Q&A: eating healthier while keep your child's weight up

Vickie writes:

"This is something I've been thinking about for a while but have delayed asking you about since it seems like a ridiculous question to me!  I should be able to figure it out myself but can't.

My husband and I are on the wrong side of 30, so we really should be watching what we eat.  He's had to monitor his cholesterol in the last year.  My cholesterol is on the normal side though my NP suggested going lower-fat to improve the numbers.

How do I cook so that my husband and I eat better but not jeopardize our son's appetite & growth?--He's always been low on the charts for weight; currently he's about 23 lbs and is 33.5 in, in height.  I worry that he'll stop growing if I use fat substitutes and skim milk when called for in recipes.  I can't imagine making pancakes for him using butter after using spray when I cook for my husband and me! Plus he likes french toast, which my husband uses whole or 2% to cook, and of course that's also what he makes ours out of.

I've never really liked tracking calories or food anyway (which probably explains why, 17 mos post partum, I'm still 30 lbs overweight.  I just got my Ttapp videos this week and am excited to start, though I still can't follow the instructions very well).

We don't have generally good eating habits overall; we still like to snack (though I'm trying to give up chips, and my husband's snacking on nuts) and eat more than 3 meals.  We do tend to eat more fruits and veggies now that we have a kid because he likes and needs them.  We walk a fair amount each week but otherwise are too cheap to engage in more organized health plans.

Thanks for your input!"

This is the kind of question that's perfect for Ask Moxie because the readers are going to have a million ideas for Vickie.

I think you should focus on cooking the way you want to for your health, and then add in higher-calorie "supplements" for your son. For instance, make the pancakes the way you're going to make them, but then add on butter or peanut butter (my brother's favorite) or full-fat yogurt as a topping for your son. And make sure you're giving your son enough fat in his snacks. Avocado pieces are so healthy for children, and he can also eat full-fat cheese, yogurt, and milk as part of his snacks, and nut butters if he's old enough and isn't allergic to them.

As long as he's getting plenty of supplementary fat and calories, it's going to be great for him to be eating meals that are mostly vegetables and other healthy foods. And think what wonderful habits you'll be creating in him by training him to reach for vegetables first.

I do want to caustion you and your husband not to get tunnel vision by focusing on the fat issue too exclusively. Carbs also play a big role in fat loss/gain. My bet is that you could clean up your diets a whole lot by cutting out things with high fructose corn syrup and/or artificial sweeteners (which mess with your seratonin receptors to make you feel hungrier) and snacks with empty calories, and making sure you eat 5 servings of vegetables a day minumum.

Everybody else, what do you have for Vickie and her family? Also, if any of you do T-Tapp, how long did it take you to feel like you could do the moves decently? (For me, I learned the 15-minute routine in a week or so, but it really took me a good 3 weeks to feel like I had any competence with the longer workout.)