I know how hard a healthy lifestyle can be with kids around. It seems there is always a plethora of junk to eat and, trust me, I know all about how sometimes the only chance a busy mama has to eat is when she’s stealing leftover Teddy Grahams from her three year old. We’ve all been there and most likely we will all be there again. Hey, that happens sometimes. Don’t beat yourself up over it. A mom’s got to do what a mom’s got to do. But here are some easy important tips to helping reign in that snack stealing habit in:
First off, planning your daily meals from the time you wake up until the time you go to bed will become your super hero power of restraint against that mindless snacking. Have a list of go to’s for every meal and be prepared for your ever changing life!
That means pack yourself a snack when you are on the move. Have a selection of easy to eat on the go foods for all of your meals. We all know that sometimes that’s where life is going to take you and it’s when you’re not prepared that those snack stealing tendencies start to rear their ugly heads. High quality protein bars and trail mix are my go to’s!
OK, the next one may not always be the most cost efficient or least wasteful but I’ve found it works for my family. When it comes to snack foods for my kids I almost always try to buy them in individualized pre portion bags. The reason I do this is because I would notice myself mindlessly snacking when I would dish my kids out a snack. I’d give them a couple crackers and then I’d have a few. A few crackers no big deal, right? Well, it doesn’t take much to add up to a hundred calories and when you are doing that multiple times a day it really adds up. Plus, I would notice I would do it for the wrong reasons. I wasn’t eating because I was hungry, but because I could, or it was just a couple, or I didn’t want the rest of the bag to go to waste. Whatever my excuse was, it was not ever a very valid one. I do usually split up the small bags between my kids during snacks, if we aren’t on the go. This makes it less wasteful and also keeps their portion sizes in check. Added bonus!
My next tip for keeping your eating in check in a world that can sometimes be dictated by motherhood is to learn your trigger points. We all have those things. A bag of Ruffles and french onion dip or a box of Peanut Butter Patties. We all have those things that we just can’t say no to. I’m for sure not saying to never enjoy those things but I am saying that if you know if there is a bag of Doritos in your house you are going to end up eating the whole thing, well then it probably shouldn’t be in your house. The more you spend time planning your meals, the more you will become aware of those trigger points and won’t even want to put yourself in a position of becoming weak to them. For example, I love to bake. In the healthy eating preschool cooking class that I teach we make a lot of healthy baked goods. So great and fun to share with my family!! Um…not always so much!! The problem I have found is when I bake things I totally end up overeating. I think I tell myself, “I made it! I don’t want it to go to waste!” And then I eat an entire loaf of banana bread in a day! No matter how “healthy” it is, a whole loaf of banana bread in a day may be excessive. So baking things. YES, BAKING THINGS, is a trigger for me. And, yes, I still love to bake but knowing about my “problem” helps me keep things in check. I just know that when I’m going to bake I need to separate part of it for immediate eating and store/freeze the rest, or I treat my baking as a treat. I relax and enjoy what I made but try to keep in mind that just like with all treats I don’t need to go nuts.
The last tip I have for you ties in with knowing your trigger points. It’s to remember that you are your children’s teachers when it comes to growing up and living a healthy lifestyle. Remember how we talked about forgetting about all that stuff from the past? Most of us ladies have grown up with all sorts of diet, health and fitness garbage filling our heads. This is your chance to change that for your children. Be real about health and nutrition with your kids. Kids need to learn about the importance of food fueling their bodies. They also need to know the importance of making healthy choices. Fill your home with a variety of healthy foods and make that their normal lifestyle. Don’t get me wrong, my kids have had Pop Tarts before but they also have quinoa on a regular basis. It’s all about balance. A treat is a treat. Treats aren’t special if you have them all the time. Enjoy them with the special satisfaction that they aren’t something you can have all the time. That’s why they are a treat! What a great life tool to share with your children by instilling that in them in an early age!!