Wednesday, September 24, 2008

WFMW: Kids and Portion Control

Our family is really trying to be more health conscious. This morning my sister in law and I were discussing different (positive) changes we've made. Like many of you, we have switched to 1% milk (just can't do the skim, but 1% is good) and lower fat dairy products, we are eating more fruits and veggies, and we buy whole grain breads. We toss the kids outside for exercise.
One of the biggest areas for improvement has been portion control. And my sister in law and I discussed a few tips for helping kids (and maybe a grown up or two)...
Some of our children really want a second helping, whatever it is. Knowing that they are going to ask for a second helping, make the first helping smaller, sometimes a lot smaller.

Use a kid/small plate. I do use divided cafeteria trays, but it is easy to overfill these.
We try not to "drink calories". I try to only serve water or milk as beverages. The kids love to fill up their own water glass from the fridge door on their way to the dinner table. Even though milk and juice have nutritional value, once those nutritional needs are met for the day they are just drinking empty calories (for the most part...). Bellies are more full from a yogurt or apple than a glass of milk or apple juice.
Depending on the requested second helping, you can offer the choice of seconds or dessert. (And we are striving to serve low cal desserts- fruit, jell-o, lower fat ice cream and pudding.)

Fill 'em up on veggies and fruit. Serving a raw veggie (with low cal dip) or some fruit slices along with the dinner helps fill up that plate and their bellies. (And they like it better than a salad.)

Leave a comment and let me know what healthy changes you have made.
For more Works For Me Wednesday tips, visit Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer.

15 comments:

Gillie said...

Good ideas! My hubby and I have been using smaller plate for years, but second helpings sneak up on us too. Iv'e never considered veggie sticks AT dinner, though. Maybe we'll try that. I posted a whole wheat pancake mix recipe at my site that I like. We also use splenda in it instead of sugar and I sometimes have sugar free syrup on hand. Baby steps, baby steps.

Pam said...

I use splenda and whole wheat flour for baking. We have eliminated pop- even diet. We have switched to the whole wheat enriched with omega 3 pasta, and we do the skim milk thing. I also use olive oil the majority of the time. We have also switched to low fat mayo with olive oil. The the biggey we are walking.

Fuschia said...

Great ideas. We also ask them, "Are you really still hungry?" They usually have to admit no.

Wep said...

Eating breakfast did it for me. Makes me not snack as much all day long :)

Christine said...

Great ideas. I would have never thought of making the first portion smaller. I should really use that one on my older boy. And on myself, for that matter.

I remember your blog from a while back; thanks for posting on mine so I can start reading you again!

barefootinhighheels said...

I've been using some of those meal-assembly places (Dream Dinners is the chain near me). They're easy, nutritious, tasty, AND while sometimes a 3-serving meal seems small, we have to remember that it's actually the amount we SHOULD be eating!! So it definitely helps with portion control.

the ginhouse said...

Lots of good ideas here, although some do bare warnings. Be extra careful when buying anything already prepared as the sodium content tends to be higher. Alos be careful or artificial sweetners, even Splenda (unless you're diabetic & have no choice) because my sister at MUSC learned that your body can't break them down and treats it like a toxin. Actual sugar is safer for your body, just ration your portions. Doctors tell my diabetic friends that sugar is able to be used in a better way when a part of your meal (like a small dessert or naturally in fruit) than as a snack. Also remember to avoid eating too close to bed time (although I'm very guilty of that). Your body won't have time to properly digest it before sleep mode and it will be treated as sugar instead of it's otherwise benefit. If you can't avoid eating late, try putting through another load of laundry or some other snooze-n-cruise task before hitting the sheets to give your bod a little time to digest. A few other things now:
Extra Virgin olive oil kept refrigerated is best for optimal nutritional content, Mayfield Nuture milk has good bacterias to help out your tummy and even the skim still tastes rich, almost anything you would normally fry, you can bake instead (I've even passed off baked chicken for fried!), venison (deer meat) is the leanest around and there's about a million ways to fix it (and again, you can pass it off for steak w/o anyone knowing the difference). Smart Balance is a great butter substitute and contains Omega 3, with no trans fats or hydrogenated oils. Try to avoid trans fats and hydrogenated oils, as they both over time clog the arteries. But above all, remember God gave us our food to enjoy, just everything in moderation. You don't have to give up your favorites, just keep them in moderation. By the way, I didn't see Diet Pepsi in your new food plan. Are you suffering withdrawal?

Totallyscrappy said...

Hmmm. I'm down to one Diet Pepsi a day. ;) I' really trying to down the water.
I've switched to a margarine with no cholesterol, but now I'm going to look for the Omega margarine. (Brand name: Smart Balance?)
I really do try to avoid fake sugar. You know, except for all that fake sugar in my DP. Honestly, I don't like the taste of it in most other things.
We always bake or grill our meat because I am petrified of frying something and catching the house on fire. I didn't know that evoo should be kept in the fridge.
I tried ground turkey yesterday. (I haven't bought it in years.) Only to notice, after I brought it home, that ground turkey has 17 grams of fat and the ground sirloin had 8! Apparently ground turkey BREAST is an improvement; ground turkey is not. (And just for the record, ground turkey breast was almost $5 a pound.)
Everything in moderation...

Jennie said...

Great ideas! We don't do as much as we should- but we are really working on healthy snacks. Goldfish, yogurt, popcorn and apples are the choices- and I carefully watch how much is served. Thanks for the tips and great blog!

Cynthia said...

We switched to whole grain pasta. My kids didn't even notice, and I actually like it better. It does cost more, but from what I have read about eating more whole grains, it is worth it! Thanks for sharing your ideas!

Edwina at The Picket Fence said...

Thanks for the great ideas. We have our 4 year old Granddaugter living with us and these will help us out. She does pretty good, but Breakfast is our hardest time to find things she likes? By the way ths is the first time to your blog, I arrived by way of Fuschia, who is one of dear friends at church. Hope you can come over and visit me.
Edwina

Ryann said...

I really need to work on portion control too. One way we've been doing it is making sure we have enough leftovers for the next day's lunches. I don't make more of the dinner than I did before, but we eat a little less, to make sure we have enough so Nick and I can both have a decent lunch the next day. It saves us money too - no eating out and fast food!

Don't forget to join me on Thursday for Thirsty Thursday! I loved your post last week and invite you to join again - anyone can join!

Laura said...

Portion control is hard for me.
I like to eat.
I'm not a "just want a taste" girl.
I'm a..."give me the row of cookies" girl.
Workin' on it though.

Katie said...

Great tips!! It sounds like you are doing a great job!

Domestic Accident said...

I always forget portion control. Great reminders. My biggest tip is not to overindulge at snack time. I have been guilty of too big of a snack, then not enough dinner.