This is the journal I am keeping about our “health(ier) eating boot camp.” Feel free to read along! When referring to my kids I’m just using their first initials. N- is a 12 year old boy, R- is a 10 (almost 11) year old girl, and L- is a 4 1/2 year old girl.
Tuesday, July 1
I had my kids measure their macaroni and cheese at lunch today. Yeah weird, I know. But my kids like to eat a lot of it, so I thought it would be good to know how much a good portion size is. Since the goal at lunch today was 2 ounces of grains, that meant everyone should have one cup of macaroni and cheese. I measured mine first, and then let them each measure theirs. I told them they could eat less than one cup, but not more. L- needed some help measuring hers, and technically, she should have had less than the rest of us, but I didn’t think of it at the time. I don’t think she even ate all of what she was served, so it doesn’t really matter.
Changing the Rules
I realized at dinner last night that I need to modify our rules. (I tend to do that when I set goals 🙂 ). But some of the rules just don’t feel right, and I know that we won’t stick with them the way they are. So, as I said before, you can read the “inspiration rules” here. But these are the modified rules that I am now using. (Note: these rules just apply to the two week “boot camp” period. After that I’m free to abandon some or even all of them if I want to.)
Meal Planning Rules – (these are primarily for me)
- Plan one week at a time with breakfast, lunch, dinner and an afternoon snack included. (Note: there is no obligation on my part to follow the plan exactly. I always feel free to move meals around when I meal-plan dinners, so I’m allowing myself the same freedom here. The meal plan just serves as a guide.)
- Try to plan with the USDA guidelines in mind.
- Provide a dessert after dinner each day. We eat plenty of treats and sweets around here, but not necessarily an official dessert each night. The ultimate goal is to lessen the total amount of junk food consumed, but also to not take away the fun completely. Dr. Kennedy explains in her book that when everything is totaled up (as far as food group servings and calories go), there is enough room for about one treat per day. She recommends giving it at the end of the day after appropriate amounts of the other foods are eaten. Realistically there will still be days when more than the one treat is eaten, and I think we all know that three bites of food is not even close to the appropriate amounts of any of the food groups, but it’s all a work in progress, right?
- Allow one child to plan at least one meal each week (but give them the guidelines they should follow).
- Everyone tries three bites of every food. The consequence for not trying the three bites is “no dessert after dinner.” If they refuse to eat them at an earlier meal – say, breakfast for example — then I will save the food for later. They can have an opportunity to try that same food at lunch, snack, and even dinner, but if they still refuse by the end of the day then I let them know that they are choosing to not have dessert that evening. I haven’t decided exactly what I will do if the food doesn’t save well. We will have to “cross that bridge when we come to it.”
- Everyone serves themselves and chooses their own portions — within reason. L- seems to be more comfortable with being served, so I will serve her.
- At the end of every meal, say “thank you for [breakfast, lunch, etc]” and ask if you may be excused from the table. Then I will say, “Did you try at least three bites of everything?” and “Are you full?” I may advise them on eating a little more that I’m confident they can do, and then excuse them from the table.
You may have noticed the absence of the one rule that was originally my own — that “everyone helps with the cleanup.” We do need that, but I feel like this is enough for now, so I deleted it.
I like these rules because they are not too scary, yet they still stretch us out of our comfort zone a little bit.
Thoughts? Insights? Feel free to share in the comments below!