I have a friend who is a mom and an addict -- but it's not what you think. Yesterday she called me and said, "Help me, JJ. I am a Goldfish-aholic."
JJ Virgin: Her very fussy 7-year-old son, Max, lives on four food groups: mac and cheese, Chicken McNuggets, kids' cereals, and those little orange goldfish crackers. Problem is, she ends up eating the entire bag of these salty crackers before her son even knows they are in the house. "I'm totally out of control," she told me. "My son even said, 'If you don't leave any goldfish for me, I'm not inviting you to my birthday party this year.'"
Talk about tough love. But the message is frightening: Moms are often inviting dietary disasters by eating side-by-side with their children. So-called child-friendly foods are lurking everywhere, and they derail very well-intentioned mothers from maintaining their healthy weight and body composition.
It's not your fault. Your child is fussy -- she only eats these foods and then never finishes them, so you mindlessly just eat the last few bites -- or half a serving, if your child does the two-bite thing and then runs back to his toys. Perhaps you might feel that a few little goldfish are harmless: They're low in calories, and they keep your child (and you) content. The greatest danger with these foods has to do with damaged fats, refined grains and sugars, artificial ingredients, and their nearly zero nutritional content. All of these factors are proven to negatively impact your weight and damage your health in so many frightening ways that it's amazing these foods aren't put behind locked glass cases along with hunting knives and revolvers!
Your goal is to get the enemy out of the house so that you are not tempted to nosh, nor feed your kids these foods either. Here are some ideas for making some lateral shifts in your frig and pantry:
• Have you ever seen square fruit? Neither have I. So eat the fruit, dump the juice boxes. Juice turns to sugar quickly and does a whammy on blood sugar and insulin response. Go for the whole fruit for the fiber and phytonutrient punch. Pair your berries or apples with a handful of raw nuts and you're golden.
• Do a drive-by. Instead of pulling into your favorite drive-through, head to the grocery store instead and pick up a freshly roasted baked chicken and retrain your tastebuds to LOVE the clean, unadulterated taste of roast chicken, not the fried, greasy breading around it.
• Do some crunches. Yep, those too, but for a change-up with your crackers, how about some brown rice crackers or rice cakes topped with some almond butter, or even a few tablespoons of guacamole instead? You'll be amazed at how easy it is to eat just one.
• You can teach an old dog new tricks. Here's a couple for you to work on: brush your teeth after every meal so that you are not tempted to snack; and stop eating at the sink at a frenzied pace while feeding your kids, talking on the phone, and mindlessly stuffing your mug with whatever crosses its path.
• Explore new options. A lot of people complain about the high cost of organic fare, but heck, if you're not going to invest in your health today, you're gonna pay a much higher price later in terms of health. So, check out the organic whole grain mac and cheese options, canned or premade organic chili and veggie soups, and whole grain cereals and frozen waffles that aren't loaded with sugars (for a clue, check out the first ingredient on the list -- it should be a whole grain, not a sugar!).
And remember ... the only goldfish you need in your house are the kind that swim in a little bowl.
|JJ Virgin, PhD, CNS is a celebrity health and nutrition expert, author, public speaker and media personality. She is internationally recognized as the creator of the Weight Loss Resistance Revolution™ and trains other health care professionals in her program. JJ is the President of the National Association of Nutrition Professionals, nanp.org.|