Parent's Diet Might Not Influence Child's Choices

2SHARES

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
2/4/2011 2:00 PM   :  75 comments   :  17,898 Views

When you look at all of the information out there regarding children's eating habits, it's enough to make your head spin. As parents, you should do this, but don't do that. As an example to your kids, you should eat this, but don't eat that. Helping a child establish healthy eating habits begins at home, right? For years we've been hearing about studies that say if parents eat healthy, their children are more likely to mimic those behaviors. But a new analysis of previous research says that there is only a weak relationship between what parents and children eat.

The analysis, published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, reviewed 24 studies on parent and child dietary habits. Interestingly, they found that the association diminished over time. The newer studies found even less of a correlation between parent and child habits than the older studies did. Could this be because outside influences on our kids have gotten stronger as time goes on? The researchers found that parents' influence was not nearly as significant as the influence of advertising, peers, opportunity to eat outside of the home, etc.

The authors recognize that this analysis was based on limited data. But I think it still raises some important questions. Is it enough just to eat healthy and hope your kids will follow suit? I don't think so. While I still believe that offering healthy foods at home and exposing your kids to a variety of foods is a good first step, it's important to recognize that it might not be enough. As your kids get older, they will start making their own choices when you aren't around. I want my kids to know that treats are fine in moderation, and no food should be considered "bad". But I hope I'm giving them the tools and information, so that when faced with the choice of a Big Mac versus a smaller burger with a salad, they will make the better choice most of the time.

When I take my daughter to the grocery store, she'll point out Dora the Explorer (a cartoon character) on a box of cereal. I tell her Dora is on there just to get kids to buy the cereal, not necessarily because it's something Dora would eat or something she should eat. She's only 4, but I don't think it's too early to make her aware of advertising techniques like this.

What do you think? Do parents influence their children's eating habits as much as other sources might? Why or why not?


