My 12-year-old daughter is studying health in school. The focus is on getting enough activity and eating a balanced diet. While the curriculum has some positive points, I also see how outdated some of the information is.
The information for the current assignment was from a government website about being healthy. My daughter had to put in her height and age and sex, and it suggested how many calories she should eat (1600) and how many servings of fruits, vegetable, protein and grains.
I disagree with the information. Counting calories goes against everything I believe. Also, eating a diet heavy on grains is a terrible idea. The whole thing made me upset.
I firmly believe that we should listen to our own bodies and eat when hungry and don’t eat when we are not. Counting calories at 12 years old is setting her up for a lifetime of ‘diet’ mentality.
I had a conversation with her about this and I think she understands my point of view. In the end I realize I can lead by example. I can provide what I believe are healthy meals. I can show her what being active looks like. I can use this opportunity to stress that she needs to eat more vegetables.
In the end, there are many opinions out there about what a healthy lifestyle looks like. She will have to test the waters for herself and decide what feels healthy for her. I have to trust that she is an intelligent person and will make the right decisions for herself.