Confession: My Kids Eat Better Than I Do

By , SparkPeople Blogger
I've blogged about my kids' diets many times in the past. I try hard to provide them with good, wholesome meals. Fruit, vegetables, low-fat dairy and lean meats are the norm in my house. My kids have treats, but in moderation, so overall, I feel pretty good about how they eat. Interestingly, I can't say that my or my husband's diet lives up to quite the same standard. According to a new online poll, we're not alone.

My kids get vegetables with lunch and dinner every day. If they want seconds of their meal, they have to finish their veggies first. I do eat vegetables with dinner every day, but with lunch, not so much. My kids drink organic milk, but my husband drinks regular. He doesn't care either way, so I buy him regular to save money. My kids get "dessert" on occasion, but it's usually just on the weekends. It's not unusual for my husband and I to eat something sweet after the kids go to bed, whether it's the weekend or not. My husband has a habit of grabbing a handful of M&M's just as we're about to sit down at the dinner table. Would I let my kids do that? Of course not.

I think part of the issue is that I put so much effort into what my kids eat that when it comes to my own diet, I get a little lazy. Overall, my diet is pretty healthy and I think I'm a good example for my kids. But if you break down our day, my diet is definitely not as good as what my kids are eating on a regular basis. According to an online poll from, 47% of moms surveyed said their kids eat healthier than they do.

What easy things can you to do improve your diet to be more like your kid's? I've started eating things like vegetable soup at lunch to incorporate more veggies into that meal. I try planning ahead for my snacks just like I do with theirs, to make sure I have some healthy options that sound good to eat. And I've also started limiting my desserts a little more, since the less sugar I eat, the less I seem to crave it. My kids are very perceptive, so even if I'm not eating cookies in front of them, they see the bag in the pantry and know it's there.

Do your kids eat better than you do? If so, why do you think that's the case?

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Good question. We ate the same until we both needed a diet,then I had a diet buddy. Try as we did hubby would eat too much,then raided the refrigerator for food again later.He got to where he was over 400#'s! Daughter is living on her own and I have a new diet buddy. He's now 285#'s and is able to walk better. That is because his new doctor made an appointment for him to see a nutritionist right off the bat. Thank God! I may have hubby around longer. Report
I definitely think my kids eat more healthy than I do. I eat pretty much the same things they do, but I do a lot of snacking during the day that I shouldn't. Report
Lunch time can be a very difficult time for adults to eat healthy since so many of us don't think to pack or plan for our own lunch meals. I was having this problem, so I went ahead and purchased Laptop Lunches bento boxes for our entire family to make sure we are all eating as healthy as possible throughout the day. You can check them out at, . You can also sign up to receive their weekly menu feed to help keep your lunches exciting and healthy. Report
My kids (5.5, 4, and 2.5)0 eat better than my husband and I do. Being a vegetarian family, we want to make sure our kids develop healthy, varied eating and not rely on pasta or grilled cheese for every meal like many veggies do. The hubs and I became vegs nearly 15 years ago so we had already had some pretty unhealthy eating habits and those habits are hard to break. We wanted to start our kids off right. I have been thinking about what I feed my kids and if I won't feed them something, why should I eat it? I may try eating what they eat for 1 week and see how I do. Report
I Know where you are coming from My 2 kids Madison 4 and Logan 2 they would rather eat a banana than have candy my kids would rather eat celery or cucumber than eat pizza they don't even eat the crust either!!! I think I need to take lessons from them Report
I am doing my best. My kids encourage the healthy food in this house, because they want me to be fit. I want that too. Report
I know my daughter eats better than I do. I want her to develop a love for healthy foods like fruits and veggies. Report
My kids are all grown. Their eating habits need to be updated. I now have healthy food when they come over. No soda and no junk. Just fresh fruit and vegetables.
I am trying to show my grandchildren a different way to eat and be healthy. Report
Shocking that the author gives her kids organic milk (presumably because she thinks it's better for them), but her husband gets regular to save money. If you believe organic better, it's better for your husband too, who presumably is your love. Report
my kids are twenty year olds - I definitely eat better than they do. the days of monitoring their diets are pretty well gone. I can offer them fruits and veggies and such but they have access to their own supplies of fast food and grocery store junk food runs. Unfortunately I find myself tempted to join them quite often. so this is new challenge for me more from when they were little and I had more control.

