Can I give my children the same food as me even if I’m dieting?

Can I give my children the same food as me even if I’m dieting?

When assessing at the foods that you consume when you are trying to eat more healthily, what are they?

Vegetables? Fruit? Lean Meats? Grains?

These are all vital foods that are extremely important give to our children!

Usually looking around most peoples dinner tables there will be an array of different meals on offer. I know many  mothers/fathers that will cook different meals for their children to please their selective tastes. Unfortunately these other foods cooked tend to fall in the “extras” food group or have far less nutritional value than the parents meals.

For example; mums dinner: chicken and mixed vegetables.

Childs dinner; toasted cheese sandwich with white bread and chips.

This may be a slight exaggeration but you get my point.

Even if we are dieting or are following a healthy eating plan we can still give those foods to our children. The main difference is that they need more calories than some of us (especially if you are choosing to restrict your calories) because of their increased energy demands through exercise and development.

Population surveys indicate that many children do not meet these healthy eating recommendations. For example, children commonly eat too many ‘extra’ foods but not enough vegetables, fruit, breads and cereals (

This is probably not surprising for most parents as generally these are the foods that our children pine for.

There are a few good ways of ensuring our kids get enough food when they eat with us is by adding extra complex carbohydrates or foods that contain good fats (for example; avocado, salmon, nuts) to their meals.

You can give them snack options that contain extra “good” calories (higher calorie foods that also have a high nutritional value) on top of the meals they share with us.

One great way I get my son excited to eat the same foods as me is by involving him in the food preparation/selection process (as you can see in the below picture). Either in the kitchen or in the supermarket, when he is proud of his tasty creation it defiantly increases the chance he will eat it.

You can access a great variety of healthy snack and meal ideas for kids on line, I have listed some at the end of this article that I have found useful. Making the meals look more pleasing really helps the vegetable go down, because it’s great to have healthy intentions but they still need to eat it.

Looking at all the data and research published about this topic it is a great idea to give children the foods we eat even if we are dieting, with one exception. Never give children dietary supplements that are meant for adults. Meaning anything from multi vitamins to diet pills and shakes that are restricted to over 18 years of age. This can lead to some dramatic health problems in our kids. Some of the potential risks for children could include and are not limited to serious liver injury, stroke, kidney failure, or other serious conditions.

Even though we may not think that they couldn’t possibly do any harm in small amounts, we really don’t know because not enough research has been done on a lot of products.

When you digest the below information about our kids may be the question we should ask ourselves is “why we started offering these less nutritious options?” because they are having a huge effect on the health of Australians young adult and child population today.

So include your family in your healthy eating plan. Before you know it the whole clan will be feeling great.

Thank you for reading.

 My 4 year old son Jimmy at the market

My 4 year old son Jimmy at the market

Jimmy finally eating his vegetables with his family

Jimmy finally eating his vegetables with his family

Mrs Jessica Gray

Div1 RN (Specialising in Diet Related Disease and Nutrition)

MS Australia Ambassador

Australian Para Athlete


The 2007 Australian National Children’s Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey assessed the reported food and nutrient intake of children and young people and their physical activity levels, along with their weight, height and waist circumference.

The survey was based on a sample of 4,487 children and young people, aged between two and 16 years, who were randomly selected from across Australia.



Key findings



  • About one in four boys and girls (23%) were classified as overweight or obese.



  • Many of the children did not eat the recommended amounts of the five food groups (fruit; vegetables; dairy; meat and meat alternatives; and breads and cereals), set out in the Dietary Guidelines for Children and Adolescents in Australia.
  • Many children consumed an excessive amount of saturated fat, which is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
  • Many children consumed too much sugar.


The 20 Best Snacks for Kids

Posted on November 13, 2015, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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