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TOPIC: Do you count Calories for your kids?

 
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April 6, 2013 9:41 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:

Image not displayed

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.


I love this idea.

I do something similar for chores. :)
  18264266
April 6, 2013 9:41 PM
I don't count my daughter's calories per ce. But I keep a close eye on what she eats. Mostly because she's underweight and has been diagnosed as Failure to Thrive. She has been since she was born and she's 9 now. She needs a high fat, high calorie diet so she can get caught up a bit more with her peers. So we have to find the right balance of making sure she gets what she needs without teaching her bad habits that will lead to problems later with obesity. It's a fine line sometimes. We try to discuss it openly, nutrition and making good choices. I've actually looked for a site where I could plug in her foods easily so we can get a better account of what she takes in, but there's not many sites that don't have a weight loss element. She definitely doesn't need that. So I keep an eye on what she takes in, but I don't pressure her too much by keeping precise track of it. The minute I start pushing she digs her heels in and it becomes a struggle.
April 6, 2013 9:43 PM
Please don't teach your kids about healthy eating by counting calories. You can educate them about the kinds of foods they are eating and what is in them; how to cook or make (for a 6 year old) healthy snacks; healthy eating patterns (the rainbow plate concept is good or the USDA charts- lots of free resources on line), etc. HOWEVER, the way your children are going to learn the best???? Is by watching what you do as their parent! The more you eat healthy foods, the more your kids will follow! Make it, healthy foods, a usual in your home and the treats an exception. I have worked in the elementary schools and sadly, first grade girls (mostly girls) are already obsessed with body image thanks to society and eating disorders, dieting, unhealthy body image are emerging at that young age....
  33414433
April 6, 2013 9:45 PM
QUOTE:

My kids? no they aren't overweight, I was just thinking as a teaching experience. Same as you might teach a 6 year old about spending and saving and giving money they receive as allowance for chores .


If your kids don't have weight issues, why restrict them and make them count calories???

Do you want them to have eatting disorders?

Practices what you preach.

Eat well, live active and your kids will follow.
  18264266
April 6, 2013 9:47 PM
Why not just kick the junk and feed them wholesome food that will start them on healthy habits make it fun or something :) not sure how old your kidos are
  27248585
April 6, 2013 9:53 PM
Counting calories to meaning to lose weight? no. But I'm not sure that's what the initial poster meant.

My 6 year old knows that calories are a measure of energy. That calories come from food and are used up with activity. Like a battery. You need calories and nutrients to thrive. He often asks how much protein is in something he's eating or what vitamin a specific food item has. He even knows the basics of what those things do for our bodies. He recognizes that less nutrient-dense treats are reserved for when you have eaten an adequate amount of 'real food'. Once, we counted his calories and carbs and fats and protein and he thought reaching the goals was fun. He's thin, so it makes me happy that analyzing food gets him excited to EAT it!
April 6, 2013 9:56 PM
Two of my three children were labeled "failure to thrive." I don't know about you but I hate that term. They thrive, they run, they play, they do everything any other kids do....their just smaller. I have kind of started to ignore the doctors to a degree. As long as my children eat healthy that's all that matters. How can you say my children who eat fruits and veggies over cookies and cakes aren't thriving? One thing my kids doctor told me to do is to make them chocolate peanut butter and banana smoothies. It adds a lot of calories and is fairly healthy and best of all they love it.
  18593953
April 6, 2013 9:56 PM
I have really watched what my kids ate.

And yes I have counted calories.. but for a medical reason.

Here's a couple situations I have going on with my kids as to WHY I have to monitor their food so closely.

