Unfortunately, I had some terrible eating habits while growing up.
My parents rarely watched what I ate, or if I ate for that matter, which made for some health issues as I aged. I was left to basically figure out and teach myself what and how to eat. Many children are in this same boat and it often leads to obesity.
I gained some extra weight when I hit puberty because I didn’t eat properly. We hardly sat at the dinner table as a family or had rules about food. My biggest problems were overeating, snacking and sucking down juices instead of drinking water. I know if I was taught better habits at a younger age I wouldn’t have packed on the extra pounds that I did by doing the following:
I had no limits. When I had that Chinese food or pizza in hand I would scarf down double or triple the portion size that I needed to nourish myself. I had no self-control. The body doesn’t need as much food at each meal as most think. Furthermore, children need even smaller portions than an adult.
Knowing this and teaching our children what an appropriate amount of food to eat per meal is will help them tremendously. Stopping when we’re full is so important because anything else is simply extra. We’re supposed to eat to live, not live to eat. I’m not saying I don’t take an extra bite or two of my favorite foods but we have to be mindful of how much we’re putting in our stomachs.
The only real meal I ate was dinner. Otherwise I was snacking all day. Whether it was chips, cookies, candy, ice cream, french fries or something else, I always had to have something. This kept something in my mouth and in my stomach. It also kept the calories, carbs and sugar flowing through my body. Again, I had no self-control.
People may need a snack in between meals to hold them off until the next one but that’s all that should be allowed. The extra stuff is not necessary. It’s exactly that—extra. The stomach’s only so big and the next meal is just around the corner.
Water wasn’t good enough. I always had to have something with flavor. I would drink them by the bottle all day. What came along with those juices and iced teas were extra sugar and calories. One or two cups of juice spread throughout the day are fine but overdoing it hurts the body for no reason.
Water helps it in tremendous ways.
It just makes sense to water your body! While just being plain healthy, it also helps curb the craving to put something else in your mouth and may hold you off until your next snack or meal. Hydration and health are key here.
My son is two-and-a-half and on a promising eating path already—one completely different than I was on some years ago. He knows to stop when he’s full at the dinner table, snacks lightly in between meals and actually asks for water! I only wish my parents brought me up this way. Since I struggled so much to become a better eater, I don’t want him to have the same health problems that I had.
If he sticks to the script, eating choices will be made with ease in the future. We can only hope as parents that we are preparing our children to be as healthy and successful as they can be. I strive to do that in every aspect.
Now, if only I can get him to eat more vegetables…!
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Apprentice Editor: Kim Haas / Editor: Travis May
Photo: Wayne Wilkinson via Flickr