To ask how you feed your family & love a healthy lifestyle?(53 Posts)
I've cautiously decided to put this post here as I couldn't quite work out what other subject it episode accurately fit under- my question is about feeding my family healthy food & making healthy choices when I'm overweight myself & eat unhealthy foods.
The good news if any is I realise this has to stop. My DH had part of his pancreas & his spleen removed recently due to suspected pancreatic cancer but by some miracle it turned out to be benign. He has shed 5st just by cutting out crap & making better choices but he did become a bit obsessive at one point . Our DD is nearly 3 & I see that she is given lots of sweet treats like biscuits, cakes, brioche my DH & my family. I feel that if I was stricter about my own diet & about what we do & do not eat as a family this would make these things a treat rather than the norm. I was always overweight as a child & DD is 98 percentile for both height & weight last check so just in proportion I guess but I worry the sweet stuff has made her out on a bit of extra weight recently as she has a bit of a tummy.
I hope I don't sound passive in this, I know how horrible as well as unhealthy it is to be overweight as a child & I really don't want that for a range of reasons for my DD- and I dont want to carry on being overweight myself. I've tried very diet but not a lot lend themselves to making good choices for your family as a whole if that makes sense & I think with DD it's more about creating & encouraging good habits than a diet.
So what can I do for us as a family that is sustainable & will help us all to live a much healthier lifestyle?
Title should read live not love. Although if you love it that would be equally welcome advise too!
For your daughter, it should be as simple as cutting out the sweet stuff, maybe if you don't buy it/have it in the house then she won't be asking for it. Ask your family to only give her stuff at the weekends, and set limits on the amount she can have (eg a cake, or a biscuit, not both). And not having sweet stuff in the house will help you too, hopefully. I find if there's junk in the house I will eat it, if there isn't en it's very rare I can be bothered to go out to the shop and get some- and if I do at least I walk there and back which goes some way to justifying it!
Thanks lurking, so also (bad I should have mentioned in OP) how do you sort out meal planning/ ensuring you have healthy stuff for tea? That's y other downfall & DD eats a lot of beans on toast type stuff as I've not been organised enough. God that sounds even worse typed out. I'm so fucking embarrassed.
Batch cooking! Having healthy home cooked stuff in the freezer ready to microwave really helps.
How much excercise do you all get? Going for walks, bike rides, running about in the park.
Hello OP, first off congratulations on deciding to change that's the hardest part. Would your dd accept fruit/vegetable sticks as a snack ? My 2 do get cakes and biscuits but not everyday and only after having something healthy. In terms of healthy meals I think beans on toast is ok (with whole grain bread), better than chips anyway. Would your dd eat vegetable soup with bread ? We have this a couple of times a week in the winter, warming but not fattening.
Have no snacks except fruit/ raw veg and nuts/ seeds t home. If anyone is hungry they will eat them but not of enough enough interest to just eat for the sake of eating
Cook and freeze basics that make a quick meal. Ie cook down a load of tomatoes ( fresh or tin), with lots of veg. Easier way is to just roast it all. Then blitz with blender and freeze into toddler or family size portions. Then if you want to just add to pasta when little time it is at least full of nutrients
Maybe try and cook a new healthy meal every week to try and explore new things. Let your daughter help
I agree, stop buying the sweet stuff in the weekly shop, except for biscuits (obviously!). Buy more exotic fruit; pomegranates, mangoes, papaya, passion fruit and offer those instead for treats. Ime, children love new things and so will you.
Eat together and eat the same things to show dd they're tasty and nothing to be afraid of. Dd told me last night that she loved Brussel sprouts and kale and I can say its only because DH loves them and I've upped the greens in our diet after developing anaemia in this pregnancy.
Try new recipes to make boring food exciting.
Encourage exercise by walking and playing together. Instead of parking close by, park further away. Go on long walks in the park.
I think it's about breaking a mindset - that kids "need" and "deserve" treats. My lovely MIL does this constantly with my kids to the extent I have suggested she "treats" them in non-food ways. She is very overweight and food is a crutch to her and I don't want my kids learning this behaviour, even if it is out of love.
I don't think beans on toast is that bad. It's my emergency meal. I make a large pot of soup each week that lasts at least two lunches - usually red lentil/potato/carrot.
beans on wholemeal toast is good. got all the essential amino acids, nd portion of veggies in one. (low sugar and salt versions)
swap to wholemeal pastaa, brown rice, whole meal bread
I second the suggestion of batch cooking. It's much easier to eat healthily when you make it easy for yourself.
I think my dd eats pretty healthily on the whole, but one thing I'm keen to do is get more exercise as a family. She does lots of active clubs at the moment, so she does get lots of exercise in her normal week, but I want to build a bit more into our everyday lifestyle - walking, chucking a frisbee round etc. Is this something you could do more of?
