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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok, something must be done. I'm 17 and living at home with my family, Mom, Dad, and my sister Emily. She's almost 8 years old. Pretty much since the time she was a baby, my parents have fed her whatever she wanted and liked, when she wanted and liked it. Her diet has evolved to consist of cheeseburgers (sometimes like 3 times a week, always once of twice), grilled cheese, potato chips, Doritos, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, Hostess crap cakes, Captain Crunch, french fries and anything and everything COMPLETELY drowned in butter. I am very concerned about her health and her future eating habits. Right now her metabolism seems to be pretty good- she's pretty thin- but I'm afraid its going to catch up to her like it did me, and she's going to end up with a weight problem. I know I don't have ALL the control over her eating- after all, I'm not her Mother- but how I can help her incorporate healthier foods and food patterns in her life? How can I bring this subject up with my parents without offending them? I'll be leaving for college in a year and my veggie influence will be gone, so I want to lav my mark on my junkfood junkie family!

Its all out of love, I swear.


lovenlight,

linz
 

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One thing you should not do with children is limit or impose meal times on them. You have to allow them to make their own food decisions, so that they learn to assess their hunger/caloric needs properly.

With that said.. Just try to have things around that might be more appetizing to her than a hamburger. Make yourself a nice healthy dinner and offer to share.

I often do this with my parents who eat like disgusting fiends. I'll make a nice healthy dinner with enough to share and just yell "Dinner!" Everyone sort of comes into the dining room and is pleased to have food prepared for them. It's better than letting them fend for themselves, and probably end up doing some McDonald's take-away.

Bake up some healthy oatmeal cookies or blueberry muffins and leave them on the counter. Your sister might opt for them over the limp, gross Hostess. Then eventually she'll develop a taste for more healthy food, and hopefully, continue to prepare it for herself after you're gone.
 

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My little brother (13, almost 14) is like that, but basically all he eats would be:

at least 2 cans of pop/soda a day, usually more

candy

pb sandwich, which he tears off the crust and is left with about two bites

pudding

chips

more candy

occasionally he'll eat a hamburger, macaroni and cheese, or grilled cheese sandwich (again, with the crust ripped off)


sometimes cereal (with tons of sugar)

Nesquik with way too much chocolate

Kool-aid

No matter what I say or do, my parents don't try to stop him, and it's really irritating. He's a little overweight, very short and under-developed for his age. That could just be a coincidence, but I doubt it.

Sometimes I'll get him to try something different, he'll say it's okay, then never eat it again. I think younger siblings were created to annoy the older ones.


Oh, and if I make dinner for the family, I'm lucky if just one of them will even try it.
 

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You are unusual "kids" In my family, I am the one who is constantly accused of being overly health conscious when it comes to food.

My kids say brown rice, whole grains and fresh veggies are "Hippie Food" and I see them go for the junk every chance they get...esp. my middle son. Right now he can't drive, so he is usually stuck eating what I prepare, but I worry what he will eat once he can transport himself to Pizza Hut!

When I was little I really looked up to my older siblings. I wanted to be just like them. I am sure if your little sister sees her (much cooler than her parents) big sister eating healthy, she will be want to also, at least some of the time.

Look for some kid friendly recipes and even let her help you make things. You sound like a really caring sister. Good-luck.
 

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Hm.. Just thought of this. My little brother is a soda fiend (well, so am I...) My mom gets him V8 Splash. It's basically orange soda, but it's 20% juice or something, and it's fortified with vitamins A, C, and E. At least it's sort of healthy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Hmm, good suggestions, especially about the cooking things and leaving them out.

Today my little sister came home and ate two twinkies and tons of milk. After she ate one Twinkie, I said something, like hey you should eat something else. And she just freaked out and started crying, thinking she was fat. I don't know, I don't think I can address the situation...I'll have to be more subtle.

FRUSTRATING to see the people I love treat their bodies so badly.

lovenlight,

linz
 

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I think CharityAJO has some good ideas there.

I would suggest dealing with your 8-year old sister directly. 8 or 9 is old enough to start taking control of her own life -- coincides with adult-form physical development of frontal lobes of brain, as upper front teeth migrate down into mouth, leaving more space in upper part of skull for frontal lobes to fill.

You might want to remind her how mature she is now, now that her adult front teeth are coming in, and her frontal lobes are developing. You might want to encourage her to bring the subject up with your parents, whilst you are there to back her up if your parents make trouble or act juvenile.

You might want to mention that food choices now can affect how you are when you are 40. Find some relatives who got heart disease at 40 and wonder whether they overdid cheeseburgers at 8.

Mention that our food cravings are not the only thing that informs us about what our bodies need, and that scientific knowledge of nutrition can be just as informative. Then come up with actual printouts of scientific knowledge. Stuff from the American Heart Association about how excess animal fat causes heart disease. You may not want to make any effort to get her to go veg, but rather just get her to replace some of the cheeseburgers with something better. Nuts, seeds, edamame, tofu, falafal, hummus, pea soup, lentil soup, lentil burgers.

To dramatize that our cravings are insufficient to inform us about what we need, you can point to the fact that it is scientificly proven that we need vitamins and minerals -- the micronutrients one may find in a vitamin tablet. Then have her taste an unflavored vitamin tablet.

Or have her taste an unflavored ferrous gluconate tablet (if it has a sugar coating scrape it off or rub off with a damp cloth) -- iron in a form similar to that found in food -- but in such a small amount that the other things in food overpower the atrocious taste. We can't live without such sources of iron. But there is nothing in our sense of taste or smell that informs us about his, the way we are informed about the need for water, or food in general. If we depended on cravings for ferrous compound, in order to get enough of them -- we would not get enough ferrous compounds in our diet. Ferrous gluconate tastes repulsive. No-one craves it. But our bodies must have ferrous gluconate or similar awful tasting ferrous compounds.

Adolescent girls need even more than adolescent boys -- yet they both wouldn't know to eat even if they had a severe shortage, based on their cravings. It is only because of scientific knowledge that we know to eat it. In the past, before we knew we needed it, we only got it because of sheer dumb luck -- it was, luckily, and luckily only, present in foods that we did have cravings for. You might mention that you think it is wiser and more sophisticated to depend on knowledge rather than luck.
 
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