One boy is very obese and the other is encouraged by the dr to put on weight. Surprisingly it is the too thin one who seems to have a diet consisting mostly of junk food. Frustrating! Report
i like sweet for desert but i have it with fresh fruit so it is a HEALTY desert
Keep showing your kids the "healthy" way to eat. They should NEVER have a weight problem. Report
We want to do the best for our children that we can, so all our Mum-energy goes into making sure they get good food, prepared in a healthy way, good drinks, etc.
A few of the comments mention preparing a packed lunch for yourself when making them for the children - seems a wonderful idea, even if you're not going to be out.
When my sons were small, I managed to avoid the temptation of finishing anything left on their plates. But having made sure that they each had a (fairly) healthy meal that they'd eat, and that there was a healthy meal ready for DH - I didn't have the energy left to make my own healthy dinner. And I'm still trying to get around that, 20 years on, cos I don't enjoy eating my meal when I've just been in the kitchen for the past hour or so preparing and cooking it. I need a break from the heat, the smells and the tastings (even just for seasoning). So I eat later, then I can't always be bothered to re-heat the full dinner, or to make myself something that I'll enjoy.

I'm away to check out the bento link :) Report
LOL! My kids are grown men and definitely DO NO eat more healthy foods than I do. Report
My nieces and nephews are still young enough that they only eat what I specifically give them. So they definitely eat better than I do! Report
My children eat fruit and veg very well as my husband and I do. Though my 9 year old girl is better than I as she always knows when she has had enough to eat!!!
~They do have more opportunities to try new things that we did as children.
We encourage balance between sweet things and fruits.
I rarely eat cookies and crisps but don't stop them just try to limit them a little. Report
It seems that many of the people who have responded are talking about young children that are eating what there parents put out or allow them to eat. The tricky time comes when they are in junior and senior high school and making their own food choices. What I see many kids of that age group eating is soooo unhealthy. As for my family and I, I think we are about the same. Our motto is "Everything in moderation, including moderation". Its okay to enjoy the special times like Christmas and your birthday as long as it does not become the norm instead of the exception:) Report
My kids don't eat healthier than me at all. My oldest is 19 and a vegetarian - she has quite a sweet tooth and eats way more sugary carbs than I do. And I eat a larger variety of veggies than she does. My youngest is 14 and loves Doritos, BBQ chips and soda (3 things I would never eat, but he has several times a week). My middle child (17) is the healthiest eater, but I still eat a greater variety of veggies - I like kale, beets, salads, mushrooms, & peppers, to name a few. All the kids indulge in sweets more frequently than me. Report
Oh ya, how I know this one. When my kids want a snack, I point them to the fruit bowl. When I want one, I go digging through the cabinets. Midafternoon capuccino for me, a yoghurt drink for the kids or a glass of juice. A piece of dark chocolate after every meal, preferably, but for the kids, they usually only get it on the weekends. Yep, I have noticed. It is getting better though. Since the beginning of Feb, I have committed to eating an apple a day, so that mid-afternoon snack, is usually the same as the kids now. I do get in more water and green tea than they do though. With them being in school, it makes it difficult for them to get as much as they should. Thanks for reminding me of what I need to be doing. On a good note, generation by generation, our families should be getting healthier and healthier. Report
Interesting to see how there can be such a division. I don't have kids, but when I was one, Mom and my brother and I ate the same three meals, because, till we got to high school, we came home for lunch, and the whole family ate dinner together. Since Mom didn't snack, we ate 'worse,' because when we came home was when we could go a bit 'mad,' although there wasn't much to go mad with--just more of the same. Chips and soda were weekend things and I never liked soda anyway. My problem, and it surfaced fast, was I liked to eat too much of whatever was available. Still do.
But it's very interesting to see what the years have done to old-fashioned eating habits--good reminder. Report
This was a really interesting thought. For me, I think I am still eating healthier than my kids since I don't snack on chips the way I might allow them and so on, but even so, does that make me a better parent? Heck no, because I am still teaching them it is okay to eat crap. Just last night I was working on cleaning out and organizing my pantry (thanks Organizing Team!) and realized how much junky stuff is still there, but I patted myself on the back for not being the one eating it. I see now that that is lousy justification. There just needs to be a lot less consumption of it, period, and it all depends on me regardless of what I am putting in my own body. Report
No, I think I eat as well as they do. Report
I feel I will monitor my sons diet when he does stat eating better then my own & my husband does none organic milk, none organic spinach to save money as wll. I am going to work on that Report
This is our household as well! My and my husbands diets are attrocious, my husband moreso. We just don't eat as well as our kids do. The sad part is, they are learning from us. Our bad habits ARE being noticed and that is not good. We have to set the example. The old addage, "Do as I say, not as I do!" won't work. Its not an easy change to make!

