By: Holly L. Goroff MS, RD, CDN
It will happen. It does not care about meetings, doctors’ appointments, plans, projects or promises. It will happen, you, the parent, YOU WILL GET HUNGRY! I know we have supermoms and superdads out there who seem to go and go and go without thinking twice about themselves. Their focus is always on their children. But this post is for you, mom and dad! We always talk about our children being choosy, but let’s talk about you – the parent!
Consider this scenario whether you are a stay at home parent or work outside of the house (because we know we are all busy!): you have had back to back obligations all day. You ate a healthy breakfast and then ran out of the house (or around the house) to get started with your daily routine. In a few hours you feel you are getting really hungry but don’t have a healthy food option readily available. You’re in the middle of your day and you just don’t have time to grab a sensible lunch because of many different reason…you fill in the blank! What would you do?
It sounds like a silly thing to point out, but especially for those who are trying to achieve a healthy weight, it may seem to make sense to stick to your three meals a day and not have any food available in between those times to reduce the calories from mindless eating.
There is truth in that thought! Mindless eating should be avoided at all costs because it has nothing to do with hunger. But let me make a quick distinction between choosy snacking and mindless eating. When I suggest snacking, I am suggesting you make arrangements to not allow yourself to become ‘starving’ and therefor avoid making poor food choices. To do that I would bring, or have on hand, a few low calorie, high fiber snacks and water or seltzer and have them with you especially on busy days. Be choosy about your snack and drink options. Sometimes it is easier to put yourself in your children’s shoes and think if you were the child, what would you, the parent, be feeding yourself? I am sure you’re not going to choose cookies and sugary drinks!
To avoid mindlessly eating your healthy snacks, I suggest keeping the food out of arms reach (out of sight – out of mind, right?) For example, put the food items in the trunk (if you have a car) or pre-portion a serving or two and put it in your cupboard at home so you don't over-eat because it’s there – this happens all the time with the infamous ‘trail mix’.
So parents, don’t let yourself be surprised by hunger. Our children surprise us enough with that! Plan for hunger to strike and be choosy with your snack decisions. This is great role modeling for your children to observe as well.
What are your favorite healthy, choosy snacks? Do you work inside or outside of the home?
She received her Master of Science degree in Nutrition and Food Studies from the Steinhardt School at New York University. She is published through her research and contributing work at Burke Rehabilitation Center investigating nutritional factors impacting neurological rehabilitation in stroke patients.
In addition to managing her staff of clinical nutritionists, she has a passion for serving at-need and underserved communities. She teaches outreach programs focused on mindful eating and strategies to make healthier lifestyle choices to at-risk community populations. She has recently been made lead in her hospital for teaching and managing the outreach classes to reduce childhood obesity.
She has expertise in: weight loss and management, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, dealing with polypharmacy and achieving nutrition goals, achieving wellness goals in a creative and resourceful manner and motivating change.