Back-to-school time is in full swing! For busy parents, that means even more hectic schedules. Between managing work, after-school activities, and weekend sports, who has time for planning healthy meals for your family? It can be very challenging to provide balanced nutritious meals and maintain your waistline.
Weight management can be difficult for many of us, but especially for busy parents. A consumer survey conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of Calorie Control Council found that 72 percent of Americans want to lose weight. When the same question was asked of parents who have kids in the home, that number rose to 77 percent. Unfortunately, having children in the household may present challenges that can hurt your success rate of being able to keep weight off. In the same poll, those with children in the house were less likely to have kept the weight off for two years versus those without kids, at 36 percent versus 44 percent.
When raising a family, it’s harder to stick to a diet plan because kids may not necessarily enjoy healthy foods. However, there are several eating habits that you can follow that will help maintain your weight. The first thing is, don’t skip breakfast. Breakfast provides energy and leads to less over-eating later in the day. The next thing to consider is portion size. Sometimes it’s not possible to make the healthiest food choices, but you can compensate and reduce calories by eating smaller amounts. Portion control is a major contributor to maintaining a healthy weight. Another easy way to cut calories is to avoid drinks sweetened with sugar, and instead opt for low-calorie sweetened beverages or water.
When it comes to your family, plan meals and snacks ahead of time. Go grocery shopping on the weekend and stock up on meals and snacks for the week. Use the weekend to make a few dinners and freeze them. Keep healthy snacks on-hand that are quick to grab and go, like bananas or almonds. Try to eat foods from all food groups – fruits, veggies, whole grains, and lean proteins are ideal. Providing a wide variety of foods and being a healthy role model will also help your children develop healthy eating habits.
Keri Peterson, MD is a medical contributor and columnist for Women’s Health and a frequent guest on NBC’s Today, ABC’s Good Morning America, Fox News and CNN. Based in New York City, Dr. Peterson has been in private practice since 1999 and holds appointments at Lenox Hill Hospital and Mount Sinai Medical Center. With a BA from Cornell University and a Medical Degree from Mount Sinai School of Medicine, she completed post-graduate training in Internal Medicine at New York’s Mount Sinai Medical Center and is board certified in Internal Medicine. Dr. Peterson is a member of the American College of Physicians and the American Medical Association, and serves as a medical advisor for the Calorie Control Council.