I used to blog regularly about kids and food, but, now, hardly at all and that’s a good thing. Knock on wood, but food is pretty much a conflict free issue at my house.
My kids got that candy for Christmas. Before you call CPS on me, I want you to know that when my older daughter saw me standing in the doorway, she asked for chicken soup. My three year old shouted, “Me too!” That bowl of candy doesn’t have a dent in it.
(Lucy is watching “Ratatouille” and hopefully smirking about the lack of female chefs. Rose is watching “My Little Pony” which commenters keep telling me I should watch but I can’t bring myself to do it.)
All of my blogs on Reel Girl about kids and food basically centered on this: I let my kids eat whatever they want, whenever they want. I have raised them based on the principles from the excellent book Preventing Childhood Eating Problems. I read this book because the same authors wrote a book that helped me to get over a tenacious eating disorder. I hope to train my kids (as I eventually trained myself) to listen to and trust their own bodies instead of any authority figure, “expert,” or fad about what to eat.
Every Christmas, Santa leaves a candy trail for the kids their bedroom to their presents, and they all say finding the candy is their favorite part of Christmas. Note that it’s not eating the candy that they love, but opening the door, seeing the sparkly silver kisses, and following them to their presents.
As I keep writing in these blogs about kids and food, I have no idea what will happen when my kids grow into teenagers, but I am hopeful. Right now, my kids are not only adventurous eaters who try new foods all the time, but also, they are what any parent would call “healthy” eaters.
Once they were old enough to feed themselves, we have regular meal times and I make healthy food always available but hardly ever controlled their eating as far telling them what, when or how much to eat. I write “hardly ever” because my middle daughter is allergic to eggs. I was terrified of the allergy when she was a baby, after she had a skin rash when she ate a hard boiled egg. For probably a year after that, I made a big deal about telling everyone she was allergic to eggs and making sure she never had anything with eggs in it. Then I saw her getting tentative about trying food, always looking up at me nervously before taking a bite of something. Clearly, she was picking up on my anxiety.
So I shifted tactics. I subtly told adults she was allergic when it was necessary to tell them. I didn’t make her allergy a conversation topic that she could overhear. I rarely had eggs in my house, again without making a big deal about it. She calmed down and also, luckily, her allergy lessened as she grew older. Now if she eats something with egg, sometimes her tongue will itch. But that she is still the pickiest eater of the three, though none are picky, further indicates to me that the more relaxed parents are about food, the more relaxed their children will be.
Now here’s the problem: How many women do you know who are relaxed about their food intake?
Before you ask, so far, no cavities.
Here are some (not all) links to previous blogs on Reel Girl about kids and food that go into more detail about books, practices, experience, philosophies, etc.