I go through a patient’s daily diet when they come in to see me in the clinic. The middle age patients with kids eat a healthy lower calorie higher protein breakfast and lunch, but when it comes to dinner and snacks, they fall off. Instead of mostly vegetables, fruits, legumes, and lean protein (+/- some whole grains), it’s a lot of processed high calorie junk food.
I ask them why they eat that stuff when they are clearly making better decisions earlier in the day. Is it due to intense cravings? Lack of time and need for convenience?
Their comment? The kids only eat that stuff
This is me after
Basically the parent (now my patient), tells me that they cannot control the way they are eating because the food they have in the house is dictated by their kids. So instead of healthy family dinners with plenty of wholesome vegetables etc., we have a war zone of highly processed calorie dense foods that are tough not to overeat.
Tell me this. If you think the foods your kids WANT are not the healthiest options for you, then why would they be for your kids? You want the best for your kids but you also feed them foods that you believe to be not so healthy because they won’t eat anything else.
I get it. Kids are picky. Let’s go over some options.
Option 1 – Get rid of the junk and start making healthy dinners
This seems like the obvious choice. Why do you have to be a short order cook for your kids? Why are they dictating what YOU eat? Unfortunately if you have primed them to eat a certain way, this option is going to be tough. I bet though there is a list of healthier options that your kids actually like and you know it. Maybe make a menu of those foods and have a regular rotation of them. Then start branching out from there.
Your kids may moan a bit at first, but if they’re hungry, they will eat.
Option 2 – Make separate meals
Okay so you don’t want to deal with your kids yelling at you. Fine. Then just make separate meals. You don’t HAVE to eat the crap they want. Instead of the calorie ladened lasagnas and mac n cheeses mixed with hot dogs, you can do your veggies and lean protein. You do have a choice you know. Yes I get it, you’re trying to do multiple things at once including going to the gym after work and time is not on your side. Make it easy by having a few Go-To Meals for yourself.
Option 3 – Stay the same
Or you can just tell me to screw off and continue to eat the same dinners dictated by your kids and stay the same weight and health. It’s up to you really.
But Dr. Spencer, you won’t understand until you have kids!
I have a little girl on the way and I can guarantee you that my eating habits won’t change. In fact I would bet the farm on it. Stop using your kids as an excuse to eat crap.