The Drevitches, Week 8: The Kids Resist; We Prepare to Revel Responsibly

Filed under: Healthy Families Challenge

Drevitches kids

Natalie and Benjamin know that having the Macy's parade begin on our block is a major perk of Thanksgiving in the city. We just hope we don't all balloon up during the holiday season. Credit: Gary Drevitch

The kids aren't completely on board with the healthier menu. At least not yet.

Our nutritionist, Marissa Lippert of Nourish, just made a return visit to our apartment to check on our progress and get us ready to battle the temptations of the holiday season. It felt a little bit like getting a performance review at work. Happily, I've been sticking to her program well enough -- snacking healthier, reducing portions, lowering the carb count, covering more of my dinner plate with vegetables and generally doing enough things right to be down 18 pounds since Labor Day. (Shopping for gifts for me this season? While I'd love an iPad, I think it's going to have to be new pants.)

As for the kids? Well, their latest interviews with Marissa had some highlights -- and some lowlights.

Natalie, 7, started by putting her best spin on her performance, rattling off all the vegetables and new dishes she'd tried, even those that only spent a few seconds in her mouth. She also said she liked the Kashi TLC granola bars Marissa had recommended on her first visit. But then she tried to get me busted by testifying that I was putting Oreos, candy and other snacks in her lunchbox, a slight exaggeration -- the "Oreos" were Trader Joe's somewhat healthier all-natural Joe Joe's cookies, and they were making a rare appearance. And the candy was in her lunchbox because it was still soon after Halloween. But her point was made -- things hadn't improved so much since the Healthy Families Challenge began.

Mercifully changing the topic, Marissa asked Natalie what she had for snacks before and after her gymnastics class. Natalie said she had none, because "I do handstands and cartwheels and if I have snacks before, I predict I will throw up." (My trainer and Marissa, by the way, both recommend that I have something to eat 45 minutes before I work out, and something with protein 45 minutes after to refuel.)

We would have loved to have shown Marissa that we were sitting down to a home-cooked meal, but sadly, on this Friday night, we weren't -- we had ordered Thai food. Fortunately, the nutritionist said Thai is generally a healthier option for takeout in the city than, say, Chinese or (our real favorite) Indian -- less fat, less deep-frying.

Pressing the kids to get back on the subject of new, healthy foods they'd tried, they told her they'd had yucca fries (a favorite of mine) at a Cuban restaurant we'd just visited. Natalie said it was her favorite new food, but Benjamin, 9, immediately spoke up to clear the air -- "French fries are still better!"

He said he'd tried some dried apricots recently and found them tolerable, and we reminded him that he'd also had some dishes made with spinach. Marissa asked Adam, 4, if he knew why spinach was good for him. "No, I don't!" he told her, so she asked if he knew what spinach did for Popeye, and he yelled, "I don't know who that is!" (In fact, none of the kids did. Popeye is apparently off TV these days, banished to some limbo with Top Cat, the Herculoids and other favorites of my childhood.)

After attempting to wrangle Adam into a discussion of his favorite fruits and vegetables -- "I liked blueberries when I was a BABY!" was about the most direct answer we got -- we dismissed the kids to have a serious, grown-up talk about the upcoming holiday season, with its wall-to-wall family feasts and treat-laden party tables. Her tips:
  • Manage portions. Don't overflow the plate and don't rush for seconds. Try a little of everything so you don't feel you're missing out, then move on.
  • Plan ahead. If there's a big dinner or office party coming up, be conscious of having a smaller breakfast and/or lunch.
  • Stick to the routine as much as possible. If you're watching carbs or trying to eat more veggies, look for options at the festive table that will meet those goals.
Armed with those tips, Lynn and I will try to have a holiday season that won't give us a reason to write any future posts about setbacks. Stay tuned.

Who's the rest of the competition? Check out all the challengers' latest updates here.



How is the Drevitch family doing? Check in on their progress!


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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.