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Comments

  • 75
    I think what may be missing here is when our children are young, we are their first teachers. This is the time when they look to us for guidance, acceptance, and for help understanding their world. Yes, there is a huge correlation between the WHEN these children were observed and the amount of influence parents have on those kids. As other factors being to influence them, ie peers, TV, the internet, they fall back to what they learned when they were smaller. If they have a good strong foundation for healthy eating than that is what they will practice. - 8/1/2013   7:44:40 PM
  • PREMAMEHROTRA
    74
    My 2 children are now 25 and 20 years old and I am a working mother (till today) who made sure that there was food on the table for them every day. I allowed them their share of McDonalds, KFC etc etc but this was not allowed on a daily basis. I also made sure they started off their day with a good breakfast. Today, my older girl lives in Melbourne and although occasionally, she starts out too late to have her breakfast, she tries to grab a healthy bite of something or other within an hour of getting into the office. She and like her younger brother have also learnt that I was right when I used to say to her "enjoy your metabolic rate while it lasts"! At this stage, both of them try to have something healthy every day...and they miss home-cooked food, which they used to take for granted before. I am proud of one thing though - they try to make appropriate choices for their food and blame me for this!!! - 9/25/2012   1:22:51 AM
  • 73
    Yes, I think parents have a huge impact on childrens' eating habits. - 6/19/2012   11:08:32 AM
  • 72
    Is this about family history, good eating habits, or parenting skills? Family recipes and portions were what got me fat in the first place...understanding what a portion was ...well it was eye opening! Better choices make better human beings, no matter what you are dealing with along the way...teach your child to make decisions (good , bad, or indifferent, but a decision nonetheless) when they become adults they will be able to make them...I have 4 beautiful children... 2 are "normal" size and 2 are heavier than they want to be...but they now make their own choices of food...and I will say...outside of a few too many beers, the comsumption decisions they make are pretty darn good...Who knew? - 3/21/2011   2:17:13 PM
  • 71
    I see the great influence parenting has on my grandchild...almost everything his Mom likes/doesn't like is what he likes/doesn't like....What a coincidence! - 2/7/2011   9:20:07 PM
  • 70
    I think parents do influence their kids' habits. However, I think kids do often test the boundaries of that influence by trying things their own way. So even if the habits are healthy, the kids might later rebel by eating lots of junk. Vice versa, the kids might grow up with poor food choices, and later rebel by demanding healthy food on the table. I have one daughter who is in college now who struggled with her weight through high school, though she tried to be a vegetarian. She didn't make good choices, though I did talk with her about it many times. Her stepsister (who is now 16) struggles with her weight too, but she is more open to trying new food, and will ask me questions about what is a healthier option. We have twins (a boy and girl) who are 14 and who are both extremely slim and don't eat particularly well. We do have family discussions about "what is healthy," and I'm hoping that they will eventually practice moderation - mostly eating healthy items but sometimes indulging in sweets or other less nutritious food. - 2/7/2011   1:54:12 PM
  • 69
    My mom, RIP & God love her, would only feed me & my brother the things SHE liked, and, believe me, the amount of fruits and veggies was limited to canned stuff. I NEVER had broccoli or cauliflower or brussel sprouts until I moved out of my house and had dinner at boyfriends' folks houses. Mom had an affinity for sweets, as do I! I LOVE most veggies and a lot of fruits but they have to be cooked now as I have dentures and can only wear the uppers (got a REALLY bad fit initially and they refused to remake them!) cuz the lowers never fit and it's 19 yrs later than when I first got them. I have to peel and/or cut up fresh fruit which is ok if I'm at home (except bananas & grapes). I used to LOVE fresh veggies, but even steaming doesn't always soften them up enough! BUT back to the point ... YES parents choice of food DOES influence children and hopefully parents can recognize this when buying groceries and planning meals. I never had kids so I can't say that I had an influence in that respect. - 2/7/2011   1:21:05 PM
  • BIGJPICKLE
    68
    I am not sure if parents influence or not. I say this because as a child, my parents fed us healthy meals, dinners at the table, occasional sweets, occasional pizza or tacos out, but when I would have sleep overs at friends, they would have the sugary cereals that I never had and I would gorge myself on these foods as it was such a treat. Cereals, ice cream, general junk food that my parents didn't keep around. When I grew older and out on my own, I loved making my own choices and I didn't make great ones. I was a healthy weight for years until age caught up with me along with a sedentary lifestyle (work). It definitely helped to be fed a healthy diet while growing up, but I think what would have helped me more when it came time to make my own choices is to educate me as to why it's important to eat healthy. Unfortunately I see too many obese children these days and from friends I know that hardly ever make home cooked meals and rely on drive thru and junk food to get through their busy days. I have learned a little planning and preparation truly helps get through the week ahead. As for the young ones, I believe education is key. - 2/7/2011   10:05:47 AM
  • 67
    I believe I am still making an impact on my son's choices when it comes to eating. I prepare all the meals here: breakfast, lunch (he brings his to school), and dinners. I have both some healthy and unhealthy but in proportion snacks about. He sees by my example what I choose to put on my plate, what is considered a healthy selection in what's prepared with our meals: protein, veggies (at least 2 sides), and a carb. He's learning how to do proper portions on his plate and we we treat ourselves with meals at restraurants he makes his own right choices. When it comes to snacking I don't "outlaw" the chips which are in snack size bags but he does know for every unhealthy snack choices the next 2 need to be healthy- such as fruit, nuts, whole grain crackers, or chopped fresh veggies. He makes these selections on his own and when faced with the number of other choices out in the world I've seen him make better choices instead of giving fully in to peer pressure. - 2/7/2011   9:04:21 AM
  • 66
    i think are food foods i don't like to eat b/c i never learned to like them as a child,
    squash, liver, yuk! - 2/6/2011   11:53:07 PM
  • DORISJ8
    65
    Yes, I do think that parents are the most prominent influence on how children eat. The commercials do not buy the groceries, nor prepare the food. The parents are child's example in the home, for better or for worse. They do not learn negative behaviour without an example. - 2/6/2011   10:31:56 PM
  • 64
    It is hard raising a child who is overweight. Don't want to ruin his confidence, but I would like him to be healthy. It is even harder when you see what the schools are serving. Processed foords are everywhere and sure taste better than some healthy fruits and vegetables. I am lucky that my son will eat yogurt and some fruit, but he still heads straight for the junk. - 2/6/2011   6:13:28 PM
  • CIRANDELLA
    63
    When I was a kid, my mother did the best she could - always with kindness and compassion - to get me to lose weight, as I was a binge-eater from about age 8 onward. I'd load toast with butter and brown sugar, then run it under the broiler - and there might be about 8 or so servings of this concoction. Consequently, I was an obese child and hated it, but even through college I remained a compulsive/binge-eater.

