Having kids is challenging in so many ways, and that includes when you’re trying to implement a healthy eating or weight loss plan. Preparing different meals for your kids, and always having snacks on hand, can really mess with your own diet and temptation. Here are some tactics for sticking to your weight loss meal plan, even in the presence of your little darlings.
How to handle leftovers
Many kids don’t finish their meals, and when you’re gone to the trouble of making it for them, you might be reluctant to just shovel it into the compost. It’s tempting just to finish up their scraps (especially the yummy bits!) so that you don’t waste food. However, a better tactic is to put their leftovers in a container for them to have later. They might want them half an hour after you’ve finished dinner, or as a snack the next day. Either way, you’ll have a snack on hand for them and won’t jeopardise your own meal plan.
Stop buying sugary, salty snacks for the kids
If kids know there are salty, sugary snacks in the house after they get home from school, they’ll go straight to them. You might even be tempted by them, if they’re there. Resist temptation at the supermarket and you won’t have to battle it for the rest of the week. Yes, the kids will whinge and howl, but stay strong. (Encourage them to eat their leftovers from the night before!) Also remember that you’re setting them up for lifelong healthy habits by removing unwanted snacks from your pantry.
Keep temptation out of sight
Unless your whole family is following the Jenny Craig weight loss programs, you’re likely to have food that doesn’t fit into your weight loss plan in your house. Instead of banishing foods that your family justifiably wants or needs (with the exception of junk food snacks!), simply keep it out of your sight. Move foods onto lower or higher levels of the pantry so it’s not at your eye level, or place leftovers in opaque containers at the back of the fridge.
Start a no-takeaways family challenge
After a long week it’s tempting to dial in an order for a Friday-night delivery of pizza or fish and chips. If you’re serious about your weight loss plan, don’t. Getting your kids on board by turning it into a challenge will make your life easier, too. Start by making it a 30-day challenge, and creating a calendar to mark and celebrate every healthy day. You could even put the money saved (you may be surprised by how much it adds up to!) for a fun activity that the kids will enjoy. Even better if that fun activity will get your body active.
Teach your kids how to cook
Although it’s sometimes easier to discourage kids from entering the kitchen while you’re preparing food, this isn’t the best tactic for you or them. Many kids love to cook (yes, that often means getting messy!) and they may be more adventurous and open with their food choices if they’ve been involved in making it. You can teach them about good nutrition by helping them prepare snacks that are lower in sugar, salt, oil, and additives than shop-bought alternatives.
Distract your taste buds by chewing gum while cooking
Taste-tasting is often a necessary part of meal prep, but it can be taken too far. To avoid licking the cake batter spoon or shoving a wedge of cheese into your mouth while grating, chew gum while preparing food. Your taste buds (and your tongue) will be busy, so you might not even think about having a taste.
Sticking to your healthy habits at home, around your kids, will be better for sticking to your weight loss plan and will teach your kids a thing or two about leading a healthy lifestyle. Good luck!