I may be a nutritionist, but I also live in the real world as a mom of two. Here are some of my family's eating habits:
At our house, if it's Friday...it's pizza night!
My kids love it, and I don't have to cook-what could be better? Ways we minimize the damage:
* ordering from a restaurant that makes their pizza with a not-so-greasy crust
* choosing a plain or veggie pie (we stay away from meat toppings)
* having a green salad and a fruit salad on the side. By loading up on produce at the same time, we end up eating less pizza than we otherwise would.
We love butter
Regardless of the heart-clogging side effects of butter, there are times when it's truly the best fat -- it just tastes better in many recipes than substitutes. But I use less than prescribed. For instance, when baking cookies, I blend half of the softened butter called for in the recipe with half fat-free cream cheese. When making fettuccine alfredo, I lightly brown a couple tablespoons of butter (this helps bring out the buttery flavor) rather than using the eight tablespoons called for. For brownies, I use half the butter and replace the rest with fat-free sour cream. No one ever notices!
My kids refuse whole-wheat bread
They insist on eating white bread, so I try to buy fiber-enriched white breads, such as IronKids and School Bus. They add two grams of fiber per slice. (Regular white bread has one gram per slice or none.)
We eat cookies or ice cream almost every day
If you ban them all, your kids will only want them more, and they'll overeat when they do finally get their hands on them. To keep fat and calories in check, I buy light but great-tasting ice cream (like Breyers Light vanilla or Starbucks Frappuccino bars), and healthier cookies like oatmeal rather than double chocolate chip. And we usually have only one serving of treats a day.
My kids dislike milk
Then again, so do I. But I've found other kid-friendly options, like calcium-fortified OJ and yogurt. We also often eat cheesy meals once a day (all made with low-fat cheese): omelets, grilled cheese, turkey-and-cheese sandwiches, tacos, or homemade mac and cheese.
Elaine Magee is the author of Fry Light, Fry Right.