Thursday, November 19

Portion control and children

Since I talked yesterday about portion control I thought I would share a few stories about portion control and my girls. One of my goals as a mother is to help teach my girls to have self-control in all areas of their lives. This is obviously easier said than done, but a goal none-the-less. We have taught our girls that they need to eat the healthy food first and then they may have dessert. We have also tried to teach them why they need to eat the healthy food first. Their bodies need it to grow healthy and strong and their brain needs the food to be able to think better in school, but also that eating a little dessert at the end of a meal is always an option. We also teach them that we eat dessert last so if we are full we do not need to eat the whole dessert. We teach them flat-out that dessert is not something that is “good” for our bodies, but a little in moderation is okay. They are then teaching themselves how to regulate when they are full. They have eaten the good food to fill themselves up but can still enjoy a little of the dessert if they have room.

For example, my oldest daughter absolutely LOVES donuts. (She gets that from her grandma)! What amazes me is that she has learned that if she is full, she will leave half the donut on her plate. She does not feel the need to eat the whole thing. That is amazing to me. That is what I want. I think that it is a combination of her personality, her knowledge that she will be able to have a donut at another time, and that she is learning to “read” her own body. Since we allow her access to sweets she does not feel the need to shove her face when something sweet is put in front of her. We are also starting to see a little of this happening in our 3 year old as well. I will say she has much more of her mommy’s sweet tooth than Abigail, but she is slowly learning as well. Today at lunch she ate about 5 bites of a piece of apple pie and left the rest saying she was full. Now, please know that this is a process and my girls have a long way to go, but I am seeing progress.

I also think it is worth saying that we all need to know our own weaknesses. I have jars of candy on my kitchen counter, usually with Peanut M&M’s or Hot Tamales. Every time someone comes over they say, “I could never have that in my home, I’d eat the whole jar.” For whatever reason I am not tempted to eat more than a handful of these particular candies so I can have them there. Now if the jars were full of Peanut Butter M&M’s or chocolate covered raisins, I would not have the same level of self-control. I think that is part of being healthy: not putting ourselves in a situation where we continually fail. But it is equally important to teach our children how to control when there are full and that not finishing a treat is okay and often a really healthy choice.

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