Great Blog, thank you for sharing! Report
My kids, especially my 5-year-old son, eats the healthiest in my family. Since he was my first kid, I was VERY strict about what he ate as his first foods. He now prefers blueberries to most anything else. My daughter is a harder one, as I had less control over her first foods because I had to go back to work. Still, the kids eat better because I hide away my junk food and eat when they go to sleep. Right now I'm working on clearing out the sugar because if my daughter senses there's sugar in the house, she's throw a fit to have some at all times. Report
My family mostly eat really healthy meals. My 6 yo occasionally eats chocolate & lollies, at Birthdays, Easter & Christmas.
We eat all organic, unprocessed, and also homegrown food.
So his parents eat better than him except for alcohol consumption, currently having an alcohol free Feb! Report
I think you hit the nail on the head. I generally get a good breakfast and lunch (with snacks) planned for myself. When it comes to dinner lately I'm finding that I work hard to put good food in my kid's mouths and getting them cleaned up, played with and put to bed. But by that time I'm mentally running on steam and have a tendency to just make do with whatever we have. I have gotten better lately at it but I had to really watch for a few weeks so I didn't slip back into a mindless mode. Report
My kids eat better than me. At least at school the get a good meal and a hardy breakfast. Most times I am lucky to get anything for breakfast. Most often lunch is fast food and a drink full of empty carbs. I am trying to break the habit and start taking my lunch but it is hard to break the habit and sometimes it is hard to cook dinner much left have left overs for lunch. Report
I am eating healthy along with my kids & grandkids. I don't eat bad stuff anymore. Report
My son eats better than I do. His daycare follows a food program that dictates so many fruits and vegetables. His daycare provider also makes nearly everything from scratch, so not so much processed foods. His daycare is also strict about making sure that everyone takes at least one bite of everything on the plate. Report
Right now I'm eating better than my kids, but if I compare their diet now to what I ate as a child, they are WAY better off. Right now we aren't eating to either extreme, and I'm thankful to have shed some of the old ways of thinking of food. Report
Same here, my daughter eats practically all organic whole foods, it is easier for me to do that for her because she simply does not like many additives unless it is marinara sauce.

She is healthy and I want her to eat a rainbow of foods and enjoy them. Report
This is so me, too! I eat the bad stuff after my kids are in bed. Makes me wonder if I'm an addict (to sugar). One of my daughters is in school all day so I pack her wonderfully healthy lunches. My younger daughter and I also have lunch boxes (the three of us each have a bento box from Laptop Lunches) that we use when we go to visit friends in the mornings and need to eat lunch away from home before I take her to school in the afternoon. I find that I eat better on those days because I pack the same lunch for myself that I pack for the kids. Planning ahead definitely helps. On my good weeks, I use the best meal planner I have found, which is the weekly planner with bento lunch area on / This allows me to plan my daughter's lunches in detail as well as our family breakfasts and dinners. I could ensure that my younger daughter and I eat as well as my older daughter at lunchtime by packing all three of us lunches each day. That would also give me the freedom to take the younger one to the park, etc. at a moment's notice in the morning because we could just grab our lunches and go.

And can I just say... reading this makes me feel so much better. I find that the less alone I feel in all of this, the more likely I am to make changes for the better. :o) Report
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