If you have read some of my earlier blogs about my kids, you might remember that my oldest Eli has ALWAYS been the fussiest of eaters. He is 5 years old, and ever since I introduced him to solids as a baby, he always wanted plain white carbs. When Jack and I started to eat LCHF, this proved a massive obstacle for me to overcome. I knew that he would be so much better off eating this way, but to get him to change was a challenge. I can say that after we have been eating this way long term now, Eli tries everything now! For me this is massive. He will try all meat and vegetables that I give him, and do you know what, if he doesn’t like it, he will still try it again next time. I firmly believe that I am teaching my sons invaluable lessons regarding food and their bodies. Don’t get me wrong, this has not been overnight. He has always cooked with me, smelt new foods etc. but had just been too scared to try new foods. So it has been a very long process to get him to where he is today.
But besides the fussiness which he has overcome, I have two other massive issues regarding eating this way and my children. The first is intermittent fasting, which I do every day. And secondly, the amount of sugar products that my kids are surrounded by every single day.
My way of intermittent fasting is very natural. I have learnt since changing the way that I eat, that I am much better at reading hunger signals. Put simply, if I am hungry I eat, and if not, I don’t. So, most days (especially if I have had enough fat the previous day), I naturally fall into 16:8 fasting pattern. For those that don’t know what is this, I fast approx. 16 hours every day and eat within a window of 8 hours. Great for some, but I know it’s not for everyone, but it works for me. But my issue is how to talk to my kids about eating when hungry and not eating because we have been told to eat 3-6 times per day. What I find difficult, as my kids are very young, is how to go about teaching them to learn to read their hunger signs, yet still eating enough during the day to give them all the energy and nutrients they need. I have spoken to a few people about this. And I must admit, that I get very different opinions. Some say to make them eat regularly as this is what they need, and then some people say that if they are not hungry, then don’t make them eat. Currently, I am trying to find a balance. I encourage my kids to eat three meals a day, but if they say they are not hungry, I don’t make them eat their food, I just make sure that for the rest of the meals for the day, they are as nutrient dense as I can make them. It is also difficult, as my children go to a day care who provide their meals for them. So another factor to keep in mind. This one I know will be an ongoing conversation in my household.
Both my children have a sweet tooth. Most kids probably do. Sweets taste great – right! But it makes you feel absolutely rubbish afterwards. For my kids, when they do have sugar food (which let me tell you, it is in almost everything that is found in a supermarket), they have the sugar highs and then they come crushing down. Eli is able to directly see how sugar affects his behaviour. So a big conversation we have is about sugar and the ingredients of the foods we do buy from the supermarket. I am sure most parents, and I had to admit it, almost all of us, find going to the supermarket can be a massive challenge. Sugar laden products are everywhere - in each isle and each checkout. Some checkout queues don't have confectionery, but most do. And what really gets me frustrated, is that they put all these things and the kids eye level. It is so difficult saying no to them all the time. And one question that Eli asks me that is always stuck in my mind and always gets me thinking “If sugar is so bad for you, why are the supermarkets and shops allowed to sell it? Can't we ask them to take it off the shelves”. Eli is working so hard on changing the way that he eats, and going shopping and being out, makes it so difficult for him. All I can do as a Mum and a parent is talk to him, and explain things the best that I can. Unfortunately, I believe that this discussion about sugar laden products is going to be a lifetime discussion.