Thursday, May 5, 2011

Soggy Cereal and Other Reasons Why You Should Teach Your Kids About Serving Sizes


 Discussions about health and nutrition are a pretty standard thing around here.  I take the job of teaching my kids how to eat pretty seriously.  Not because I am obsessive about food and weight, but because if I don't teach them what to eat and why, they will grow up unhealthy.  I want my kids to grow up to be well rounded adults...healthy in their bodies, souls and minds.  And teaching them about food is a big part of teaching them to take care of their bodies.

I have taught the boys what words like calories mean.  Calories are the thing in food that gives your body energy.  But everyone needs different amounts for different reasons.  Calories from healthy food?  Have as many as you want my growing little men. Calories from junk food like potato chips? Let's take it easy.

I have also taught them to look at the nutrition labels on pre-packaged foods and at the ingredients list as well.  They know how to decipher if I will buy a cereal or not.  Is there high fructose corn syrup in the ingredients?  How many grams of fiber are there?  How many grams of sugar are there?

I think these are great ways to show your kids what you should eat and why.  Great opportunities to teach about health and wellness are in your cabinets folks!

So recently when we were having a constant overdose of soggy cereal, I began thinking about how to avoid such waste.  Every morning that someone ate cereal, half a bowl was getting thrown out because it got "too soggy".

That's when a light bulb went off, I think it literally lit up above my head like in a cartoon, actually.

It's time teach about serving sizes!

I got a little too nerdy granola about it really.  But I'm ok with that.

It's pretty well known that us Americans have that whole serving size thing down wrong.  A friend of mine who works at a steak house told me that the kid's meal steak is larger than the recommended serving size of a steak for an adult.  I think that about sums it up.

Teaching kids about serving sizes is not about teaching them to eat so they don't get fat.  It's about teaching them limits.  It's about showing them how much they need of certain foods and why.

So I took out the cereal boxes and began to show my boys what the serving size was, why it was there and how to use it.  Now, they know that they need only to pour a bowl of cereal that is the suggested serving size listed on the box.



They get out the measuring cups (They are practicing math and they don't know it! Nerd Mom dream come true!)


They then pour only that much cereal into the bowl.

I also showed them where it shows how much milk you should use on the box and they poured just enough milk as well.



Now we know that they are not pouring excessive amounts of cereal into their bowls, thus causing unnecessary waste.  And as they grow up, they will know that serving size is something to consider and that it matters!

Money saved, lessons learned.

WIN!

Do you have any tips on how you teach your kids simple lessons on eating right? I'd love to hear them!

4 comments:

  1. Korinne ZimmermanMay 5, 2011 at 6:16 AM

    Wonderful!!! My oldest is just starting to read, so we will have to start working on this soon.
    The only thing we are doing now is when I buy boxes of snacks I bag them up into serving sizes. I noticed that a lot of mindless snacking was going on, now we get all 10 (or whatever) serving sizes of of a box. I also try to remember that everyones stomachs are the size of their fists, to keep portion sizes reasonable and we have switched to smaller plates.

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  2. Oh, I love the size of the fist example. I'm going to use that! Totally forgot about it! Thanks for sharing!

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  3. This is a great tip. As you know my two are too little but this is definitely something that will stick with me. My husband and I really hate wasting food so teaching the kids early makes perfect sense. Really great and original post lady.

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