    I don't know what the dynamics were, but my mom surely did the very best she could. - 2/6/2011   6:09:34 PM
  • 62
    I still believe we are the parent and we can provide all we can to help our children but our children will learn on their own there is a lot of outside influence but I hope that for the most part while they are young we still have a huge influence on them and if they see us cooking and making them part of it they will learn that and at least have that information to fall back on. It is a very fast paced world now and everything is there to make it convient even if its not the healthiest choices. Hopefully they will learn from us and we can teach them about portion control!!! - 2/6/2011   2:36:20 PM
  • 61
    One problem with behavioral modeling alone (meaning eating healthy foods as a family without discussion) is that you're relying on the kids to figure out what exactly it is you are modeling! Some researchers are finding in other areas, such as gender bias and racial prejudice, that 'showing' is not enough. Kids will observe but make up their own rules for what it is you are doing. So, for a young kid watching you shop, it wouldn't be unreasonable for the kid to think that you're picking up foods based on your own favorite photos on the box, or color, or that you're reaching up a certain distance above your head ... Age appropriate discussion really has to go along with the healthy role model. And, not having read the study, it does seem that for very young children the food the parent buys should have a strong influence on what they eat in side the home :) - 2/6/2011   2:24:36 PM
  • 60
    Yes and no. On the one hand, my mom (dad too) cooked very balanced and nutritious meals. If we had "fast food", it was a treat, not a meal. Yes, my parents did influence me to eat healthy as a child. Unfortunately, I was one of those kids who only wanted to eat burgers and hot dogs. Thus the reason for the yes and no.

    Yes, my parents encouraged me to eat healthy meals. But, no, I didn't want to eat them. LOL !!!!

    Of course, now I credit my family for teaching me how to cook really tasty and healthy meals. So, while I may not have wanted to eat them when I was young. I cook those meals for myself today.

    - 2/6/2011   1:39:44 PM
  • DDBRENNE
    59
    My parents ate a lot of bread and butter, pasta and other starchy stuff. I ate it too. It was all "white" bread, pasta and starchy stuff. I don't eat really any of that now. Sandwiches are a rare meal for me, and I use whole wheat. Pasta NEVER I actually hate it at this point. But bagels and pizza I still LOVE in moderation. My mom is overweight. My kids eat a healthy diet, but I have a picky one who only likes bread, pasta and starchy stuff. It is a struggle, but I vowed never tomake food a battle in my home, so I do my best and go with their flow. They are both in great BMI range and lower than average weight. I wish I had better modeling growing up, but hey pasta is cheap and mom probably made it because of that. - 2/6/2011   1:33:14 PM
  • 58
    I think it goes like this:

    If you model healthy eating, the kids may continue that in adulthood.

    If you model unhealthy eating, the kids will probably continue that into adulthood.

