Our Family Health: A Series, Part I

By Jenny Steadman April 14, 2017

Like your family, we are always striving to have a healthy balance in our household. We are starting on a new journey and I plan to chronicle it here with you!

The stress of making sure my kids eat enough of this and not too much of that makes me want to throw my hands up in the air and exclaim, “Who cares? Just eat what you want!”

But that’s not how it is supposed to work. As a parent, it is my job to teach my children how to take care of their bodies, inside and out. These are tools that will help put them on the path to being healthy adults. So, no, I can’t let them eat candy every day, all the cookies they want and mac and cheese for every meal (yes, they try).

I can be obsessive when it comes to foods. I realized this was a strain on my kids so I decided to lighten up. It backfired. It turned into them coming home from school and picking out one treat, usually from their Halloween stash, every day. On top of that, if there were treats at school, birthday parties, cookies in the house or anything else, it meant sometimes they were having multiple treats a day. Now, don’t get me wrong, this is ok every once in a while, but not many times a week. I could see the difference in them too. Their cravings became stronger and stronger and when I said, “no,” the protests would become rolling on the floor temper tantrums. This had to stop.

So, my husband and I set some new rules about sweets in the house.

We decided to take back the word “treat.” It had come to mean anything sugary but really, a treat, by definition, is something special and occasional. Our kids weren’t eating treats. They were just eating candy.

No candy, cookies, cakes, ice cream is in the house unless it is a special occasion. Now, when they have birthdays at school, get ice cream with grandparents, have something sweet on a playdate or we want to surprise them, it’s actually, truly, a treat.

We also made some rules about dinner.

Dinner is dinner is dinner. There is no other dinner.

If dinner is something absurd, unusual or they give it a good try and just really don’t like it, they can have something else. Otherwise, no!

They willingly agreed to these terms last week. Wish us luck. I think we’re off to a great start, but we will see how it goes. Stay tuned to next month for an update! Hopefully I will have some tips and tricks that can also help you.