How you talk about food, use food and eat around your children is important. Your example will frame your child’s understanding that loving food and respecting food means loving her and respecting her body. Children need to understand that food is not only a vital part of loving their bodies, but that they’re helping their bodies even more by making healthy food choices. Show your commitment to your children by staying true to your own body. Here are a few suggestions.
1. Eat healthy fats.
Avocados, nuts, seeds, full-fat dairy, healthy oils like avocado and coconut oils. Teach your children that fats are an essential nutrient and should be respected as such. Fat is actually a very important part of a healthy diet, so never tell your children that fat is bad. Instead, demonstrate to them that you eat a healthy amount of good fats
2. Eat breakfast.
You know it’s good for you. Chances are, you make sure your children don’t leave for school on an empty stomach. Set the same healthy practices for yourself and lead by example. Your children are more likely to continue to eat breakfast if they see you doing it.
3. Eat with your children at regular mealtimes.
Sit down with them and avoid eating on the go. Refrain from snacking on the food that you’re preparing for your children, as this will cause you not to want to eat a balanced meal of your own. Mindful eating will give your gut and brain time to communicate, and you won’t feel the urge to snack. Allow mealtimes to be a family time where everyone sits down together. Not only will you digest your food better, but you’ll instill that healthy principle in your children.
4. Enjoy your food.
Don’t eat things that you dislike but think that are good for you; pleasure is an important part of digestion. Find healthy, unprocessed foods that appeal to your taste buds. This is vital for the relationship with food that you’re demonstrating to your family. Food is joy; it should be cherished and delightful.
5. Avoid processed foods.
Instead, cook up something just as delicious and healthy. You’ll be able to share this nurturing meal with your family and know that you’re doing their bodies good, too. Invite your children to help you cook and encourage them to understand where their food comes from.
6. Avoid low-fat or artificially sweetened foods.
The pattern will emerge with your children. Instead, use full fat when fat is called for, especially with dairy products. You’ll ultimately eat less of it, as your body will recognize it as fat and will signal to your brain that you’re full. If you stock the fridge with low-fat products, it gives your children the message that fat is to be avoided.
7. Don’t diet!
Children who grow up around parents that are always talking about dieting tend to become dieters themselves.Rather than using the word ‘diet’, use words like healthy eating, and practice that!. We all know that fad diets do not work in the long run, change your perception and your behavior will follow.
8. Try not to refer to any foods as “bad.”
Labeling foods as bad can make them seem forbidden, which leads to curiosity and increases the allure when your children are in a rebellious phase. It also leads to feelings of guilt when these foods are eaten. It’s inevitable that your children will want to eat high-sugar foods at some point; these foods will bring their own physical and mental consequences as the sugar low hits, so don’t add guilt into the mix! If left to it, your children will work out for themselves that these foods leave them feeling low in the long run.
9. Never, ever, talk down about your body.
But especially never do it in front of your children. You have to lead by example. If you can’t demonstrate self-love and acceptance, your children won’t understand that value. Notice the way that you think and talk about your own body. If this is different than how you would talk to a friend, you need to work on being kinder to yourself.
By: Tabitha Farrar