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Do you think parents should teach their kids how to count calories?

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  • feisty_bucketfeisty_bucket Member Posts: 1,033 Member Member Posts: 1,033 Member
    Definitely. The more normalized CI/CO is, the less likely people are to be neurotic and have food issues by making simple math into an emotional issue.

    How is it reasonable to put food on a different, untouchable plane than say, a bank balance? Is it reasonable to just spend money recklessly while ignoring the cash in/cash out rates? No.

    edit: I would lead by example by in talking about what my TDEE is, how big a chunk of that some unit of food is, etc. Coaching for background awareness. Also, I don't trust "intuitive eating" as a lot of people are advocating, since the desire to eat is often a function of blood sugar crashing and boredom more than nutritional need.
    edited June 2017
  • enterdangerenterdanger Member Posts: 2,445 Member Member Posts: 2,445 Member
    NO. I want them to eat when hungry. I control the foods that are available since I grocery shop. That is enough.
  • PackerjohnPackerjohn Member Posts: 4,855 Member Member Posts: 4,855 Member
    I think nutrition classes should be a mandatory part of health education in middle and high schools. It could be tied in to math/science SOL's. Personally, I would have benefited greatly by receiving a non-judgmental, science based approach to ci/co.

    Great idea, except when the nutrition classes give bad info. I was raised in the "butter = bad, margarine = good, and fat makes you fat" era. We went over the food pyramid and all that stuff. A few decades on the recommendations have changed.
    xmichaelyx wrote: »
    No, but you should teach them to eat sensibly.

    Obese child = abusive parent.

    Disagree. I think many times obese child = parent that doesn't know much about nutrition. Not knowing and not caring are different things, at least to me.

    Maybe, but if the child had some other health threatening condition severe asthma, allergies, etc wouldn't most good parents learn as much about the issue as possible to take care of it? With the information available, not knowing and not taking steps to know is not caring IMO.
  • kshama2001kshama2001 Member Posts: 25,083 Member Member Posts: 25,083 Member
    I think nutrition classes should be a mandatory part of health education in middle and high schools. It could be tied in to math/science SOL's. Personally, I would have benefited greatly by receiving a non-judgmental, science based approach to ci/co.

    My OH's nephew's sophomore health class used MFP for a semester.

    Using WW in my 30s was eye opening for me and I wish I'd obtained this knowledge earlier.
  • 4legsRbetterthan24legsRbetterthan2 Member, MFP Moderator, Greeter Posts: 19,434 MFP Moderator Member, MFP Moderator, Greeter Posts: 19,434 MFP Moderator
    When I have children I'd like to teach them about food how my parents did for me. I was taught that it was important to have a balanced diet and eat appropriate portions but my parents never spoke to me about calories or macros or anything like that. I want my future children to be children and to not worry about things like that. I'll worry about it for them.

    at what point do you plan on letting them be adults, and will they be prepared at that point?

    I feel like you want me to say "NEVER!" I'll just lock them in the basement and never let them be free.

    I want you to say whatever you want
  • paperpuddingpaperpudding Member Posts: 7,093 Member Member Posts: 7,093 Member
    I did not teach my children about calories, far less about calorie counting.

    I encouraged and provided mostly nutritious foods and encouraged physical activity.

    My children are now all adults - I doubt any of them know how to count calories - but since they are all healthy weights I can't see that this matters at all.

  • ManBehindTheMaskManBehindTheMask Member Posts: 615 Member Member Posts: 615 Member
    When I have children I'd like to teach them about food how my parents did for me. I was taught that it was important to have a balanced diet and eat appropriate portions but my parents never spoke to me about calories or macros or anything like that. I want my future children to be children and to not worry about things like that. I'll worry about it for them.

    at what point do you plan on letting them be adults, and will they be prepared at that point?

    I feel like you want me to say "NEVER!" I'll just lock them in the basement and never let them be free.

    Then they won't need to even know what a calorie is, they will eat whatever you leave inside the basement door, and your knowledge of nutrition will be sufficient :)

    On a serious note, i think kids should first be introduced to a wide range of foods when very young, so they 'like' as much as possible. I don't think teaching them about CICO is important as a child. As they get older, teach them about the importance of a balanced diet and portion control, not about calories. We as parents, after all, are responsible for controlling the food they eat for the main part. I'd prefer my kids to enjoy the roast dinner I serve them, not stress over how many calories it contains

    Lest we forget that many people don't even think about CICO and aren't overweight, and many people understand CICO perfectly well but are obese.
  • Ben_there_done_thatBen_there_done_that Member Posts: 732 Member Member Posts: 732 Member
    I can't even get my kids to finish their meals. I think we're good on the calorie tracking.
  • ManBehindTheMaskManBehindTheMask Member Posts: 615 Member Member Posts: 615 Member
    When I have children I'd like to teach them about food how my parents did for me. I was taught that it was important to have a balanced diet and eat appropriate portions but my parents never spoke to me about calories or macros or anything like that. I want my future children to be children and to not worry about things like that. I'll worry about it for them.

    at what point do you plan on letting them be adults, and will they be prepared at that point?

    I think there is a little bit more to preparing kids for adulthood than teaching them how to count calories
  • 4legsRbetterthan24legsRbetterthan2 Member, MFP Moderator, Greeter Posts: 19,434 MFP Moderator Member, MFP Moderator, Greeter Posts: 19,434 MFP Moderator
    When I have children I'd like to teach them about food how my parents did for me. I was taught that it was important to have a balanced diet and eat appropriate portions but my parents never spoke to me about calories or macros or anything like that. I want my future children to be children and to not worry about things like that. I'll worry about it for them.

    at what point do you plan on letting them be adults, and will they be prepared at that point?