I did Slimming World and have incorporated a few of their ideas into our family eating longer term, though now I'm at target I don't count anything. The general principle is you base most of your eating on their free foods which is lean meat, fish, eggs, quorn, fresh fruit and veg, potato, rice, pasta, couscous. One third of very meal should be fruit and veg. We don't have pudding on offer other than yoghurt or fruit, except on special occasions.
The stuff which in SW speak would be syns (cake, biscuits, chocolate, processed foods) isn't banned but if this is your weakness I'd try not to have it in the house in any quantity.
SW magazine has a weekly menu planner and lots of nice family friendly recipes - worth trying for some ideas.
Good on you op for recognizing you need to make the changes!
I agree with the others, don't have the sweets and junk in the house. If it's not there then you won't eat it. Sit down with your dd and DH and try figure out alternate snacks to replace those sweet cravings. The internet has lots of great suggestions.
Make a meal plan for the week, it's so much easier to maintain eating healthy this way.
Batch cooking, good healthy meals can be frozen.
Is there an activity that you all might enjoy doing together like swimming?
Homemade food, eaten together. It's actually hard to be unhealthy if you do this. Things like spaghetti bolognese, curries, fish pie or shepherd's pie, roast chicken dinners are all super easy and vehicles for plenty of vegetables. It doesn't have to take long.
Baked beans are fine! Our go-to meals are baked beans, scrambled eggs, omelette, filled wholemeal pittas.
Go ti the supermarket today and buy
Large bag of pasta (wholemeal is better but ordinary is fine)
6 tins of chopped tomatoes (more if they're on offer)
mince (lean as you can afford)
Make as big a batch of spaghetti bolognese as you can manage (can give you a v simple recipe if needed) and freeze it portions (you can use freezer bags for this - they take up less room) . You can cook the pasta but it's usually better to do that fresh as needed.
That's one healthy tasty meal you can have one day a week for as long as it lasts.
Re exercise she is active in terms of swimming lessons, tumble tots etc but as toddlers are always seems to have plenty of energy to do more so I think it would be a good idea to include some family stuff as well like you have suggested so swimming or long walks. On Monday we went on a woodland walk with one mum friend & her twins & then in the afternoon a trip to the big park to meet another friend & her DC. We were both work out by the end of the day but in a nice calm sort of way if that makes sense?
Yes batch cooking is also a good idea (though something I seem to find it hard to make time for)
Dd does love fruit & to a lesser extent veg but will eat it so could replace those as snacks for us all.
I agree with the poster who said that their MIL gives treats out of love. After dd has had a cake or whatever & if she asks for another one & I say no my parents look at me like I'm cruel. Then my mum says "oh darling what can I do if mummy says no!" Like I'm being mean and it's normal to just eat 2/3 cakes in a row! We see my parents a lot & when they offer dd something it's always something sweet kind of food. I just think about how I was brought up by them & how that's contributed to my weight problem although I realise it's now my problem now I'm an adult.
Are you one of my relatives?!
My family are like that - eat way too much crap themselves and constantly giving excessive sweets and cakes to my kids. And I do mean excessive. I'm considered an utter loon for not having biscuits or cakes in the house "in case of guests" - problem with that is I eat them! When they buy the stuff, I thank them, say something about not spoiling lunch/dinner and put them out of sight in the kitchen. I often end up throwing much of it away. I know they mean well but they are all also hugely obese and my Nan and my Mum are diabetic. It's not "harmless" like they think.
I grew up with a crap diet and have learned habits that have been hard to break as an adult. If I can save my kids from that, I will.
I second what everyone else has said - learn to cook (I did and it's really easy!), lots of exercise and learn to bake too. It feels so much nicer to have the occasional cake you made yourself than just piles of rubbish from the shop!
Avoid any ready made sauces as they are incredibly unhealthy and making your own is cheaper.
We don't snack much at all, I was not brought up to snack and am so ancient it was still deemed quite unacceptable to eat in the street.
Your MIL sounds well meaning but a big part of the problem, your DH should speak to her about it in a kind but firm way.
I read on MN once that weight gain was governed mainly by what was eaten and a much smaller part was down to exercise unless you were an Olympic athlete type that burned off thousands of calories in training. If anyone knows the % breakdown can they post it. I think it was 70% food 30% exercise but I'm unsure.
Op well done on making this decision!
I can definitely relate to the gp thing- my mums the same with saying oh it's only one etc etc but I stick to my guns and ignore the eye rolling.
Totally agree with batch cooking. We sit down and come up with a menu for week ahead which always includes at least three ( but more often more) meals that freeze well. So I'll be cooking it anyway but pad it out with extra veg etc so that we have it for food that night and then freeze portions in family size meals and in toddler size meals. This means that when we're having a meal that DS won't eat, he can still have a healthy home cooked meal without me cooking twice that night.