    Let's face it...very few people eat healthy foods in adulthood, regardless of whether it was modeled or not (most have to arrive at this on their own time). But NOT modeling that kind of healthy lifestyle, NOT teaching them to make better choices, NOT giving them optimal nutrition is a surefire way to create an unhealthy adult. I wish my parents had been more 'hands on' during my teen years with food, nutrition, and exercise. I feel like I'm having to re-invent the wheel at 32. - 2/6/2011   12:00:56 PM
  • 57
    Yes, parents influence what their children eat. My mother fixed very healthy, low-sodium meals and I brought that with me when I married. Our children eat low-sodium but due to spouses, now eat less veggies than they were exposed to and ate as children. When I babysat grands, I had them eating lots of different veggies but when they didn't need sitting anymore, they started eating like their parents--fried and salty more often than needed. Now they ask if we are having healthy food, if so, they won't come eat. lol - 2/6/2011   11:03:44 AM
  • 56
    I absolutely think that kids model their parents eating habits. If you have healthy foods in the house, kids will eat those. If you have junk foods in the house, kids will eat those. - 2/6/2011   9:34:45 AM
  • 55
    We grew up before the age of TV and fast food, so certainly ate what our parents put on the table. As a result we learned to love those vegetables we helped grow in the garden and to try all the unusual foods our parents also liked. (Unfortunately, we also acquired a "sweet tooth".) - 2/6/2011   8:06:03 AM
  • 54
    I agree parents should set a good example for eating habits, but unfortunately, they are probably going to lose the competition to the TV and its advertising unless they keep it turned off most of the time. Turning off the TV encourages children to develop creativity, exercise more, and form their own opinions about healthy eating. It also gives the parents more teachable moments. - 2/5/2011   10:52:31 PM
  • 53
    I don't see how anyone could think parent's don't influence their children. I have no doubt, my children ate Burger as children because I BOUGHT IT! I also have no doubt they enjoy healthy food as well because they watched me eat it. If I could go backwards, I would have never bought them any fast food. - 2/5/2011   10:20:40 PM
  • 52
    I think parents do influence their kids, at least at an early age. I'm divorced and my son idolizes his dad. So at his dad's house they eat badly and at my house I make healthy food. He refuses to eat many things and the words and comments he makes about the food are copies of what his father always said in the past. - 2/5/2011   9:15:56 PM
  • PPHILLIPS9
    51
    MY CHANGING MY EATING HABITS CERTAINLY HELPED MY DAUGHTERS SHE JOINED IN AFTER SEEING CHANGES IN MY WEIGHT LOSS AND NOW SHE IS LOSING MORE WEIGHT THAN ME SHE STARTED A TEEN SPARK SHE WORKS OUT WITH ME SHE CAN'T WAIT TO LOSE 2LBS AND BE UNDER 200LBS I STARTED AT 280LBS IN AUG 2010 NOW 238 SHE DID NOT JOIN IN UNTIL NOV AND HAS NOW LOST 20LBS I THINK LEADING BY EXAMPLE WORKS AT LEAST IN MY CASE MY SON IS ALSO LOSING HE WAS 289LBS IS NOW 241LBS IT IS NOW A FAMILY AFFAIR
    - 2/5/2011   8:51:14 PM
  • 50
    I have a feeling that part of the issue might be how much time the children and the parents really spend eating together, as well as how much time they spend together (or at least in proximity) when the food is purchased or grown and then prepared. Hopefully knowing what to do will serve them well, even if they choose to lapse for a short or longer period as they grow older.

    I very well remember my son in grade 2 come marching in after school one day. They were learning about eating healthy and their assignment was to ensure their lunch they brought for the next day was healthy. He had his food guide out and was scrutinizing my preparations intently. When he finally had everything checked off, he looked perplexed and said, but that's the kind of stuff you send me everyday. When I asked him what that meant he replied that it meant he took a healthy lunch to school everyday. To this day he likes his healthy lunches and shakes his head at the kids who bring "junk".

    My kids shop with me, they help cook and they help in the garden. Somewhere, somehow at least some of it has to rub off I think. - 2/5/2011   5:26:06 PM
  • 49
    My daughter was fed nothing but organic healthy food from the time she started solids foods at 12 months and that worked very well til she hit her teens, then it was junk, junk, junk in addition to the healthy food she was offered on a daily basis. She continued to maintain a healthy weight throughout and is now overseas at university. She has her own apartment and does her own cooking and when she shops she buys as much organic food as she can find in her small town. La Leche League taught me that you have to pick your battles and food should never be one of them. I was starved as an infant and as a teen by parents who were afraid I'd get fat. Well, here's the news, I've had a weight problem most of my adult life. Years of severely restricted calories trashed my metabolism and it's been a struggle to get it even remotely up to speed again. My daughter eats healthy and only when she is hungry 95% of the time, so I'm more than happy. - 2/5/2011   5:13:04 PM
  • LITTLEGIRLSMOM1
    48
    I raised 2 children and they ate what I ate. It was always a balanced meal and I never had desserts unless it was a holiday. Both of my children to this day still eat very healthy and still are not dessert eaters. But I do have to say that they did not watch alot of television growing up to be influenced. - 2/5/2011   4:06:55 PM
  • 47
    Parental influence diminishes in most areas as a child gets older. As the child starts school and meets other kids of different backgrounds, they learn more about what life is like on the "other side". This goes for food as well as most other things. For example, this is when a child who grew up without any television may be exposed to it for the first time. At this point, it becomes harder for the parent to wield influence, especially if the child decides that they like what they see on the other side.

