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TOPIC: Do you count Calories for your kids?

 
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April 6, 2013 9:01 PM
I think as long as you are feeding them plenty of veggies, fruits and whole food in general they should be fine!! Just keep the processed, sugary and unhealthy food to a minimum. I don't give mine kool-aid or anything like that. My 11 year old drinks soda, but I only let him have 1 a day, other than that he actually usually chooses water! My kids LOVE veggies and altho they love burgers and fries too, they never complain about what I cook at home! If I don't have anything cooked and my son wants something, he will usually grab a can of beans or tonight......he opened up a can of collard greens to eat! lol I always rinse canned veggies to cut back on the sodium.

I should add, of course my kids get treats and do not eat healthy ALL the time but I try to keep it like I am going to start doing for myself........80% whole foods, 20% fun foods!
Edited by TakinSexyBack On April 6, 2013 9:03 PM
  25414086
April 6, 2013 9:02 PM
i didnt say there wasnt room for ice cream, im just wanting them to know the better choice.
April 6, 2013 9:04 PM
QUOTE:

I think as long as you are feeding them plenty of veggies, fruits and whole food in general they should be fine!! Just keep the processed, sugary and unhealthy food to a minimum. I don't give mine kool-aid or anything like that. My 11 year old drinks soda, but I only let him have 1 a day, other than that he actually usually chooses water! My kids LOVE veggies and altho they love burgers and fries too, they never complain about what I cook at home! If I don't have anything cooked and my son wants something, he will usually grab a can of beans or tonight......he opened up a can of collard greens to eat! lol I always rinse canned veggies to cut back on the sodium.


that's awesome, my kids would never choose water. lol collard greens? wow thats really awesome.
April 6, 2013 9:05 PM
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well at 6 years old i dont think they are under any pressure besides passing the first grade.


You are terribly mistaken. I was aware of my weight at 5 years old when I started kindergarten.


well MY 6 year old is not worried about her weight


Did you see me say worried? No. I said aware. Not to be rude, but your daughter has thoughts you are not privy to.
April 6, 2013 9:05 PM
QUOTE:

I don't.

I think that this is a horrible idea.


Absolutely.

My 7-year-old daughter and I talk about what makes some foods healthy and some foods less so. We discuss why it is important to eat healthy foods frequently and less healthy foods less often.

Kids can learn about vitamins, minerals, protein, fats, carbs, glucose, energy, and calories, but I would not focus on "counting calories" as that seems like a great way to create a compulsive eater or a child with an eating disorder.

If you are concerned about an overweight child, I would suggest providing more healthy, low-calorie foods and less high-sugar/fat processed foods, as well as increasing your activity as a family.
  9352520
April 6, 2013 9:07 PM
Lead a child to ice cream, they'll eat it. Lead a child to fruits and veggies, they'll eat it. As a child I HATED sweets up until I was 3 years old, and yes I did and still do eat the veggies off my dinner plate first.
  17664772
April 6, 2013 9:08 PM
QUOTE:

Me too. I always knew what size i was compared to other kids from a pretty young age, even before I grew "chunkier". It took a few years before I learned to be self-conscious about it, but I was always aware. If my parents had been counting my calories, I would have learned guilt and shame and poor body image. As it was, I didn't get chunky until junior high, which is when I started playing sports which helped. And by high school, I knew how to count calories on my own.


yeah that's a good point, i just don't want to be one of those parents who feels guilt for not leading by example and teaching my kids about food. counting calories probably goes to far. and i wasn't seriously considering it other then for my own knowledge and showing my kids what is a better health choice, obviously i can do that without showing them what they consume, its just my mind likes evidence, and they lean that way to .
April 6, 2013 9:14 PM
I don't count calories for them but I am very conscious about what I feed them because my husband and I are both over weight. If they are hungry they can eat as much as they want. However, I have definitely altered the food choices available in the house since I started becoming healthier. We don't keep juices or sodas in the house. My kids both know, if they are thirsty, they get milk or water. I also keep fresh fruits and vegetables washed and available in bowls at their level for when they open the fridge to "snack". 90% of the time they reach for an apple or carrots! We talk about too much sugar and my 4 year old knows that too much sugar can make your tummy hurt even though it tastes yummy. He will limit his amount of sugar items because he doesn't want a tummy ache.