Re finding the time to cook, investing in a big casserole pot has changed my life!
I've got 3-4 meals that involve little more than throwing a load of ingredients into the pot and sticking into the oven, so I tend to stick DS in front of peppa (yes, and I don't feel guilty) for 15 mins at 6, get it all in the oven, then do bedtime and have a lovely meal ready by 8, which cooks itself, so I can get on with other things! I always make extra so one portion goes in the fridge for DS lunch and another portion in the freezer. It's things like sausage stew, chicken and rice, rich bolognese, risotto, with lots of veg thrown in
My family are exactly the same with treats and I've just decided not to stress about it, as I don't want to make it jnto an issue. If DS eats well at home, that's the main thing.
Well done, OP, a very big and important decision you've made.
You could try asking your husband to help with meal and food planning, unless he is still annoying about it.
Maybe sit down together and think of a few healthy meals you all like (roast chicken and veg, salmon and couscous, tuna pasta, whatever YOU all like) and do an online shop for those meals. Do make time to cook, it is just part of the routine here. Prioritising food is hard and sometimes boring, but it just does matter a lot.
For after school snacks, I try to keep it to fruit and rice cakes type things, with the odd biscuit. My kids do expect pudding every evening which I wish wasn't the case, but I give them tinned fruit a couple of times a week, and yoghurt, so it isn't all ice cream! Jelly, crisps, and cakes are all pretty rare now.
And lovely family walks and swims and so on are great at weekends.
I would make stepwise changes if you are feeling a bit disorganised, otherwise you will get overwhelmed. I think beans on toast is fine for dinner one night per week, maybe scrambled eggs on toast another night.
If you can make bolognese I would start by doing a batch of this maybe over the weekend. Make sure you have enough plastic tubs to freeze some portions - for all of you if you tend to eat together, or separate smaller ones if your DD eats earlier (I love the brother max ones). Have this once a week (you could probably even have it twice at this stage if you are struggling for other ideas).
Do the same with a chicken casserole type dish, lentil soup, mince-in-gravy type dish. Over the next few weeks I mean not all at once. Teach yourself how to make cheese sauce (add to pasta with peas/broccoli as a quick easy meal. Chop up salmon fillets into thirds and freeze - this is the amount my 2 and 4 year old would eat. Serve with veg and new potatoes or rice and sweet corn, or with pasta and philedelphia cheese sauce. And tbh that would give you a rotation of healthy meals for the whole week which you could stick to ad infinitum if you wanted.
I would also argue fish fingers and pizza are two perfectly healthy meals - potato wedges and peas with ff, coleslaw, sweet corn and cherry tomatoes with the pizza. And although I agree that it would be better to prepare your sauces yourself, if you need some Colmans type sachets to get started I wouldn't beat yourself up over it. If you can make proper meals with fresh meat and veg you will probably find your daughter needs to snack less.
Re snacks I would switch to plain biscuits and the odd bit of Madeira cake as treats. Always combined with a bit of fruit. Oatcakes are great esp with cream cheese or peanut butter. Yoghurt, fruit, occasionally custard as puddings.
And do not bow to pressure from family to give treats or multiple pieces of cake etc. I am perceived as being very mean by my husband's family for my one slice of cake rule. I make it very clear to the DCs if they are hungry they are welcome to a banana or oatcake after they have had one piece of cake. Funnily enough they usually forget about being hungry after that. DNeph is meanwhile allowed to polish off the rest of the cakes which I find really depressing to watch.
Good luck, hope you get there, it will be worth it.
Well done you're doing great thing!
Games we play inside with nearly 3 yrs DS to get heart rate up:
Balloon must not touch the floor: chase balloon about house
Put all pillows and cushions on heap on floor and jump on them/ hide under them
Crab football with a beach ball
Make tunnel with blankets and chairs and crawl-race through
Heads shoulders knees toes at warp speed
Ring a ring o roses all fall down
If, as an adult you join in fully it's bloody exhausting and burns off small children energy like mad!
Batch cooking good: I've just frozen loads of chicken nuggets which is minced chicken breast mixed with few herbs and shaped into nuggets, dipped in flour then beaten egg then home made breadcrumbs (slightly stale bread whizzed up). Grilled til golden and crunchy, DS thinks they are big treat with jacket potato wedges and yogurt/ketchup dip.
Lots of stuff on active living on the NHS website. It's small changes that can make a big difference eg grilling food instead if frying, making snacks either fruit or cut up veg etc. Portion control is one of the biggest changes you can make - healthy stuff such as pasta can stop being healthy it is twice the portion it should be, same with things like cereal. The eat well plate is a good indicator of what is a correct proportioned meal. Good luck!
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