It is normally at this time of year, you know, when you’ve consumed large amounts of food in the name of tradition, when my mind turns to calorie counting. But this brief period of reflection never lasts long because, quite simply, I love my food far too much.
I’m terrible at diets, I have very little will power and whenever I’m confronted with something that could be termed as a ‘treat’, my first reaction is ‘well, I deserve it so I must have it.’ Gillian McKeith I am not. And let’s just take a moment to be thankful that there’s not more than one of her in the world…
Even if I had the iron willpower that is required of such things, I have another major problem with dieting, especially when I’m making decisions about what to feed my kids. I’m a mother to two girls. My eldest is in her second year of primary school, an age when she’s just starting to form opinions about what clothes and music she likes and exactly how she wants her hair done each morning.
I’m not naïve about the realities of peer influence – I know there’s a high chance that in a couple of years time she will start to worry more about her body image. Basically, I want to put this stage off for as long as possible and in doing so get in first with a healthier message.
You see, in my opinion, by going on a diet, especially any sort of ‘crash’ diet, how do I explain to my kids why I’m cooking them a balanced meal yet denying myself the same food? On one occasion, when my slightly misguided willpower wasn’t having an off day, I decided to try out a dieting ‘tip’. You might have heard of it – substituting one of your main meals with a bowl of cereal. So there I was, sitting down for lunch with some bran flakes, and my daughters, quite understandably found this hilarious. What’s wrong with having a sandwich? Indeed, what is wrong with having a sandwich? It’s not like the concept of a healthy sandwich is so far-fetched.
Just as I wouldn’t stuff my face with excessive amounts of chocolate and junk food in front of them (apart from at Christmas and Easter – it’s allowed then), I also wouldn’t skip meals, or skimp on their content. To me, these are setting just as bad as an example.
I’m a parent, not a nutritional expert, and I’m just trying to figure out the best and healthiest way to feed my family, like everyone else. But sometimes it seems to always come back to the same thing – being ‘healthy’ is about providing balanced meals, ones like Fiver Feeds recommends, ones that don’t have to break the bank or be too time-consuming – if you’re concerned about your weight or your own eating habits, you might consider trying to cut down on your own portion size as a starting point, instead of cutting things out altogether.
I think it’s important to remember that ‘healthy’ doesn’t just relate to the amount of calories and fat content in your meals – it can also apply to the message you’re conveying with the type of food you choose for yourself, as well as the rest of your family.