1. My 7 year old daughter is naturally a little more chubby then any of my other children. She has always been a little bigger than average despite being born under 6 lbs. She was very sick when she was a newborn and we almost lost her. She was on Breastmilk until she was 16 months old. Her father and I separated when she was 2, and he would feed her junk on his days he had her. I was just beginning my weight loss journey and was already very aware of food choices. Now every year when they go for school breaks she comes back 1-2 pants sizes larger than when she left. Shes 7 and wears a 10/12 in girls that I have to hem because they are about 4 inches too long for her. She now outweighs my very tall 8 year old. When she comes back from her dads I have to really push the water on her and watch the excess snacks she tries to steal and gorge on in her room! From what they tell me they eat ALOT of processed foods and ALOT of eating out, I'd say 75% of the time they eat out there. I am very concerned about her, and have been taking her shopping with me, and she also has been 'working out' to some shows on tv. I hate that she feels the need to hide snacks and such I just hate it, I don't wish obesity on anyone, especially my kids! Her life is centered around food, and I am trying to really get a hold on things before she gets into middle school. She is always wanting to know what's for dinner, and when can she get a snack. ugh :(

Now the reason I have had to actually count calories is when my son who is now 3 was diagnosed with Failure to thrive. He was strictly breastfed and at 2/3 months old he stopped gaining any weight. they tested my milk, they monitored him for a couple weeks at childrens hospital, and eventually we were sent home with a long term feeding tube. He was weighed by a home health nurse every week. This went on for about 6 months. He had gained fairly well, up until I noticed about a month ago he is lighter than my 18 month old and his ribs are sticking out. I am now making sure he is eating enough calories and fat by having the sitter write down what he eats and giving him an instant breakfast or pediasure to his meal plans everyday.

Oh and to add to the mix, my 5 year old little girl is borderline diabetic. So that's always fun too!
Edited by Justjamie0418 On April 6, 2013 9:58 PM
  38473274
April 6, 2013 10:00 PM
No, I would not want to introduce my daughters to calorie counting at such a young age, and they certainly have nothing to worry about. My oldest daughter is very tall, she is in the 95th percentile for height, so she is technically underweight according to the charts (she is below the 5th percentile in weight), but the doctor is not concerned, she continues to gain weight, her weight is low only because she grows taller so fast. Eventually it will start to level off. I just feed her as much as she needs.
  25167640
April 6, 2013 10:02 PM
Calories, no. Nutrition, yes. My (step)daughter knows better than to ask me for a treat before she's nourished herself.
  2387925
April 6, 2013 10:03 PM
If my kid was overweight I might do it but without telling them. I think focusing on the numbers at a young age is a recipe for disaster. Bad idea. Just feed them nutritious meals and make sure they're active.
  3872484
April 6, 2013 10:07 PM
QUOTE:

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:

Image not displayed

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.


I love this idea.

I do something similar for chores. :)


Here's my question, what makes you think any of those foods are healthy or not healthy?
  11390926
April 6, 2013 10:12 PM
for the average healthy kid, helping them to understand with their feedback, which foods give them the most energy,
the best fuel, works pretty well.

when they have poptarts for breakfast, by the time recess comes they are starving, and maybe don't have as much
energy to play.

but when they have a healthy breakfast say, fruit and eggs or some other healthy food, they have more energy for playing.
or soccer practice, whatever they like doing they want to do it, and not feel tired and hungry all the time.

this doesn't mean we aren't allowed chips or soda or cake, it just means fruits, veggies, etc give us more energy,
so we want to eat those often.
April 6, 2013 10:21 PM
By feeding them healthy foods, you are automatically training preferences into them.

When I was growing up, dessert at my house was strawberries. Whipped cream only sometimes. Delicious. In summer we got fresh carrots or peas from the garden, for treats. They tasted amazing. Cakes, never, except on birthdays. Meals were home-cooked meat and veg and potatoes or rice. We didn't have to finish our plates, no problem. We could have seconds, no problem. I don't remember gorging. I think it's because the meals were just basic food guide stuff, home-cooked, macros sort of naturally got hit.

In my teens, things changed, and I ate pizzas and burgers and stuff. But I didn't gain weight until my 20s as a side effect from meds, which threw everything out of whack. Until then, I had a natural appetite.

The main thing is, I am grateful I never developed a weird attitude to food. Still don't have that. I don't feel out of control or guilty or emotional about it or anything like that. I was exposed to healthy things early, so I like them. I feel for adults who have to force themselves to eat a salad.

