well, bountiful. Part of the reason we all experience the holiday bulge is not because of the treats and sweets, the hams and turkeys, the egg nogs and fancy adult beverages, it is because of the sheer amount of it that we consume. 

Here is what I propose for you: Grab a little notebook and keep track of what you are eating. That way you are at least mindful of what you are consuming. I remember oh-so-clearly the days of walking into the office breakroom and grabbing a cookie each time I walked through. If I had been keeping track, I would have noticed that I had already eaten four today and I should eat no more. It is amazing how quickly it adds up when you aren't paying attention!

The truth is, you may not regret eating all of that yumminess, but at least now you know what you have eaten!

This doesn't go just for the grown ups. Being aware of your sweets consumption helps kids of all ages, too. I am by no means suggesting your children keep a food diary. Far from it! There are ways to help them be aware of what they are eating and how it makes their body feel. My 6-year-old reacts terribly when she eats too many processed sweets and she knows it, but, that doesn't mean she doesn't want more. When she asks for another cookie or another piece of candy I ask her what she has already had that day and how her body feels. Sometimes she decides she should wait to have something else. (Sometimes I make the decision for her.) She often will pick out a few sweets that she wants (so the grown ups won't eat them all!) and we set them aside. Then she can have one a day. Knowing that they are there and for her only, she is less anxious to eat so much of them so quickly.