As a child I was allowed to have a bag of chips and a soda for dinner if that's what I chose. I would not allow that for my children.
  629850
April 6, 2013 9:16 PM
QUOTE:

I don't count calories for them but I am very conscious about what I feed them because my husband and I are both over weight. If they are hungry they can eat as much as they want. However, I have definitely altered the food choices available in the house since I started becoming healthier. We don't keep juices or sodas in the house. My kids both know, if they are thirsty, they get milk or water. I also keep fresh fruits and vegetables washed and available in bowls at their level for when they open the fridge to "snack". 90% of the time they reach for an apple or carrots! We talk about too much sugar and my 4 year old knows that too much sugar can make your tummy hurt even though it tastes yummy. He will limit his amount of sugar items because he doesn't want a tummy ache.

As a child I was allowed to have a bag of chips and a soda for dinner if that's what I chose. I would not allow that for my children.


that's pretty awesome, you have changed your family tree.
April 6, 2013 9:17 PM
If you think they would enjoy measurable evidence, why don't you make an interactive chart where they can keep track of how many servings of fruits, veggies, etc. they've eaten each day? You could base it off the food pyramid (or plate...or whatever they have these days), sort of like this:

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I imagine you could print out some pictures of fruits, veggies, etc. and add magnets to the back and hang it on the fridge. Or maybe felt and velcro. That way, when you're preparing lunch/dinner they can go add their servings to the chart. Maybe make up the chart so there are only "spots" for the necessary number of servings -- so they'll see they need more fruits than sweets, etc. It'll teach them about healthy choices and putting the chart together each day could be like a little game for them.
Edited by pteryndactyl On April 6, 2013 9:18 PM
  33614097
April 6, 2013 9:19 PM
My 2 cents: Since your child is 6 and is more than likely still adjusting to the challenges of school and simply growing up I wouldn't show them about calories directly. I mentally track my son's food groups (not to be confused with calories). I make sure he gets his (at least) 3 fruits/3 veggies per day and enough protein and calcium that he needs. I do teach him that he needs to eat broccoli and ice cream is a special treat and he knows that he can't have certain cereals because they have too much sugar. He is 4 and will go into the fridge and get carrots or an apple if he is hungry.

I feel that I am the parent and what he eats is up to me. I have cleaned up my eating habits even more and he is going right along with me.
  40223332
April 6, 2013 9:19 PM
QUOTE:

If you think they would enjoy measurable evidence, why don't you make an interactive chart where they can keep track of how many servings of fruits, veggies, etc. they've eaten each day? You could base it off the food pyramid (or plate...or whatever they have these days), sort of like this:



I imagine you could print out some pictures of fruits, veggies, etc. and add magnets to the back and hang it on the fridge. Or maybe felt and velcro. That way, when you're preparing lunch/dinner they can go add their servings to the chart. It'll teach them about healthy choices and putting the chart together each day could be like a little game for them.


Wow this is such a great idea! thanks so much. I am definitely going to do this. They can help me make it too, what a great idea. You should make this into a product and sell it LOL
April 6, 2013 9:21 PM
@ichoose2belie that's is a great method to. thanks for the advice. this really helps,. I think i have a firm idea of how to approach them with healthy eating,
April 6, 2013 9:23 PM
QUOTE:

QUOTE:

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well at 6 years old i dont think they are under any pressure besides passing the first grade.


You are terribly mistaken. I was aware of my weight at 5 years old when I started kindergarten.


well MY 6 year old is not worried about her weight


My 7 year old knows she is skinny...because we call her skinny Minnie. My 4 year old has been called "juicy" by complete strangers since she was a baby. They have different body compositions and I've just recently had to stop calling either of them skinny Minnie or juicy and tell them they are both different but perfect and to love being you. When I started eating healthy my oldest, who was 6 at the time, made a comment that made me go hummmm. She said "you want to be skinny like me, don't you mom". My answer was "no, I don't want to be skinny like a 6 year old. I would terribly odd to be your size honey. You are perfect at your age but I don't want to be that little. I want to be healthy".
  9140075
April 6, 2013 9:24 PM
I don't count calories for them but I do talk about nutrition and what is a good healthy diet for us all. I do the shopping and cooking at our house and the girls often shop with me. I have spent much more time picking food lately so I explain what I am doing and why. They also like to do just dance with me. My conversations have been partly about eating healthy food after a workout to replace calories since they are growing. I want to teach them better than I learned. That said I would definitely consult a pediatrician before calorie counting for a child. I don't actually know how many calories my girls should eat either.
  36256184
April 6, 2013 9:25 PM
Until a child is preparing his or her own meals independently, I don't think having them count calories is a good idea. I think teaching a kid good attitudes around food (balance, variety, moderation) far outweighs even the possibility of a math lesson with calories.

