How to use your weight loss meal plan to teach your kids about nutrition
As mums, we want our kids to be as healthy as possible. Even while we’re preparing food to help us lose the pregnancy weight and get healthier, we’re also hoping our kids eat the healthy food and enjoy the benefits, too! Especially if we know their diet’s been a little sketchy lately.
The good news is that while your kids are young, it’s the perfect time to instil healthy attitudes toward food and eating. So, if you’ve just recently started eating healthier and following a weight loss meal plan, your kids will benefit, too. In this article, we’ll talk about how your healthy meal plan can help you, your kids, and your whole family get healthier.
Jump ahead to read more:
- Does your child need to lose weight?
- How to safely help your child lose weight with you
- Involve your child in your weight loss meal plan
- It’s all about balance
- 9 tips to help your kids be healthier
- Get the weight loss meal plan your whole family will love
First, let’s talk about weight loss in kids.
Does your child need to lose weight?
If your child is carrying around some extra weight, they’re not alone. An estimated 1 in 4 Australian kids are overweight or obese (source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare). But does that mean you should help your child lose weight? Many kids go through chubby phases as they grow, which is perfectly normal, but if your child is struggling to eat healthy foods and they’re overweight (maybe your family doctor has mentioned it), you can do something about it.
First thing’s first: if you’re worried about your child’s weight, talk to your family doctor. They’ll do a proper check-up of your child’s health and will advise you on the best course of action. Unlike losing weight when you’re an adult, most children won’t need to lose weight. Instead, your doctor might recommend that you help your child keep their weight steady or slow down the weight gain as they grow taller. That way, they’ll naturally move into the healthy weight range over time.
But what if your child does need to lose weight or make some changes to their diet?
How to safely help your child lose weight with you
The good news is, if you’re starting a weight loss meal plan for your own weight loss journey, it can also help your child lose some weight (if they need to). The Healthy Mummy weight loss meal plans focus on good nutrition and better alternatives to your favourite foods – they don’t do calorie counting, extreme diets, or anything like that. It’s why they’re safe even for pregnant/breastfeeding mums and great for the whole family, including kids.
With your weight loss meal plan, your child will have more nutritious food available, and less processed, high sugar, high-fat foods. They’ll have energy that lasts them longer so they can run around more. And they’ll actually want to eat the healthy food in your meal plan because it looks, smells, and tastes so good.
Involve your child in your weight loss meal plan
Why not involve your child in your weight loss meal plan? It’s a great way to help them understand what’s involved in healthier eating and encourage them to improve their habits alongside you. Here are some steps you can involve them in:
1. Pantry/fridge clear-out
Use this as an opportunity to talk about healthier food choices. Decide what’s allowed to stay and what you need to throw out or give away. It’ll help your child see that their usual favourite snacks might not be around anymore!
2. Choose your meals and recipes for the week
When you create your weight loss meal plan, get your family involved in deciding what meals to eat each week. Show them all the recipes available, then get their input on what they’d most like to eat.
3. Shop your ingredients
While it’s okay to leave your kids at home while you shop (and usually way easier), it’s also good if you can bring them along and involve them in the process of shopping for groceries. Give them their own list (if they’re old enough) and get them to help you find healthy, nutritious alternatives to their usual snacks, plus ingredients needed to stick to the weight loss meal plan.
4. Meal prep (and snack prep)
Ready to head into the kitchen and cook up a storm? See if your kids are around to help you chop, mix, and assemble the food. It might even encourage them to try new foods and healthy ingredients if they’re involved in the process.
Sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised at how many mums don’t involve their kids in this step. If you choose a family-friendly weight loss meal plan, your kids can eat it too! Meaning you only have to make one meal for everyone, and your kids get healthier, more nutritious food into their bodies.
It’s all about balance
Let’s talk for a minute about balance. Because while it’s important to instil healthy eating habits and knowledge around nutrition in your kids, it’s important not to go too far. Kids are really influenced by what we think and say about stuff, so we have to be careful to maintain balance and positivity. Here at the Healthy Mummy, we believe that obsessing over calories isn’t the way to go for anyone’s health, but especially when it comes to kids.
So, make sure you talk about healthy bodies in a positive way. Weight loss can help you live a healthier life, have more energy to do things with your body, and feel better and happier in your skin. If that’s what your kid wants, then great! But if your child has mentioned a desire to lose weight, make sure you understand why. If there’s an underlying issue like bullying, trying to impress others, or wanting to look like a celebrity, it’s extremely important to talk about this and support them to work through any body image issues.
Instead of referring to your ‘diet’ or ‘weight loss meal plan’, it might be better if you just talk to your kids about becoming healthier as a family, rather than focusing on weight loss.
9 tips to help your kids be healthier
Aside from sticking to your weight loss meal plan, here are some great tips that have helped mums in our community improve their family and kids’ health:
- Talk about food in a positive way – “This vegetable will help you run faster, jump higher, and play for longer.”
- Encourage frequent, healthy snacks – Make snacks available to your child throughout the day and plan them as part of your weight loss meal plan.
- Involve them in the kitchen – One of the best ways to get your kids excited to eat healthy food is if they help you make it.
- Water only – Sugary drinks and fruit juices can add a lot of calories to your child’s diet with very little nutrition, so cut them out.
- Go wholegrain – Most kids love white bread, white rice, and white pasta, but it’s much better if you can substitute for wholegrain versions (and they’ll probably eat less overall because whole grains are more filling).
- Be consistent – Studies show that it can take a few exposures to new foods on the plate before kids are open to eating them.
- Encourage movement – Most kids love to get outside and play, but with technology becoming increasingly present, you’ll need to monitor and limit screen time to make sure they don’t miss out on moving their bodies.
- Stock up – If you do a pantry clear out of all the usual processed foods, replace these with healthier baked goods and plenty of fruits and vegetables.
- Prioritise family meal times – Sitting down at the table to enjoy a healthy meal together will help you model healthy eating for your family and increase the chances of them eating healthier foods.
Get the weight loss meal plan your whole family will love
If you haven’t signed up for our 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge, you can check out all the info here. As part of the challenge, you get access to amazing weight loss meal plans that are safe and enjoyable for the whole family, plus support from inside our community of Healthy Mummies.