a) Talk to your children about nutrition and WHY they don’t consume that food on a regular basis or as often as playmate does. Make it personal, truthful and neutral: “We don’t eat candy very often because it’s not the best choice for your body to grow big and strong. You tend not to feel well, feel tired, or play well with others when you have it more often.” On the converse, remind them when they make a healthy choice as to why it’s a good choice. “I’m so proud of you for choosing to have a little bit of salmon with us for dinner. You always feel well when you eat those foods and they are good for your heart and brain to grow big and strong!” Positive reinforcement and a little explanation go a long way.
b) Don’t celebrate or reward with food directly. When allowing your children to have the restricted food try not to do so for a special occasion, during an illness, or in reward for another good behavior - These actions say “food is love and has a relationship to your feelings or accomplishments” That type of modeling directly leads to obesity, eating disorders, and the chronic diseases that follow. Sometimes this is especially challenging as in the case of a birthday party or a holiday like Halloween. In those cases try to neutralize the experience around the food and emphasize the activity of dressing up, spending family or friend time, and receiving fun gifts instead of eating sweets.
c) Assure them that they will have the food again. Don’t specify a day or time, but give reassurance that they will have the cookie sometime in the next week, or, that while they can’t have more now it will be available at the next birthday party. These strategies have shown to suppress the get-it-while-you-can phenomenon than tends to push us to eat past the point of a proper portion. Your child will not feel the need to over consume if they know there will be more in the future. Follow through with these promises to establish a healthy relationship proven to lead to self-regulation in adolescents and adults.
Thank you to Kylie Reiffert for sharing this advice with our families!
Kylie Reiffert is a nutritionist and holistic health expert with an educational background in both biochemistry and nutrition. She works with individuals and families constructing individualized nutrition plans to help you and your family reach optimum health, “Because YOU’RE Not Everyone and Everyone is Not YOU!” For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org