There are many reasons you may want to change your diet and improve your nutrition: Finally done with being overweight, a diabetes diagnosis, high cholesterol you may not want to start taking medication for, you have an autoimmune condition, or you want to just feel better.
Weekly I see people like you for nutrition consultations who want to change their diet, improve their overall health and wellbeing, and are very willing to make the necessary changes. But there is one hurdle I hear from many of the parents that I see:
“I just can’t stop eating my kids snacks.”
This is certainly a difficult task. If there are snack foods in the house it is hard to avoid them. I always recommend that you start your healthy choice in the grocery store; because if you don’t have easy access to it when you’re home you’re less likely to eat it. And to these parents I pose the question:
Why are your kids eating snacks that are too unhealthy for you to eat?
Perhaps part of it is this mentality that kids are immune to the effects of unhealthy foods. We know that is not true, as childhood obesity has risen exponentially, as has the rate of Type 2 Diabetes in children. And even if a child does not develop these diseases early on, you are setting them up to develop them later on in life. Many people feel that these diseases are unavoidable because their parents/grandparents/siblings developed them, and it is “in their genes.” I can tell you that it is not in your genes, but it may be inherited. Here’s how: you eat the same way your parents ate, and they eat the same way their parents ate, because that is what you’ve learned, and what your parents learned. If your grandparent’s diet led them to diabetes, it will also lead your parents, you, and - if you don’t stop it - your children there as well. So why would you change your habits, but continue to let your children eat foods that are unhealthy?
Perhaps you are thinking there is no way your child will give up their unhealthy snacks. But you are the parent. You do the grocery shopping, so you control what comes into the house. Your child will not go on a hunger strike because there are no cookies in the house. Offer alternatives that you now know are healthy enough for you, and in turn, your kids: plain yogurt with fruit, an apple with peanut butter, dark chocolate. You can influence your child to eat a well balanced diet, just by doing it yourself. This way, everyone wins: you are not tempted to eat unhealthy foods, and you are setting your child up for success by teaching them to eat good, whole food.