I think teaching counting must make for a weird relationship with food. Ask people with kids who have type 1 diabetes, or my friend, who was put on a diet before kindergarten, and struggles with weight and guilt to this day.
Edited by upgetupgetup On April 6, 2013 10:24 PM
April 6, 2013 10:30 PM
QUOTE:

I just think that with the child obesity problem in America kids need way way more education about healthy eating. I was not suggesting limiting or stressing them about calories, but just informing and allowing them to see what was healthy and not. I wont always be there to help they make a healthy choice. I want my kids to be aware that between a yogurt and ice cream yogurt is more healthy and better calories.


This is a good thing to want to do, but I think you are maybe putting your own stuff onto your kids. Just give them healthy food to eat. Get them into gardening or cooking instead, that's way more fun.
April 6, 2013 10:36 PM
the gardening and cooking really can help, but even if they just help pick out the fruit and veggies trying a different kind each trip, or each time the season changes, trying new foods, it's a positive experience, they want to try it and learn more about it.
April 6, 2013 10:44 PM
QUOTE:

By feeding them healthy foods, you are automatically training preferences into them.

When I was growing up, dessert at my house was strawberries. Whipped cream only sometimes. Delicious. In summer we got fresh carrots or peas from the garden, for treats. They tasted amazing. Cakes, never, except on birthdays. Meals were home-cooked meat and veg and potatoes or rice. We didn't have to finish our plates, no problem. We could have seconds, no problem. I don't remember gorging. I think it's because the meals were just basic food guide stuff, home-cooked, macros sort of naturally got hit.

In my teens, things changed, and I ate pizzas and burgers and stuff. But I didn't gain weight until my 20s as a side effect from meds, which threw everything out of whack. Until then, I had a natural appetite.

The main thing is, I am grateful I never developed a weird attitude to food. Still don't have that. I don't feel out of control or guilty or emotional about it or anything like that. I was exposed to healthy things early, so I like them. I feel for adults who have to force themselves to eat a salad.

I think teaching counting must make for a weird relationship with food. Ask people with kids who have type 1 diabetes, or my friend, who was put on a diet before kindergarten, and struggles with weight and guilt to this day.


I didn't read your entire post just the first few sentences. It reminded me of my friend. He told me in mexico his dad didn't let him eat sweets, he had to eat some vegetables like cucumbers with salt and lemon or fruit, he wasn't allowed to eat candy. Now he doesn't like sweets, he gives them to me :0)
  11390926
April 6, 2013 10:44 PM
QUOTE:

Counting calories to meaning to lose weight? no. But I'm not sure that's what the initial poster meant.

My 6 year old knows that calories are a measure of energy. That calories come from food and are used up with activity. Like a battery. You need calories and nutrients to thrive. He often asks how much protein is in something he's eating or what vitamin a specific food item has. He even knows the basics of what those things do for our bodies. He recognizes that less nutrient-dense treats are reserved for when you have eaten an adequate amount of 'real food'. Once, we counted his calories and carbs and fats and protein and he thought reaching the goals was fun. He's thin, so it makes me happy that analyzing food gets him excited to EAT it!


I think this post is fantastic! I want to educate my kids in any way that i can.

What people posting on here generally don't seem to realize is that teaching your children what calories ARE as a "value-neutral" topic shouldn't mess anyone up. I imagine if you teach the concept of calories as something to observe (without passing judgment about consuming more or less of them) you will just make your kids smarter. I wouldn't teach them calories in a vacuum though - you teach them about calories, and vitamins, and minerals, and proteins, etc. All of the wonderful things that food does for you!! What an exciting thing to learn about. :)

If calorie counting is some horrible/traumatic restrictive experience for you, then please do NOT pass that on to your kids. If it's a matter of learning more about how your body works, then maybe you can...
April 6, 2013 10:47 PM
I wish my mom had taught me about healthier eating or calories or whatever. I knew what they were but not how much I should be eating so when I gained a bunch of weight, I didn't know how to eat healthy and lose weight so I developed an eating disorder. I plan to teach my kids good habits though I'm not sure how much I will get into calories with them.
  7352376
April 6, 2013 10:48 PM
QUOTE:

what is bad idea, are you even reading this topic? Teaching kids about healthy food and calories is bad?


