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Healthy meal ideas(7 Posts)
I feel like I'm failing at Parenting 101 when it comes to meals. All ideas welcome!
I have an overweight 8 year old daughter. She is tall for her age at 136cm but is also visibly fat around her torso and stomach. Her legs and arms seem in proportion to her height.
DD eats at her childminders three nights per week, where the food offering is typical "kids meals" of macaroni cheese / pizza and chips / sausage casserole etc. I am reluctant to ask the childminder to police portions as I don't want her to feel singled out on a table full of kids. I also don't think she eats excessively there (they have a small healthy snack when they get home and then tea before pick up).
At home, I am losing the plot with what to cook. DD will eat anything, but her fussy brother basically only eats meat. I think I've spent so much energy trying to create meals he will eat that I have lost the desire to cook anything at all. Which means we fall back on spaghetti bolognese (brown spaghetti), ham and cheese omelette, beans on toast, pasta with ham and cheese, sausage and mash etc. DD is always hungry and would like enormous portions, though I do try to limit it to what I see as a reasonable portion. She will also steal food and eat in secret, particularly if she is cross with something. I am getting better at preventing the stealing, but she'll literally take anything; a biscuit would be her go-to, but she'll take a plain slice of bread if that's all she can find
At home we eat by serving ourselves from serving bowls to encourage fussy brother and my youngest to try different foods and regulate their own appetites. We've always done this, but I am aware it may mean DD is serving more than she should have.
DD is active. She had a gymnastics class, a street dance class and junior park run every week, and walks home from school (a mile) three times per week. She also swims one week and cycles 5 Miles+ the next, alternating the activity each week. We have a large garden and now it's sunny she spends hours out there swinging/trampolining/cycling/chasing her brothers etc etc.
After all that context, I think I need healthy meal ideas that are filling but low calorie but also suitable for a 4 year old. At this point fussy brother will just have to go with whatever he gets as he doesn't eat anything but meat anyway. If there's anything else I could/should be doing then I'm happy to take any advice!
I meant to add that she only drinks semi skimmed milk and water (by her choice, so I know she's not getting soft drinks anywhere as she doesn't want them!).
change4life link and the parent club link have lots of different recipes you could try for breakfast, lunch and dinner. i would serve up the portions, on a child's plate like this which has labeled sections. fill each section and it is a portion control plate. Depending on how old your son is, you could try this with him too and tell him that he must eat from each section. all the best x
Is she eating her meals off a full sized adult plate? My 3 year old niece was served up ad7lt sized portions. She is now a morbidly obese 25 year old. It’s good you are trying to help your daughter now. Does she take packed lunch to school or eat school dinners?
also, do you give her snacks when she says she is hungry? the change4life rule is 'look for 100 calorie snacks, 2 a day max'. she can have around 12 chocolate buttons as one snack (sugar free), or a handful of marshmallows. you can divide the snack over the day: eg open the bag of marshmallows and give one handful now (they are very small) and one handful later. all the best x
Thanks for your responses and ideas. I am also reading the post about meals for Primary school children and finding it helpful.
To answer your questions;
She uses a small children's plate (part of a toddler cup-plate-bowl set)
She has school dinners most days and seems to enjoy them. She has packed lunches some days, and I suspect takes too much in them (sandwich, crisps, yoghurt, small piece of chocolate, sometimes a cereal bar too.
I talk to the fussy eater (also 8) about needing to eat to fuel his body, and that it's important to eat a balanced meal/5 a day. It sometimes works for a while, but I think he just doesn't really feel hunger (nor does my husband. He eats to be sociable and because convention says it's a mealtime rather than because he's hungry).
I do really struggle with the dual messaging! I try to talk about food away from the dinner table because to one child I am saying that food is fuel and you have to eat it even if you're not hungry, and to another I am saying that we should eat only what our bodies need and not eat more just because we want to Both messages seem right, but yet contradictory
It sounds a difficult situation with two opposing ends of a spectrum. My perspective would be that your current method of small plates and self serve is good and just change meals to offer lower cal / healthier options. One of my dds is greedy. Like yours will happily snack on dry bread. Since she's gotten older and that's starting to show, I've switched her to protein based snacks- she particularly enjoys a chicken drumstick or a slice of ham with marmalade
When I feel we are low on nutrition and have been eating too much crap the meals I make include -
Soup and bread - whether chicken noodle soup/ laksa/ swede and bacon/ broccoli Stilton/ potato and leek/ country veg etc it's pretty much always healthy
Salmon veg noodle stir fry
Spinach pesto pasta
Roast dinner- which I tend to do without potatoes and extra veg
My focus for healthy is to get as much veg in as much variety as I can in them. I know nutrition is more than that, but actually, if your eating all that veg you're not eating the other stuff (hopefully) and you are getting the nutrients needed instead.
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