    That said, I would think that children of parents who do not eat healthy are not going to develop healthy eating habits, even if they are exposed to them at school and through their friends. Not to say it will never happen, but I would think it would be difficult. - 2/5/2011   3:30:46 PM
  • 46
    As parents I believe we are our children's first & foremost teachers. We have many opportunities to "teach" in all aspects of life. I really try to include information when I say "yes" or "no" like Jen did with her 4 yr. old.

    There are MANY ways to teach and not all of them are positive. I don't want to "beat my kids up" with information either. I can guide, encourage, present, suggest, etc. But AS IN LIFE the child, as he or she grows, will have to decide for him/herself what they will do, be, choose, etc.

    I watch that now at home as I have 2 teen sons. My influence overall is minimal at this stage. Yet I don't discount my choices in lifestyle and my availability to talk about it when they are open and willing. - 2/5/2011   3:21:16 PM
  • 45
    Great blog, I do think if you feed your kids healthy food, they might make the choice of it, more often than not. We have to admit, healthy choices do taste much better, than the heavier, greasy fare. A treat now and then is fine though. - 2/5/2011   2:05:18 PM
  • 44
    GREAT BLOG THANKS.. I REALLY DO THNK THAT IF YOU FEED YOUR KIDS A LOT OF GOOD CHOICES AND A LOT OF DIFFRET KIND OF FOOD YOUR WAY BETTER OFF.. - 2/5/2011   1:59:06 PM
  • 43
    I think that most of the reports/studies of kids mimicking parents eating habits is with younger children. I have always tried to eat healthily. I only would use whole wheat, etc. When my kids were younger they didn't know anything else. And at times they did get picky, but nothing we couldn't work with. As they got older and went to friends houses they realized that their friends ate white bread, which they found out they loved. And so they would come home and ask why we didn't eat white bread and I would talk about wheat being healthier. They are now teens and while they are great kids, the one area they rebel in is about eating. Generally, my older son takes it as a challenge if something is "healthy". My younger son still complains that we don't eat white bread, so I compromise and get the whole grain white at times. Otherwise, when he's training (he's a runner) he will start to lecture me about nutrition, especially about the importance of carbs. His older brother takes anything healthy to be a challenge and something to debate, unless his coach talks about healthy foods. Realizing that the teen years are a time when our kids rebel to assert their independence, I'm going to be curious as they enter the adult years and are making more of those choices on their own. But, for now, we do have chips in the house and other foods that I didn't think would be around my house. I refuse to allow food to be an issue. We compromise a lot. I eat and cook healthy foods and allow them to make their choices for snacks and when they are choosing their meals. I will add in something healthier and they are accepting. One of my sons has decided he likes trail mix and will buy trail mix over chips, which is good. Right now I'm not allowing food wars to ruin these last few years with my kids. - 2/5/2011   1:56:45 PM
  • 42
    I think parents totally influence their children's choices. My mother was always adventurous in her choices and exposed me to a wide variety of foods. It inspired an open mind in me. She also didn't make things forbidden - she just gave alternatives to the standard junk food. I think it's made my choices healthier because of her influence. - 2/5/2011   1:40:59 PM
  • GMAGEE
    41
    This is always going to be an unresolved question, as the answers are anecdotal. As parents, my husband and I always cooked and ate mostly healthy, and, as a result, our daughter did too - at least when she was in our care. She was told from an early age, that if she saw something advertised on TV, she COULDN'T have it. That pre-empted trips to MacDonalds, etc. as well as similar requests. Sometimes, she initiated healthy eating habits which we then embraced as a family, as when she decided to be a vegetarian during her teen years. Now, unfortunately, ALL her healthy food habits are completely gone. We, however, have continued to keep to ours. So, what lasting influence did we, as parents, have on her? None I guess. But, while they're in our care, we should do the best we can to give them good nutrition in the right amounts.