Teaching kids about calories is an absolutely bloody awful idea, yes.

What do calories govern? Weight loss and weight gain. This has been proven countless times by the people on these forums who both drop body fat and build muscle mass eating whatever the hell they want in moderation. THAT is a lesson to teach kids. Enjoy all foods in moderation.
But no, teaching kids how calories cause weight gain and loss will just cause a mass of eating disorders. Phuck that.
April 6, 2013 10:48 PM
QUOTE:

I didn't read your entire post just the first few sentences. It reminded me of my friend. He told me in mexico his dad didn't let him eat sweets, he had to eat some vegetables like cucumbers with salt and lemon or fruit, he wasn't allowed to eat candy. Now he doesn't like sweets, he gives them to me :0)


Lol, lucky you!

& fair enough, it was a novel. (really bad one in need of an editor)
Edited by upgetupgetup On April 6, 2013 10:56 PM
April 6, 2013 10:54 PM
If they are not overweight then I don't think thats nessisary.............
April 6, 2013 10:59 PM
QUOTE:

How counts calories for their kids?

I don't personally but i have been considering it. I have been trying to teach them about healthy food choices though..the problem with counting calories is kids grow so fast and need to eat when they need to eat haha Also its hard ot put your kids on a "diet"


In my opinion, we should be taking lessons from our kids about intuitive eating, rather than teaching them how to have an unhealthy obsession about food, lol.

Seriously, the only reason why we need to count calories is to retrain ourselves how to eat healthy. But the goal is to be like a natural kid: follow our hunger and cravings (with healthy choices) so that our weight is self-regulating. I recommend the book "Intuitive Eating".
  33854339
April 7, 2013 12:55 AM
Absolutely not. As my children it is my job to educate them about food choices; healthy and otherwise. It is also my job to ensure they have a BALANCED DIET. Keeping tabs on eating ie calorie counting sounds very dangerous to me.
  10628213
April 7, 2013 11:30 AM
QUOTE:

QUOTE:

Counting calories to meaning to lose weight? no. But I'm not sure that's what the initial poster meant.

My 6 year old knows that calories are a measure of energy. That calories come from food and are used up with activity. Like a battery. You need calories and nutrients to thrive. He often asks how much protein is in something he's eating or what vitamin a specific food item has. He even knows the basics of what those things do for our bodies. He recognizes that less nutrient-dense treats are reserved for when you have eaten an adequate amount of 'real food'. Once, we counted his calories and carbs and fats and protein and he thought reaching the goals was fun. He's thin, so it makes me happy that analyzing food gets him excited to EAT it!


I think this post is fantastic! I want to educate my kids in any way that i can.

What people posting on here generally don't seem to realize is that teaching your children what calories ARE as a "value-neutral" topic shouldn't mess anyone up. I imagine if you teach the concept of calories as something to observe (without passing judgment about consuming more or less of them) you will just make your kids smarter. I wouldn't teach them calories in a vacuum though - you teach them about calories, and vitamins, and minerals, and proteins, etc. All of the wonderful things that food does for you!! What an exciting thing to learn about. :)

If calorie counting is some horrible/traumatic restrictive experience for you, then please do NOT pass that on to your kids. If it's a matter of learning more about how your body works, then maybe you can...


I love this post as well. It was my exact reaction to this topic and it seems to be the minority here.

I'm not sure why people think that a child knowing about calories would lead to disordered eating. To me, calories aren't "good" or "bad"... they're just a unit of energy. Maybe that's my interest in science coming out? If I ever have children, I don't think I'd wait until they are teenagers to teach them about units of energy just as I wouldn't wait to teach them what vitamins are and why they are important for their bodies.

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