Children’s BMI and Braised Chicken Legs

I’m no stranger to weight problems. In fact, I have struggled with my body image since puberty, when my body max index went from normal to overweight. So as a mother, I guess I have been slightly fixated on feeding my kids healthy foods and limiting candy and sugary snacks. I especially worry about my daughter, because I remember how mean girls can be in school and how much peer criticism can affect your self-esteem. In American culture, even now that we are living in the post-feminist age, women are judged by their beauty or lack thereof. And women’s bodies seem to be the most significant factor when judging feminine beauty.

So imagine my chagrin when my daughter’s pediatrician sat down with me at her annual exam and told me that she was concerned with Caylie’s weight. Apparently, her BMI categorizes her as obese. Seriously? I was given a food servings chart and was asked a lot of questions about what kinds of foods I feed my kids. Because there’s nothing better than making a mother feel like she has totally failed and can’t do her basic job of feeding her children appropriate foods.

I was upset when I got home. When my husband came home, the first thing I did was stick that food servings chart under his nose and tell him we needed to talk in private. Caylie would make a great spy and is an avid eavesdropper, so we barricaded ourselves in our room and whispered urgently to each other about healthy weight, BMIs and our children. Mike told me that the pediatrician was nuts to think that Caylie was obese and that I was overreacting. (As if he doesn’t know after almost 8 years of marriage that I am always overreacting to everything!) Here’s a picture I took the day of her annual exam. Does this 5 year-old look obese to you?


We went about our day and I was secretly counting the calories of the food I give the kids and noting how many times per day my daughter told me, “I’m staaaaaaarving!” It just sickens me to think that at the tender age of 5, my daughter is being categorized based solely on numbers and a flawed measurement system. And not only is she being categorized, she is being categorized in the worst possible way a girl can be. Heaven help the person that makes my 5 year-old aware of her body as a thing worthy of her disgust and abuse! Let’s hope I can shield her just enough that she can go through pre-pubescent childhood without looking in a mirror and being unsatisfied.

On another note, I made the most awesome, and relatively healthy, dinner the other night that I just had to share. Caylie and Mike, the type O hunters that they are, love to eat meat on the bone. So I found a recipe (you can guess where!) and made these amazing braised chicken legs. Here’s the original recipe:

I made some small modifications; mostly because I didn’t realize just how many carrots I would have to juice to get 1-1/4 cups of carrot juice! So I used half that amount and substituted more chicken broth to make up the difference.


Braised Chicken Legs with Carrot Juice, Dates and Spices

Just a warning for those of you who like quick dinners: This will take some time. Especially of you are juicing your own carrots and dicing up your own dates. If you want it to go quicker, spend the extra money on carrot juice, diced dates and pre-chopped red onion. Enjoy, because these suckers are delicious with a capital D!