    A recent study blames childhood obesity on working moms - again. I am SO tired of this easy answer. I come from a century-long line of full-time working women - both grandmothers and my mom and three aunts. They were normal weight, as were their children. My mother worked and all of us (five girls and one boy) were normal weight throughout our childhood, except for the youngest girl who was born with a weight problem and has struggled with it her entire life (50+ years). Interestingly, she was the only one who managed to influence my mother's food shopping habits, something the rest of us NEVER got away with. So, when she cried for sugary cereal, my mother would unfortunately give in to her. Working mom guilt? Probably.

    My mother struggled with weight issues later in life, but after six kids, who wouldn't? And, looking back on her weight (from 130-160 most of her life, but heavier later), by today's standards, she wasn't obese. Our diets back then (1950s) probably weren't the healthiest (think Wonder Bread), but she always put a balanced dinner in front of us and insisted we eat it. We never had soda or chips in the house and dessert was mostly canned or fresh fruit - cakes, etc. being the exception. And portion sizes were limited - probably because of the cost of feeding eight people. But we were very active as kids: after school and after Saturday chores and church on Sunday, we were pretty much outside playing, good weather or bad, until it got dark. - 2/5/2011   11:41:46 AM
  • 40
    Maybe because I am in my late 30s but my moms habits did have an impact on me and they still do. She is obese and healthy always wonder how that happens but then I think well I have her genes so I should be fine being obese and healthy too. Also growing up we did not have many sit down dinners and I watched her eat a lot of excess food. This is showing up these days in my life because I live alone I do not have sit down dinners and love to just eat! - 2/5/2011   11:37:29 AM
  • 39
    Its not just the parents' diet that impacts how children eat, it's having an open dialogue about nutrition and the reason why we make the choices we do. I have been talking to my son about nutrition since he was 3. Now he's 7 and HE chooses apples instead of fries when we go to Mcdonalds. He will also tell me sometimes that I should be drinking water instead of coffee. Talking about and demonstrating good eating habits has made more of an impact than hoping my children will watch and learn. There are wonderful activities on www.mypyramid.gov for kids! Its never to early to start talking about good nutrition. - 2/5/2011   11:35:23 AM
  • 38
    I understand that there are outside forces at work as well as the parents. However, I feel parents have some sort of impact. As an example, I have a student (named Jimmy for this story). Jimmy brings a home lunch everyday. Can you guess what is in his lunch pail? He has a bag of chips, some sort of gummy snack, a fruit roll up and a candy bar. No, I didn't forget to list the sandwich or healthy part because what I listed is what his mom sends him in his lunch every day. He is only 5 years old....what kind of example is this? - 2/5/2011   11:05:34 AM
  • PARISTASAI
    37
    It depends on how much time the child spends with the parent, and if they depend on the food at home to feed them. We homeschool and prepare meals together. My 23 yo daughter who lives on her own, prepares her own food, cooks in batches, avoids junk food and shops frugally. My 26 yo married college student son and his wife frequently call me for recipes and how to prepare food even though he works part time at a fast food joint. My middle son (20 yo) convinced a friend of his to come to our house for thanksgiving by saying, "The food is good! Everyone--all of my six siblings and I--in our house has learned to cook, and can make good food. I can even cook!" - 2/5/2011   10:14:33 AM
  • 36
    I think the change in family dinners has more to do with diminishing parental influence. When the whole family sits down to dinner together and discusses the days events: successes and failures, it is something enjoyable that fewer families now have. Family dinner has largely been replaced with eating individually or in front of the TV or in drive-ins and restaurants. And that lacks the sense of tradition that enjoins children to replicate the meals of childhood. - 2/5/2011   9:54:28 AM
  • DJS-DEBBIE
    35
    I do think it is important to set a good example and teach all things in moderation but let's face it, parents don't have nearly the impact that the outside world does, especially as they get older. Both of us have been non-smokers since before we were married, yet two of our three children smoke. I know I have been a bad eating example for my children, yet they all have different relationships with food and for the most part, they changed as they got older (while I didn't find SP until a couple of years ago). - 2/5/2011   9:32:48 AM
  • 34
    I've thought that for a long time. Parents can control what kids eat at home, be good role models and teach children about healthy eating, but once they start going to school their peers become very important and if they all eat a Big Mac it's a rare child who will not succumb to peer pressure. And where do the peers get it from? Some undoubtedly get it from home, but it's mostly advertising. Ever watch TV on Saturday mornings?

