Monday, January 21, 2013

I don't think that it is bad to teach my child what a healthy portion size is.

I was reading a bit about a woman who wrote a book about her 7 year old needing to shed a few pounds and the journey she took with her to help make that happen.

It is here that I stop you and tell you that I have not read the book.

I can tell you that my daughter is tall, 4' 6 1/2", at the new age of 9.  She was born to a woman who was 5' 1" and 300 pounds.  My daughter's build is not that of a ballerina and her genetic disposition is not of a ballerina, either.  K carries a bit in her mid-section, but she is in the mid-range of normal for BMI given her height and weight.

We watch what we eat at our house.

Lately, I've been taking to teaching K what a "serving size" is.  Just like today, I bought a bag of M&M snack mix.  I normally don't do that, but PMS called and I misread the package.  I was an idiot and thought it was M&M pretzels.  Still, I showed her on the package where it said what the serving size was.  We went to the drawer, pulled out the correct measuring cup and measured it out.  I taught her that the serving that they are referring to was a level serving and not a heaping one.  She got herself an appropriately sized bowl and skipped off happy.  It had almonds, pretzels, raisins and M&M's.  I can't recall the calories, but I didn't press that with K.  What is important is to teach her what a reasonable serving size is.  I also think that it is ridiculous to think that a child shouldn't have a snack that doesn't involve some sugar.

That is what it sounds like this mom did.  She stated that she had her daughter eat one cupcake and not two.  That's not unreasonable.  However, again, I didn't read the book.  I'm just talking about the serving size situation.

We've downsized what plates we use.  Hubs and I use what would be classified as "salad plates."  K has a set of bowls and plates from IKEA.  Those are a perfect serving for what she needs to eat.

We've changed what we eat even more over the past year.  Whole wheat, whole grains, vegetarian, whole foods, more cooking from scratch . . . that sort of thing.  We do eat at the table.  We do talk about the important things of the day.  Some are funny.  Some are funky.  We hash it out as a family.

K and I have been talking about the evening snack.  She could snack herself to death if I let her, but after dinner, we've decided that a before bed snack is a string cheese.  She's good with that.

When school started, K was very upset because it seemed that every skirt or pair of pants she tried on didn't zip.  I felt so bad for her.  She does carry a little bit of a Buddha baby belly and anymore, the cut on pants don't exactly accommodate for her figure.  She, like her older sister, will thin out over time.  I'm not concerned about that.  I was worried about how she was seeing herself.  One day I came into her bedroom in a pair of pants I hadn't worn in a while.  Rounding the corner to 40 hasn't helped the metabolism and these pants were tight around the middle.  I came to her and said, "K, I need help zipping my jeans."  She looked up and was kind of relieved.  "Babe, you aren't the only one around here with pants that won't zip.  We'll eat even healthier and that will help us out."

Much of the time, I pack K's lunch.  Lunches have changed enough for me to allow her to get a handful a month.  (Thank you, Michelle Obama!)  Still, they have pizza once a week and I wouldn't allow K to eat it even if it didn't throw her reflux into a spin.  Pizza at our house is on multi grain crust with tomato sauce, veggies and Morningstar crumbles and a light layer of cheese.  You don't have to mop the top of my pizza.  In K's lunch I pack fresh vegetables and fresh fruits in a stainless steel bento box.  She's that kid (probably one of the few) that comes with a lunch that isn't labeled "Lunchables" on the outside.  I used to send her apple juice in her water bottle until one day she said, "Can you just send water?  That's all I want, Mom."  Um, yes.  Duh!  I send her a turkey wrap on a whole wheat tortilla.  If she has a want for pudding, I make her pudding cups.  I don't buy those shelf stable snack packs from the store.  She still loves Goldfish (or Chickadees from Target) and enjoys a stick of cheese, too.  Her class is on the last of the lunch rotation, so her teacher allows them to have a snack mid-morning.  I pack her good granola bars (Kashi or Clif generally) or a Quaker Stila fruit bar.  (I can't recall exactly what they are called.)

I've found that K is looking at calories on boxes.  She's not obsessed with it, but she'll tell me, "Mom, your cereal has 120 calories."  I'm not teaching her that, but I don't think it is harmful for her to read the side of a food box, either.

I sit and think about the family member that we have that is basically food obsessed with their children and it disturbs me.  Hubs and I talk about this family situation and he says that these children are acting out because they are hungry.  He said that if he lived in there, he'd act out, too.  (Yes, the children are fed, but very regimentedly so.  Yes.  I just made up my own word.  It is appropriate, though.)

What are your thoughts on children, serving sizes and teaching portion control?  Don't worry.  I print opinions on both sides.  Constructive criticism is a good thing.  Just be kind, please.


Felicia said...

Although our children don't have a weight problem we also do appropriate portions. We also allow sweet snacks and believe that it is all about moderation.

Rach said...

I was rather irritated that the mom was taking so much flack for helping her child be more healthy. People judge when they see a "fat" child, and now they're judging because she did something about that.

It's no secret that around these parts I'm a calorie counting nut. It has helped me lose 35 pounds and will help me continue to do so.

In today's age of Super Sizing, I'm not surprised folks don't know what a "portion size" is. I don't think it's a bad thing for kids to be aware of portion control.

Around these parts we refer calories as energy units, as that is what they are.

We're on the flip side of things with the Bean. I'm working on packing as many calories into her as I can so she'll continue to gain weight and grow. And, with Bitty as tiny as she is, same goes.

We eat quite healthfully here, but we also have junky snacks. It's all about portion control and balance.

Bailey's Leaf said...

Hubs bought me the movie Super Sized Me from the thrift this past holiday season. He was going to put it in my stocking, but thought the better of it. (I'm glad!) My point is that it is a great movie and good for truly demonstrating portion size gone out of control. K hasn't watched it. It's not fully appropriate for her, though I may be able to skip a few things here and there.