The low carb lifestyle has done amazing things for me, and in turn for my family, as I am a better Mom, wife, and just overall me. It’s no surprise I love this lifestyle. I shout it to the rooftops to anyone that will listen.
But if you follow my blog you may wonder the question I get asked a lot….
“Are your children low carb too?”
Now if you ask my mighty three they will probably tell you they are low carb. They know something is different about how we eat as a family and since they know I am low carb they naturally think they are too. In fact, I’ll never forget the look on the school nurse’s face when my youngest announced to her that his tummy hurt that day because he ate too many carbs.
Oh yeah I was definitely judged that day.
However the truth of the matter is my Recovering Carbie Jr.’s are NOT EXACTLY low carb like their Mom. Instead they have their own special lifestyle of eating that I am working on with them.
The truth of the matter is that kids need carbs in their diets, much more than we need as adults.
Pretty much all researchers agree that low carb diets for kids are not advisable. Kids need well rounded diets and even if you are trying to get your children down to a healthy weight, strict low carb diets are not the way to go
So no, I’m not raising carb haters…rather I believe my job as their Mom is to teach them how to live smart in a Carbie world.
Now I still believe that some basic tenants of low carb living apply to children:
(1) Processed food should be avoided.
(2) Sugar should be monitored and curbed.
(3) Keep the good carbs, cut the bad.
(4) Kids should learn to label read and recognize unhealthy food.
So here’s how my kids “low carb”:
It’s strict for me, slow for them:
For me, I am strict low carb. I steer away from fruit that is high carb, veggies that have a lot of carbs, and whole grain foods. But my kids don’t follow anything strict. All fruits are fair game, veggies no matter what form should be eaten. Natural sugars that bother me are served happily to them. Whole grains are eaten. I follow a strict dietary plan but for them its about slow, calculated changes, that to be honest they don’t even notice.
They are encouraged to be carnivores!
I build my family’s meals around meat. I push protein on my kids to get them to see that a meal should be built around the meat, not the sides. I encourage meat eating in all forms, whether its a chicken breast for dinner or lunch meat for a snack.
They eat REALLY good carbs and are steered from the processed junk.
Kids need carbs in their diets as they grow. So although I may be restricting them heavily in my diet, I want them to stick around for them. BUT, that’s not to say I want all carbs around my kids. If I’m going to serve carbs to my kids, I make sure they are complex carbohydrates with lots of fiber. Whole grains are key. I want the good stuff in their diet, not all the empty carbs that left to their own accord they would all fill up on.
I worry about their sugar, not their carbs.
To be honest I don’t care how many carbs my kids eat. Instead I worry about sugar. Low carb for my kids basically means Low sugar. The more I learn about sugar the more I want it gone in my kids’ diets. Of course they are kids, so sugar is a part of life. But, I’m really trying to focus on limiting their sugar intake and teaching them good habits. Sugar is something we need to eat in moderation. So, for my kids, we count sugar grams, not carbs.
I try and keep them below 30 grams of sugar a day and get them in on the process. They read labels, compare candy. Sugar curbing is really hard… I often fail. But if we can make small steps toward less sugar that’s success in my book. Again most of this I do without even telling them. I just look for lower sugar snack options for our pantry.
We focus on moving
Since my kids are not limited on their carbs, to work on their health we focus on moving, working out, using the fuel we have eaten.
I’ve gotten a lot of crazy looks in grocery stores, because my kids are MAJOR label readers. Even though my kids aren’t really counting carbs, I still teach them how to make smarter choices by reading labels. They still look at labels and find lower carb options when shopping with me and will proudly announce to others around them how many carbs are in a certain item.
For example, they love to tell me that cheese balls are good for you because they don’t have sugar. So everytime I try to avoid that large container of tempting cheese balls they love to tell me what they have learned. Damn cheese balls.
We all eat the same things, just modified for me/them:
I don’t cook different meals for my kids v. me. We all eat the same things, but if, for example we are eating hamburgers, I might have mine without the bun and they may have theirs with a whole wheat bun. Bread for their sandwiches, low carb tortilla for mine. Subway sandwiches for them, salad for me.
We encourage more meal eating and less snacking.
One of the new things I’m working on with my kids is to encourage small meals throughout the day and less snacking. My kids do really good with meals, but snack time they are junk food junkies. So, I’m working on teaching them that it’s better to make a bologna sandwich after school than dive into a bag of chips.
Slow and Steady wins the race
It’s so hard to get kids to eat healthy, especially when you are SO busy. Yes, my kids eat drive thru, yes they have candy, yes they eat ice cream way too much. But, every day I try to make smarter choices for them. I’ve seen some amazing changes in the way my kids eat this year. But it’s a slow and steady race. I find that it’s more important to focus on maintaining their weight than losing pounds.
And that’s how my three Recovering Carbie Jr’s do low carb. Together we are finding our health one baby tip toe step at a time!