14 Aug 2013
I am the first person to confess to having a deep love for children – I have seven of my own and rarely meet a child who I don’t enjoy being around. It grieves me when I see children who are struggling with their weight because I know how difficult that is, after all, I used to weigh 300 pounds myself.
Like most moms, I take my responsibility of feeding my children’s physical, emotional, and spiritual needs very seriously. I am not perfect, of course, but I make a deliberate effort to plan how to meet each of their needs in the best way that I know how.
When it comes to food, though, there are times when I just have to say no. I say no because I do not want to contribute to my children struggling with their weight when they are still living at home.
I don’t know about you, but saying no can be a hard word to utter when it comes to our children. I do not like telling them no, but sometimes I must.
If you think about it, as parents, we keep our young children from being exposed to inappropriate movies and video games, monitor our older children’s Internet use, and stay constantly vigilante when it comes to their school work and emotional development.
I’d like to propose that we owe it to our children to use the same care with food that we do with the Internet, video games, social situations, or movies. We sometimes need to say “no” to our kids when it comes to foods that they want but foods that we know they do not need to have.
I had to learn this firsthand as I lost 150 pounds. I used to buy toaster strudels for my childrens’ breakfast and snacks, but quickly realized that none of us needed those sugar-filled tarts. My kids missed those tarts at first, but over time they got used to walking by them in the grocery store even if they did still gaze longingly at the bright blue box.
As I lost weight I gained an appreciation for wholesome, healthy foods and so did my children. Well, for the most part they have!
As the years have gone by and I have maintained my 150-pound weight loss for years and years, there have been many foods that I have had to say “no” to. Not to be mean and controlling, but because I love them (and myself) enough to say “No, honey, you cannot have it.”
Some foods that my kids have asked for over the years include fast food kid meals, store bought cookies with candy pieces, cereals with artificial ingredients, yogurt with sprinkles, and many more.
And even though I do not like to say that two letter word kids hate to hear, I say “No,” almost every single time because I care about their health and care about teaching them how to develop an awareness of what healthy eating really is. I do allow occasional treats but we do not make it a regular habit.
My older children understand what healthy eating looks like and voluntarily make healthy choices when they are with friends or eating out. That makes me so happy for them. My younger children sometimes pick up a box of junk food when we are shopping together and hold it out as a joke. Here’s one of my little guys holding a container of cheese flavored puffs and although we took a picture of him, we did not take the container home.
All parents love their children and are concerned for every aspect of their development. I’d encourage you to not be afraid to tell your children “No,” when they ask you for foods you know are not good for them.
Instead, give them so many healthy, tasty choices that they do not feel deprived or left out. Give them fresh cherries in late summer, delicious smoothies made with organic frozen berries in the winter, and homemade granola bars made with Uncle Sam cereal in their school lunches. Fill their tummies and eyes with the delicious choices available in order to keep their focus on healthy foods and give them the security to know that you love them enough to give them the healthiest food you can.
If you need some healthy snack ideas for your children, I’ve put together a list of 10 Healthy Snacks for Kids
Do you have a hard time saying “No” to your children?
DianeCheck out my latest posts here