6 Tips to Feeding Kids Wisely
When raising kids, it’s important to consider the psychology of eating and how what they learn now will affect them for life. It is not just about ‘making a decision,’ but about understanding what goes into their relationship with food.
Here are a few points to consider:
Good food is nutritious food
Frame your use of words by moving away from saying something is good just because it tastes good. Start using the word in relation to the nutritional value of the food and the food will also look better to your kids! This often means WE as parents need to shift our thinking and be more conscientious of the words we use when talking about food.
There is no such thing as “bad food”
Kids are inherently curious creatures. If you label food as “bad” you set your kids up for greater desire for it. Not only will the taboo lead to wanting it because they cannot have it, but it will begin to have an irresistible charge through the misleading message the body gets. Discussing nutrition components and reasons why some food is more healthy than other food, even if it doesn’t taste as “good”, is a great way to address food you may otherwise refer to as bad. Invite your kids to read labels with you and learn to identify nutritious food.
Being “Full” does not mean being stuffed
Target your language to create the sense that being full is the point when you and your children are satisfied. It is pretty easy to stuff ourselves and FEEL full because of the discomfort, but it is an invaluable skill to develop the ability to know when you are satisfied and end your eating at that point. In generations past, kids were forced to eat every scrap off their plates. This led to future generations who binge eat or eat to point of disgust. Instead, give your children very small portions, and invite them for seconds if they are genuinely still hungry. Encourage them to at least try new foods they may feel are out of their comfort zones, but think twice before forcing children to eat food they genuinely don’t like simply because it is on their plate.
Is your food calorie worthy?
Developing a strong value for eating worthy calories can go a long way. It lets you look at food and make a choice independent of your emotional drive or unseen compulsion. The language creates a positive way to frame the food you eat.
Hunger is NOT an emergency
Children and adults can feel like they will die if they do not get something to eat. In our country, however, food is just around the corner in our homes, supermarkets and quickly prepared restaurants. Prepare snacks for trips into town. Fruit and vegetables make a great on-the-go snack, along with cheese sticks, and a water bottle.
Include your kids when cooking
Nothing tastes as good as food you prepared – and that especially goes for children. Include kids in meal planning and preparation. Discuss nutrients and what a well balanced meal should look like. Allow those sponges of brains to absorb all this when they’re young, and you will set them up for a healthy, food-positive future.
In Good Health,