Eating Less When The Kids Are Eating More
By Ann Zeise
Losing weight with big kids around all day every day can be a mighty big challenge. Typically big kids are in some sort of growth spurt, and they want a lot to eat. They also are in motion enough that their weight looks pretty good on them. But when you try to fix meals to please the whole family, and eat what they do, but don’t move around to burn calories as fast as the kids, you tend to put on weight rather than lose it.
Take time to include healthy eating and exercise habits in each homeschooling day.
The basic key is to eat smaller portions and to exercise more.
Let’s start with portion control.
Forget the Clean Plate Club. You won’t be shipping uneaten food to starving people. As my father used to say, ” No matter what, too much food all goes to “waist” anyway!”
A serving size for most foods is 1/2 cup, 4 oz. If you are using food from a box, learn to read the nutritional information. It will tell you what amount equals one serving. Let the kids start with one serving of each item, but let them go back for seconds, not you.
Teens often will not listen to Mom’s advice, so try to get a coach or athlete to tell them what to eat to maintain athletic strength and energy. I asked my son, away at college, if he was eating right. And he told me he was making careful food choices, listing the various food groups. I sighed, and told him I was glad he’d remembered what I taught him. He paused, and said, “Well, I met this cute girl on the swim team, and she told me what I should be eating!”
Have healthy snacks on hand at home, and have caloric treats like ice cream or cookies when you are out. The price alone will keep portions small. The temptation to go back for more won’t be there.
Often kids will come to enjoy healthy foods! Our daughter used to love to have dill pickles around for a fun snack! She’d head for the pickle jar before the cookie jar!
Start each morning with a walk. Talk about your plans and goals for the near future. Kids often like talking while they walk, and you’ll better be able to have child led learning if you hear them out.
Too often park days mean the kids run around while the parents all lounge around in canvas chairs. Convince one homeschool friend to spend part of the park day taking a walk around the park. Try to walk at least a mile if not two. Tell your child and another parent where you will be, but try to stay in shouting range.
Keep a cell phone on you, and give your child one, too.
When you drop off your kid at some program, spend the time waiting by taking a walk, or shopping at a new store.
Buy The Ultimate Homeschool Physical Education Game Book so you’ll have lots of ideas of how to teach sports skills when your “team” only consists of an adult or two and kids of different sizes. There are ways to handicap so that teams are fairly equal to get points.
If you belong to a gym, convince the owner to allow you to supervise your older child on the equipment. Pay a trainer to teach you and your child how to use the equipment safely. It will be worth every penny!
Join a walking or hiking group. Our local mall opens an hour early one day a week so that walkers can stroll and not be tempted to stop and shop. For a number of years we belonged to an orienteering club, and so learned how to use a compass on and off trails. It was a fun way for the whole family to get out and hike. If you can’t find a group, start one. It just takes one additional friend to make a walking group!
Make a point of finding walking field trips at least twice a month. Tour lovely natural areas when the weather permits, or tour factories when it isn’t.
Use your computer to find trail maps, and then get offline and go walk! Google “trail maps” and your county name.
I’ll be adding more tips to this page as community members send me ideas or I think of more. I’m not looking so much for general weight loss tips, so much as you manage to eat right with kids around, too.
See also ~ Keeping Mom Fit While Homeschooling