When I designed the principles of my nutrition method, I did so with my daughters in mind. I want my daughters to view their bodies, food, and health in the same way as I do.
That is why I focus on six simple rules, a more mindful approach. It lets us be human first, and parents second. Reframing the focus from judgement to truth all while strengthening, nurturing, and challenging balance.
One Stanford study compared ninth grade dieting girls to non-dieting ninth grade girls. The dieters gained more.
Did you know that 25% of American cats and dogs are overweight, and the expectation in 20 years is that 90% of all Americans will be overweight as well.
Doctors and many other health professionals try to "fix" the symptom of weight gain instead of resolving the underlying issue. The issue, the root cause is the culture, the language, and the fears around food, health, diet and weight.
Sadly, we all have limited points of view. We just do. It's okay, and actually when we accept it then we can actually start changing. We can't know everything, and let's not try to- how about that? Let's get curious without judgement. Let's apologize to ourselves, our friends, our family and let's experiment.
Do you label your foods as healthy, unhealthy, good or bad? Do you say I should, I shouldn't? Do you think or say I am being "bad"? It's okay if you do, but it's not okay if you continue. Knowledge is power, and now you know. Food is food is food is food. It's just food. When I am talking to a client I tell them to refer to food as a "banana". If someone hands you a banana, what do you do? You stop and "think why, am I hungry, do I need this, can I save this?" When we think of ice cream, pasta, yogurt as a banana, we stop labeling food. Rule #2 of my six simple rules says eat what you love, and make sure the food loves you back. What stops people from following this rule is the cultural rules they have already placed on themselves, it's a limitation. More likely than not you were going to eat the "bad" "unhealthy" food, so just eat it. Start with half when you are hungry and wait fifteen minutes (rule #1) to see if you need more. And then wait, and wait and wait to see if you have an inflammatory reaction to that food. It can take 4 hours up to 3 days before you will know. And if you don't- is the food really "bad or unhealthy" to your body. No!
Let's say your child comes home and says mom I am really stressed, do you say ,"oh, when I am stressed I eat and it makes me feel better. " No, you probably say let's take a deep breath and try to calm down so we can figure out a plan. Let's make sure we are modeling for our kids the proper way to handle emotions.
If we are habitual emotional eaters, our children will learn to cope with tough emotions in the same way. And positive food experiences early on in life help your children develop healthy eating habits later in life. As a food prepper and role model, you play an influential role in shaping your child's eating habits. Your influence over the foods purchased and how the meals take place and what types of foods your children eat. Even the language you use around food matters.
If we constantly call ourselves fat and count calories, our daughters will learn to be critical of their own bodies, even if we tell them every day that they are perfect. We need fat, we need calories- these are both really great energies that we cannot live without.
Consider how you want your child to eat and love their body. Once you have the answers to these questions, make it a habit to live by them every day.
o Start by creating a positive eating environment with regular meal and a snack times every day which creates a very healthy routine. If our children snack right before meals or fill up on beverages, they might not be hungry when they sit down to eat, which may influence the foods they select to during mealtime. I recommend offering a meal or snack roughly every few hours during the day. If your child is hungry before your scheduled meal or snack, offer nutritious foods like cut up veggies or fruit or just say, "wait, I know you are hungry and you will eat soon." It's like having to pee, it gets uncomfortable - we have all experienced the full bladder, and we have all survived. And literally moved on- like so fast. It's okay to be hungry- it's temporary and food is coming.
o Eat together as a family because children who eat meals with their family tend to eat healthier foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. They are also more likely to maintain a healthy body weight. The importance of family meals goes beyond nutrition.
o Try to avoid pressuring your children to eat certain foods, if you continue insisting that your children eat those certain foods it may actually cause them to eat less. Let your children decide how much to eat at meals and snacks based on how hungry they feel. Let them get involved in the kitchen, let them help plan the meals. And definately have lots of options at the meal so they don't feel bad that they don't like meatballs.
o Avoid using food as a reward or punishment because it may lead to unhealthy eating habits. Offer a variety of nutritious foods at snack and meal times and let them serve themselves without any pressure. Be careful not to label foods as “good” or “bad” or “healthy” and “unhealthy.”
o Have nutritious foods available in your fridge or pantry. Cut them up and offer them whenever you are offering other food.
o Being a positive role model can influence children’s eating habits when it comes to food.
As a parent or caregiver, you have an important role in shaping your children’s eating habits. By creating a positive eating environment and being a good role model, you can help your children develop healthy eating habits that can make a lasting impact on their health. Have fun, get curious, try new things so they do.
If you have questions or are interested in a plan on how to introduce new ones, let me know in the comments by replying.
P.S. Let's play a game-drop a 🍓 in the comments on any of my social media posts for a special gift.