Recently, as my 15 year-old daughter walked out the door for school, she turned to me and said,
“Mom, starting next week can you just put another piece of fruit or some nuts or something healthier in my lunch instead of chips?”
As a parent, I’ve been careful not to label foods ‘good’ or ‘bad’ with my daughter. She gets to decide what goes into her school lunches and we often discuss various foods and their nutritional value, so if my kid wants an ice cream cone – she can have a damn ice cream cone. There is absolutely no reason to deprive her of these simple little pleasures in life.
The problem isn’t that any particular food is abusive, it’s that we’re abusive with food.
Humans come out of the womb instinctually knowing how to eat.
I have over twenty nieces and nephews and I often catch myself observing their eating behaviors and ya know what? It is totally sane. They only pick foods they enjoy. They eat as much as they want (rarely til full) and then toss the rest.
There’s a lot to learn there.
In most instances, it’s not until we become more aware of societal pressures that we begin to adopt an unhealthy mindset with food. And the numerous reasons for that could be a post of its own accord, but for the sake of brevity, the takeaway message is this:
Set a good example for your kids in all that you do. Stay away from strict guidelines or moral judgment surrounding food choices.
Body image is not something any 8 year-old should be aware of much less concerned with.
Our kids are watching, taking notes, and forming their own opinions. And they will eventually follow in the footsteps of those who lead them – for better or worse.
Give them the tools to be successful by creating a healthy environment and then take the time to educate them on the benefits of their choices.
It will only be a matter of time before they begin to adopt these lifestyle habits as their own – putting them far ahead of the game.