( How) should I start reducing the amount of food my kids eat?

By | July 25, 2022

First of all – SHOULD I try to correct this problem We have created? We have made it the norm for everyone to eat way more than we should. Maybe cook out? Sure eat two hot dogs and a burger plus sides. Pizza? Everyone gets half a large pizza to themselves. Grilled cheese and soups for dinner? Each sandwiches needs 2 pieces of cheese on Texas toast and everyone gets two. Bbq nachos? Make enough so everyone gets two full plates. Macaroni as a side? 3 boxes for a fam of 6. Ramen noodles? 2 packs plus a sandwich probably.

I’ve found that usually on Reddit when you talk about reducing the amount of food kids eat you’re met with “You’re teaching your kids to have a toxic relationship with food!!!” “You’re gonna give them an eating disorder, bad parenting!” Etc.

Obviously it’s better to never form the bad habits in the first place but once you do and you realize it and want to do better, how do you do that without causing problems?

I have two kids who are overweigh/obese- 12f (34.9bmi) and 15m (34.4bmi)

I have 1 child 14m who literally eats more than those two and is perfect weight wise according to the doc. Afraid if I cut down on his food he might lose weight? But my other kids will notice if he is allowed to eat the current amount if I cut back on theirs.

And I have 1 kid 5m that I am trying to instill healthy habits from the get go and his weight is good still.

ETA: kids are pretty sedentary but pace a lot. No organized sports and no interest in them. Advice on how to get their activity level up without it feeling like I am intentionally trying to make them lose weight would be nice since none of them really like active things. 5m is average activity for 5yo.

4 thoughts on “( How) should I start reducing the amount of food my kids eat?

  1. Peloquin Post author

    First of all, how did this become the norm? Secondly, don’t focus on less food, focus on good food. I know people don’t like to label food as good of bad but an apple is better for you than pizza. If at all possible, Cook. Your kids are old enough to cook too. If you only have fruit, low sodium crackers, whole grain bread, yoghurt, granola and leftovers in the fridge, your hungry kids will eat that. Every example of food wasn’t healthy and was a lot of calories for the lack of vitamins. You make it seem like your kids have to finish every food they are given?? Lmk if this is an assumption but are they allowed to leave things behind?

    1. author

      It became the norm over time because of convenience and the fact that unhealthy food just tastes good. Plus 14 and 15m are autistic and for a long time it was difficult to change eating habits. They will eat a lot of different foods now thankfully so we have widened our horizons. I listed the unhealthy foods here because of course those are the ones they go crazy on. They mostly eat unhealthy stuff like that when I am at work and they are making lunches themselves.

      As a note, the only thing they can eat between meals is fresh fruits and veggies and the weekly “treat” which could be anything from hummus, fruit/veggie dips, jellos, home made trail mix, etc.

      I have cut back on their opportunities to eat unhealthy foods but when they do, they are stuck in the old habits of not using any moderation with them. Ie I let them have ramen while I’m at work and they eat 2 packs each plus a sandwich.

      When I cook dinners, it is healthier stuff and I try to not make enough that seconds are an option. Or I pack up the extra for my work lunches before I serve dinner so they don’t see it and want more.

  2. jagdmackay

    Can you see a nutritionist? All the foods you list are high carb and/or fat and little nutritional value. What I would do—and I can’t say I’m an expert—Is hold a family meeting and show the amounts of sodium, fat, calories, and say “guys, we aren’t eating very healthy, are we? Let’s make it a family goal to eat better starting Monday.” Then brainstorm what they like to eat for fruits veggies lean meats and healthy grains, take them grocery shopping, make them a part of it, all without ever mentioning weight. You want to get nutrients, not lose weight. And give yourself rewards—“we made it a whole week hitting our protein goal, let’s go skating/park/something fun that’s NOT food. Good luck!!!!

  3. Dredka1001

    Maybe change WHAT they are eating instead of how much. If they are eating a LOT of fruits and veggies instead of a LOT of carbs then it may improve things. So instead of 2 grilled cheese have 1 grilled cheese and a tons of salad they can eat as much of as they want. Or instead of 2 hot dogs and a hamburger have 1 hamburger, salad and fruit salad.


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