    There must be much stricter regulations around marketing to children, but governments are scared of interfering with business. After all, that's where parties get their financing from. - 2/5/2011   9:03:41 AM
  • 33
    I began this healthy journey later in life my children where grown and out of the home. When they come home they find my healthy style for dinner. Now my oldest is more influenced by her fiance who cooks "richly" and since they first got together she's gained at least 40 pounds ;-(
    When they come to visit, they insist on cooking - last week it was chicken in a cream sauce that you put over rice. In addition - they cook it at their home and transport it. I told them no need to make the rice - I have brown rice. "Oh mom, we don't like brown rice - white is bettter" I suggested a compromise - I'm having a less than what I feel is a healthy entree - they could have the brown rice. Long story short - they brought rice for them and told me I could make my own. At least I had the option of how much of the cream sauce to put over my chicken - and it was very tasty. Additionally, I was smart enough to make sure I had my veggie servings in before they got there - cause that was NOT a part of their menu.
    On the other hand my youngest daughter and her BF love trying my new recipes and are making them at home on their own.
    - 2/5/2011   8:51:08 AM
  • 32
    When my kids were little, we made a game out of finding all of the "tricks" the grocery store used to try to make us buy junk food. They're both teenagers now and still get a kick out of spotting sly marketing practices! - 2/5/2011   8:31:00 AM
  • 31
    I think that it is never too early to teach our children good eating habits. I wish that
    I did that with my children. They are all grown now and have some issues with food. This is one of the reasons I am on this journey. I want to be a good role model for my grandchildren. - 2/5/2011   7:53:37 AM
  • 30
    This is an ongoing battle. I have three grown children all in their 20s. When they were in high school a number of "us parents" complained about the unhealthy food choices they offered the kids at the school cafeteria. Well, eventually they introduced a salad bar and a few other healthy menu items. My kids still bought pizza and other unhealthy foods when they could. Like everything else that pertains to life, all we parents can do is teach and guide our kids the best we can, speak up when we need to and hope some of our guidance and wisdom sinks in. I'm happy to report all 3 of my kids are good people and hard working adults (but do make some bad health choices). I'm working on it. - 2/5/2011   6:35:03 AM
  • 29
    I think it's important to try to set a good example, but I totally agree that it is most important to not restrict all of what we could consider "bad" food from kids.

    I had a friend years ago who never let her kids have anything sweet and sugary, and she was very proud of that and I'm not going to say she bragged about it, but she really believed her kids had this exemplary diet. Several years later, when her son was in high school, he asked if he could do community service working in my office (I am the City Clerk of our city, and run our elections, which interested him). So he used to come in once a week and help us out, when we could drag him away from the vending machine. I kid you not, the boy would fill a trash can with wrappers from the vending machine, chips, candy, cakes.. So much for healthy eating. I am totally convinced that when you totally deprive a kid of that stuff, his was a typical reaction "when the cat is away."

    It's a fine line, and I don't always walk it as well as I'd like to (sometimes restricting too much, sometimes giving in too easily). But we tell our son that there are foods that are really good for you and other foods that are not so good for you, and that the ones that aren't so good for you should be eaten in moderation. I love watching him make good choices (not that he always does, but it's a process..). - 2/5/2011   6:15:23 AM
  • HOPSAN012
    28
    We can only give out children the tools the need to be able to make the right choices. My kids sometimes shock bypassers when we play the "sugargame" at the foodstore. They compete to find the cerial, with the most sugar. That way I make them aware that even in ordenairy cornflakes some have twice the amount of sugar that ours have.
    Eating is more complex than just knowing what, how and when to eat! If it were that simple, most of us would not be here.
    Unfortunately eating is much more complex than just knowing the right thing to buy and eat, if it was, them most of us would not be here.
    Giving children insight is a
    Food is so much more complex - 2/5/2011   5:51:41 AM
  • HOPSAN012
    27
    To be deleted - 2/5/2011   5:48:47 AM
  • HOPSAN012
    26
    To be deleted - 2/5/2011   5:45:07 AM

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