Back-to-school eating and exercise excitement

Cassie, Ben, Rowan and Colleen on the first day of school.

Colleen just can’t seem to get it through her head that I don’t care if she has fruit snacks right after breakfast.

I do care, of course. Usually I’d veto such a request. But she’s responsible for all her dietary decisions — so long as she records her choices in a food log that‘s part of a home-school health project.

This year we’re making the most of the fresh start that comes with the first week of school:

  • Ben, who gutted out a 5K less than a month ago, has joined the middle school cross country team.
  • After a summer of eating on the run, we’re planning snacks and meals in advance.
  • And Colleen, who resisted keeping a food journal last spring, is embracing the project this time around.

As the only kid who’s still 100 percent home schooled, part of her zeal might be simply that she’s getting more undivided attention. (“Oooohh!” she said yesterday, sounding like Homer Simpson spotting donuts, “division cards!”)

Or maybe she’s simply getting more comfortable with writing. Whatever the reason,  she’s now a tracking dynamo. Despite the fact that I’ve been stressing simplicity, encouraging her to monitor just three days a week, without logging measurements or numerical values at this point, by Day Two she was recording calories, calculating totals and making adjustments as necessary.

This won’t last. The shiny new school year won‘t feel so exciting by even next week.

But already she’s had a chance to see how food tracking can be just as liberating as it is limiting — such as deciding when it’s time for fruit snacks.

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