Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Dinner Revolution Part Deux: The Loop

Okay peeps!  Many of you could relate to the post  "Dinner Revolution:  What But Not When", so I thought today I would continue the topic with some more food ideas.

Once we had grasped the concept of what but not when it really freed up the options we had with our kiddos and food.  Through a series of trial and error we have created a loop system that works for our family.  Let me explain...

The kids are allowed to choose when they eat, but they have to choose foods in the order of protein, fruit or veggie, and then snack/carbohydrate. For example, #1 will usually have bacon, grapes and cereal for breakfast.  When he is ready for a snack he can usually will grab some lunch meat.  If he is still hungry he goes for fruit or carrots.  Once he has had these items he is free to have a donut, fruit snacks, chips or whatever.
He is old enough that I do not have to remind him of the order.  If I come downstairs and he is eating a donut he is quick to tell me, "I ate pepperoni and grapes first."

#2 is younger and still asks me to get his food for him.  As a result I tell him his choices and he will say, "But I want a cookie."  I will respond, "You may have a cookie, but you need to eat a protein and a fruit or veggie first.  Would you like some cheese or peanut butter with your strawberries?"  Sometimes he goes along with the idea easily and other times he cries for the cookie.  If he is crying I tell him, "I am sorry you are sad.  Let me know when you are ready to eat your healthy food."

At dinner I prepare/acquire a meal and we eat at the table.  That is your choice.  I am not a short order cook.  You do not have to eat at that time but the food offered at dinner is the dinner choice for that evening.  I have been known to force the occasional no-thank-you-bite before the kids completely walk away from the meal.  

Before I posted this I wanted to verify that it wasn't a whacked out system.  I actually made an appointment with a dietitian and she gave me the thumbs up.  She liked it because it didn't force kids to eat when they were not hungry and because it begins educating them on how to make balanced choices. I like it because It is nice to be the fun food mom.  I never say no to treats, I just have to help them keep the loop going in the right order.

I have to say that this post makes me seem like much more of a health nut than I am.  I have a hard time keeping a straight face when I am telling the little people that they have to eat their healthy food first and I am referring to a happy meal with fries-not apple dippers. We may order apples separately but you will never catch us forfeiting the fries.  Just keeping it real ;) 

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