How to help our children create a neutral relationship with food?

Uncategorized Jun 09, 2021

🌱 When raising intuitive little eaters, one of the crucial things is to teach our littles about food neutrality: That food can’t only be divided into healthy vs. unhealthy. It’s important, because

1) it’s not true
2) it’ll lay a foundation for food shame and guilt and thereby disordered eating

🌱 We want our kids to know that food has the same moral value, that no foods are good or bad, and that our bodies need different things at different times. Sometimes, our bodies need sugar, sometimes they need fast carbs, sometimes they need more filling foods, sometimes they need salt, etc.

🌱 It’s of course all about balance, and it’s about tuning into what our bodies need. But most of all: it’s about teaching our kids not to obsess about the nutritional value of food. That doesn’t mean that we should disregard nutrition. On the contrary: we need to trust our body to choose what it needs.

🌱 It’s easier said than done. Mainly because our society will tell us that food is a science that we need help figuring out (calories, proteins, fibres, amino acids, etc.), but also because there’s a lot of food judgment around us constantly (“we need to eat healthier”, “I can’t eat too many carbs, then I’ll get fat”, “I need to exercise because I ate too much cake!”)

🌱So, what can we do to teach our kids food neutrality?

🥕 Change our own mind-set about food and perceive of food as more than just nutrition (food is also fun, joy, connection, a time to socialize)
🥕 Quit the labels – no food is “good”, “bad”, “unhealthy”, “healthy”, etc.
🥕 Instead, be curious about foods and how they taste, keep it simple and neutral: how is the texture, how it looks different raw vs. cooked, where it grew, how we can cook it in a ton of different ways, etc.
🥕 Avoid rigid food rules like “We never eat chips, because they’re full of fat and salt”
🥕 Instead: Set up a mealtime structure (breakfast, lunch, dinner + a few snack times)
🥕 Signal flexibility: You want juice? We can put that on the grocery list.

🌱 Remember: Food is food, it’s not good or bad.


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