Your Relationship With Food Affects Your Child's Relationship With Food
Health wellness

Your Relationship With Food Affects Your Child's Relationship With Food


Childhood Obesity Month was September, but how can you put a time stamp on awareness? Unfortunately, 14.4 million children aged 2-19 are considered obese in America. As parents, you may find this concerning. Of course, you don’t want to make your child feel like they’re on a diet, but you also don’t want to set them up for a lifetime of coping with an unhealthy relationship to food. 

Let’s start with this: your child’s relationship with food begins with your relationship to food. That may sound daunting, but what aspect of parenthood isn’t? So if you want your child to grow up unconcerned about overeating and weight, you should head over to your fridge, cabinets, and pantry and clear them out of anything that sets YOU up for failure first. 


How to Have a Healthier Relationship with Food

There are several approaches to healthy eating you can take; here are some of our favorites:
  1. Mindful eating. Read: Shredding Pounds with Reason Based Dieting
  2. Intermittent Fasting. Read: Intermittent Fasting Beneficial for Weight Loss & Glycemic Control
  3. Portion control.
  4. Intuitive eating.
  5. Plant-based diets. Read: Plant-Powered Protein Tackles Inflammation & Gets You Lean

The next thing you should do is show your child what a healthy relationship with food looks like. It’s perfectly fine if you’re still working on defining what that means to you. Parents don’t need to be perfect; they just need to try. Give one of the above suggestions a couple of weeks and see if any of them work for you; one might just stick. 


Show Your Child What Healthful Eating Should Look Like

There are a couple of tricks you can try to influence your child’s relationship with food for the better. The first thing you can do is eat together. Then, you play a substantial role in helping shape your child’s ideas of food and nutrition. 


Eat Vegetables WITH Your Child

If you eat vegetables often in front of your child from a young age, they’ll notice that they may even be more inclined to try them -- or rather mimic you. But, if we follow the idea that children copy what they see, then there are several practices you can get in the habit of doing that will set your little one up for success!


Avoid Eating Late at Night

Eating late at night teaches your child to eat late at night. Your body is more likely to store calories at nighttime and not use them for energy. Late-night snacking also spikes morning blood sugar levels, causing grogginess, numbness, extreme thirst, and migraines upon waking up. Of course, if you skipped dinner and you’re faint from hunger, you should eat, but that brings us to the next bit of advice--


Follow Meal Times

When you eat, keeping that same time from day to day will affect your circadian system. Irregular eating habits for school-aged children will throw off their circadian rhythm and, in turn, affects their ability to learn and memorize new information. Mealtimes also help put food into a healthy perspective, they won’t feel anxious about when they’ll eat next, and they can look forward to meals and shared family time. 

Our pro-tip is to make eating and mealtimes more than just food, but about conversation, family, and mindfulness. 
Finally, we have one last thing to say, teaching your child about healthy relationships with food expands past food, shows your child how to cope with difficult emotions by learning how to do so yourself... without using food for comfort.