Teach your kids about nourishment
Q: I want to make sure my kids are raised to have a healthy relationship with food. Do you have any tips or advice please? – Kimberley
A: I want to preface this by saying the last thing I ever want to do is create a situation where anyone experiences more guilt – goodness knows mothers experience enough! So please take the following information in the way that it is intended: I simply want to help you bring more awareness to how you communicate about food, nutrition and your body weight, particularly around children.
If we want our children – especially daughters, as the pressure to be ‘‘slim’’ and ‘‘pretty’’ is far greater on girls and women – to have a positive relationship with food and their bodies, then becoming aware of our own relationship with food, nutrition and weight is a critical part of this. Sadly, we are kidding ourselves if we don’t think children, particularly girls, are absorbing what they see us do and as a reward or offering it as comfort sets up a false notion that it can soothe strong emotions, so please do your absolute best to avoid this.
Helping your children to understand that it’s what we do every day that impacts our health not what we do sometimes, can also help to prevent a dieting mentality, rigidity in food choices or an ‘‘all or nothing’’ attitude when it comes to food. Remind them that food is nutritious (or not) and people are healthy (or not). And the more nutritious food they choose, the healthier they will usually be. ❚ Dr Libby is a nutritional biochemist, best-selling author and speaker. The advice contained in this column is not intended to be a substitute for direct, personalised advice from a health professional. Dr Libby is touring 17 towns and cities with her Food Frustrations event, talking about the confusion around food and what you’re supposed to eat. See drlibby.com/events for full details.