By: Dr. Lyndsay Elliott
How Teaching Your Children to Develop Healthy Eating Habits Starts with YOU.
We all want to be a pillar of health and wellness, setting the finest examples for our children when it comes to eating habits. Monkey see, monkey do, right? A busy schedule at work, a million errand to run, managing team schedules, carpool, daily routines and a myriad of other responsibilities make for high hurdles in the world of healthy eating. The commitment to three balanced meals and two snacks a day can easily turn into a quick stop for takeout, because it’s easy and FAST food.
Our children are watching, noticing and creating their relationship with food starting at a very early age. And, one of the biggest challenges of parenthood is feeding your child: figuring out if they are eating the right foods at the right times, for all of the right reason. It’s a daunting task from birth and gets more when picky eating starts, or nutritional needs change with normal growth. Parents agonize about their child’s health, and for good reason. When kids refuse foods in revolt for anything suspicious put on their plate, well-intended parents grow concerned about how they are going to fit in all of the USDA’s daily recommendations.
The relationship with nutrition becomes more complicated when food is used as a reward for a job well done or as a way to soothe. It becomes a symbol of love, care and happiness. Feeding becomes more difficult when you notice that your child eats for “emotional” reasons. Feeling anxious, sad or angry, kids reach for food when they are feeling stressed or alone. Sometimes they may eat out of boredom, becoming a welcome companion when no one else is available. Eating can cover insecurities that are not verbalized, an instant fix for what feels unfixable. Soon, weight gain from the extra nutrition worsens when peers or family make comments about the changes in their body. Food further comforts, and the cycle continues.
We know that…
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