    I think there is a little bit more to preparing kids for adulthood than teaching them how to count calories

    I agree. My response was to this:

    " I want my future children to be children and to not worry about things like that. I'll worry about it for them."

    To me, that implies more than just counting calories, I was more curious when to let children start worrying about things? Or what is the definition of child vs adult that goes with this? I was just looking for more info, but oh well....
    edited June 2017
  • ManBehindTheMaskManBehindTheMask Member Posts: 615 Member Member Posts: 615 Member
    When I have children I'd like to teach them about food how my parents did for me. I was taught that it was important to have a balanced diet and eat appropriate portions but my parents never spoke to me about calories or macros or anything like that. I want my future children to be children and to not worry about things like that. I'll worry about it for them.

    at what point do you plan on letting them be adults, and will they be prepared at that point?

    I think there is a little bit more to preparing kids for adulthood than teaching them how to count calories

    I agree. My response was to this:

    " I want my future children to be children and to not worry about things like that. I'll worry about it for them."

    To me, that implies more than just counting calories, I was more curious when to let children start worrying about things? Or what is the definition of child vs adult that goes with this? I was just looking for more info, but oh well....

    I feel like if your initial response wasn't so abrupt, and asked these questions, you may have got an answer clarifying those points and not about locking a child in a basement :)

    I think, as you've said, there is a big variable in the question when determining the definition of child vs adult etc.

    It's all subjective after all and each person will raise their children in different ways.

    I won't teach mine about CICO, but I have no doubt they will learn about it, from seeing me plan my nutritional intake, meal prep etc
  • Ben_there_done_thatBen_there_done_that Member Posts: 732 Member Member Posts: 732 Member
    When I have children I'd like to teach them about food how my parents did for me. I was taught that it was important to have a balanced diet and eat appropriate portions but my parents never spoke to me about calories or macros or anything like that. I want my future children to be children and to not worry about things like that. I'll worry about it for them.

    at what point do you plan on letting them be adults, and will they be prepared at that point?

    I think there is a little bit more to preparing kids for adulthood than teaching them how to count calories

    I agree. My response was to this:

    " I want my future children to be children and to not worry about things like that. I'll worry about it for them."

    To me, that implies more than just counting calories, I was more curious when to let children start worrying about things? Or what is the definition of child vs adult that goes with this? I was just looking for more info, but oh well....

    Probably not the place for me to say this, but I think counting calories is pretty frivolous, especially with children. I'd rather they worry about school, their friends, and other childish things. If we're doing things right as parents, I think our kids will have developed healthy eating habits so they'll never have to worry about counting calories. And I definitely don't want my daughter to develop an eating disorder over it.
  • JeepHair77JeepHair77 Member Posts: 1,291 Member Member Posts: 1,291 Member
    I think it's a good idea for kids to have a general understanding - a calorie is a unit of energy, it's important to fuel your body's activity, and to fuel it with mostly the "right" things. I definitely like the idea of helping kids listen to their hunger/satisfied signs (and I HATE the idea that kids should be made to "clean their plates.")

    But counting calories, using a "budget", seems potentially problematic with children who are growing. The caloric needs of a growing kid aren't stable the way they are for an adult. I'm not scientific and I don't know how this works, exactly, but watching the way my kids go through "eating spurts" and "growth spurts" makes me think calorie-budgeting isn't appropriate for them. My 13-year-old probably eats 3000 calories a day for a short period of time, and then he grows a few inches practically overnight. That SEEMS to be the way his body signals are supposed to work. And he's never been even close to overweight, so I think it's best to go with the flow.
  • CSARdiverCSARdiver Member Posts: 6,256 Member Member Posts: 6,256 Member
    Using the financial analogy do you plan on teaching your children to not spend more than they make and run into debt? I'm failing to grasp the logic behind not teaching your children to eat more than they need.

    Anyone can take things to an extreme, but this is reliant on how the subject is taught as opposed to the subject matter itself.
  • 4legsRbetterthan24legsRbetterthan2 Member, MFP Moderator, Greeter Posts: 19,434 MFP Moderator Member, MFP Moderator, Greeter Posts: 19,434 MFP Moderator
    Probably not the place for me to say this, but I think counting calories is pretty frivolous, especially with children. I'd rather they worry about school, their friends, and other childish things. If we're doing things right as parents, I think our kids will have developed healthy eating habits so they'll never have to worry about counting calories. And I definitely don't want my daughter to develop an eating disorder over it.

    I think the frivolity varies from person to person, some people are really good intuitive eaters (is this a response to how they were raised or just nature, I don't know) and do fine without it, but the number of times you see someone here saying "I am eating healthy or clean and cant lose weight" indicates it can be necessary for some folks. I guess its up to the parent to know their kid and point them in a direction right for them. I definitely agree that I would not introduce any kid that seems like they have a tendency towards an eating disorder to it. I think my parents strove to teach us to eat healthy, and in general I do from a balanced intake side of things, but I was still obese my entire life and it wasn't until I found calorie counting that I have ever felt I had any control over the situation. To some it is actually empowering, not just a stress.

    ETA:
    Another thing to think about, calorie counting may seem like a burden for a teen (I am thinking more middle school/HS age, as at this point they are more and more in control of their intake). But, as someone who was an overweight kid, being overweight is also a burden to bear. It may not be the right answer for all, but I think if done right teaching about calorie counting could help point them in the right direction.
    edited June 2017
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