Apparently I put too much food on my kids’ plates. It doesn’t matter how little or how much, it’s always too much. Usually by one bite.
I’m not a staunch eat-everything-on-your-plate kind of mom. I think that teaches kids the wrong mentality about eating, and well, we’ve got enough eating disorders in this country as it is. I am all about teaching my kids good, healthy eating habits. Such as:
1. Eat when you are hungry and stop when you are full.
2. Don’t mindlessly shove chips or ice cream into your mouth while watching the TV.
3. If you want a snack then eat a snack, but be mindful of what you are eating and how much.
4. Balance out your meals with grains, proteins, and vegetables.
5. Use portion control at all times.
Even on dessert nights I don’t allow them more than a good-sized scoop of ice cream or a reasonable slice of cake. And the only time we eat while watching TV is when I make popcorn and then everyone gets their own bowl with a certain amount and no more, or occasionally we have a pizza party, which is when we eat our pizza while watching a movie.
Do you realize that mindless eating while watching TV can increase your calorie intake anywhere from 300 to 1500!? And if you’re already eating your regular three meals aka 2500 calories a day then you really, really don’t need extra. Plus you’re not burning those extra calories either while watching TV so it’s all going straight to your blood (watch out diabetes) and to your fat cells. I myself don’t even have to eat anything calorie-ladden. All I have to do is look at it and imagine the taste and the calories have been added. I might as well just tape that donut to my thighs.
Obviously, I avoid donuts…
So when it comes to my kids I really try to stress healthy eating. Not because I personally fear an eating disorder, but because I want them to be healthy and to make healthy choices when they grow up. When I serve up a plate of food in my house, I generally ladle up portions that fit the child. Number One is a growing, hungry soon-to-be 15 year old boy. He will eat more in a sitting than even his father. I know to give One the bigger serving.
Number Two is a smaller eater. Because he takes medication for his SPD/ADHD I know he isn’t likely to eat lunch, so I give him very small helpings and urge him to take at least a few bites of each. Some meals he really enjoys and will eat most of it, others he will not. Since my goal is to feed him up at breakfast and dinner it doesn’t really bother me what he does or doesn’t finish at lunch. But it never fails how he always leaves one bite on his plate.
This morning was a perfect example. Number One asked for a fried egg. Number Two doesn’t like eggs as much so instead I gave him a small serving of cottage cheese. Both boys got 2 pieces of turkey bacon and 1 slice of cinnamon toast. As usual when Number Two got up from the table to put on his shoes and coat, there was one little bite of cottage cheese and one little piece of bacon left. He does this every time. Occasionally Number One does, too. What does this mean?
Being a budgeting mom, food and money come dear. I was a stockpiler before stock-piling became cool, and I actually had to put that into a much healthier perspective over the years. Hubby would wonder at my need for an over-flowing pantry or a refrigerator so full that you could barely maneuver around the contents. But honestly I couldn’t articulate where it was coming from or why I needed it to feel so secure. And it was hard to justify spending so much on a weekly basis at the grocery store on things that ended up in the garbage bin. I still stock pile when I have the coupons to match the sale. That’s just smart shopping. I still think having a full pantry is a good idea. I am not knocking the practice. I just realized that I need to re-evaluate why I was doing it and also to find a healthier, less expensive way to do it.
The single bites of food baffle me; to always become too full to finish your food right at the point of leaving one tiny bite left. My kids are a delight in so many ways- even those ways which twang my every last nerve. And it never fails to amaze me either how Two will forever try to negotiate eating only half of what’s on his plate, no matter how much I put on there. Obviously I serve him portions which are reasonable and would prefer little to no waste, and yet he still says, “How much of this do I have to eat?”
And then I have to say, “How about just one last bite?”
And then one more?
And maybe just one more?