The only people that should be considering calories (if at all) for children are those preparing the meals. And even then, a well-balanced diet + activity seems like a better focus.

I think we put tremendous pressure on ourselves as parents. Too often that spills over into pressure on our kids.
  6037194
April 6, 2013 9:27 PM
I think the best thing anyone can do for their children is lead by example. If I had kids there wouldn't be unlimited junk food in the house like there was when I was little. I wouldn't count their calories, no. But they wouldn't have access to chips, corn dogs, poptarts, candy, etc all day long. They would be taught that things like that were for occasional and moderate consumption.

I met a couple a few years ago who had 8 year old twins. They preferred fruit over candy. I was amazed and refreshed.
April 6, 2013 9:30 PM
I don't count my kids calories. I think teaching children about healthy foods is a good thing, but I wouldn't teach them about calories. You can teach them about healthy foods by what you buy them to eat. Reading to them about foods and cooking with them are fun ways to get your kids to learn about being healthy. Counting calories just seems like pushing body images on them. I know thats not what your trying to do, but to a young kid it can seem that way.
  2368092
April 6, 2013 9:33 PM
Nope, never have for my son. He can eat way way way over the amount needed to stay healthy...he's only about an inch or 2 taller than me & always was so skinny you could see ribs. No need to count anything unless you have a need.
  12586283
April 6, 2013 9:35 PM
@dwyler21 We don't count our daughter's calories but we do keep up with what they are eating. (at least now that my wife and I are keeping up with what we eat)

Actually we have our 11 year-old logging her meals on mfp on an older ipod touch because she has type 1. We teach her to use it for the carb count though. (she also uses calorieking, and labels to find carb counts)

Our 8 year-old we have taught more along the lines of some education on macros as well. She tends to crash, attitude wise, if she gets too much sugar so we have taught her to grab some protein when she has a snack, simply because it helps her in terms of her mood.

Also as my wife and I have started going daily to exercise our 11 year old has embraced it and asked for a nike chip for her shoe. It has been a positive effect for our kids without making it a big deal in terms of calories, but instead simply talking about being healthy and how it helps our bodies feel better too.
  17441577
April 6, 2013 9:36 PM
Let the kid be a kid. You can give them a complex later on in life, like when they are in their teens. flowerforyou

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Edited by billsica On April 6, 2013 9:37 PM
  2653581
April 6, 2013 9:37 PM
A healthy diet, is a diet that has a wide variety of foods. This includes junk food sometimes. Don't try to turn them in to a cucumber and carrot stick eating health nut, that's not good for anyone.

Just have food in your house that is nutritious, ad have treats maybe once a week or so. This will teah them it's okay to have treats from time to time in moderation.

Don't count their calories, that's just wrong on so many levels. WHat message are you trying to send to your kids? "You're over weight we got to make you thinner?" or, "Food makes you fat so eat less?""

just don't even do the calorie thing. Have nutritious food in the house and let them choose.
  11390926
April 6, 2013 9:39 PM
No counting calories for kids. Sure fire way to lead to an eating disorder and body image issues. Just teach healthy eating habits and focus on activity.
  3435741
April 6, 2013 9:39 PM
No, I teach my son to make healthy food choices. He understand the importance of balancing the "bad" with the good. No foods are off limits, but moderation is key
  18264266
April 6, 2013 9:41 PM
Let me tell you from experience, it's not a good thing. My mother put me on a diet at 9 years old (I was chubby for one year out of my whole childhood), among other things. I grew up with a very unhealthy relationship with food and calories. Teaching children about healthy foods and when to eat and stop eating is the best thing you can do.
  6623076

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