Ways you can help yourself and child build a healthy relationship with food
Our childhood experiences of food and eating will impact the way we think and feel about food as an adult, so healthy associations and connections around food from an early age are important.
By Bio Island Nutrition Team
We all need food from a physiological standpoint. Food provides us with our daily energy and nutrient requirements to keep us alive and our body growing and functioning. With food being such a focal point of our lives, it is easy for us to develop unhealthy relationships with food, for example restricting food to lose or maintain a certain weight or binging on large amounts of foods to provide emotional comfort.
Everyone’s relationship with food will be different but ideally, we all want to aim to be able to enjoy foods that make us feel physically and mentally well without the need for deprivation or feelings of guilt. This is not something that occurs overnight and is a process that will take time and continue to evolve throughout our lives. Our childhood experiences of food and eating will impact the way we think and feel about food as an adult which is why it is so important to start making healthy associations and connections around food from an early age.
Understanding what unhealthy food relationships, you have will help to ensure that you are building and restoring positive associations for you yourself and your children, this can include:
- Eating mindlessly
- Restricting food
- Lack of routine
- Finishing everything on the plate
- Emotional eating
- Labelling foods as good and bad food or healthy vs unhealthy
- Making food a reward
- Focus on weight and body dissatisfaction
Some good habits to create as a family around food include:
- Enjoy meals as a family. Whilst sitting down as a family to eat breakfast and lunch can be difficult during the week, try and at least have dinner together. Use this time to have conversations about your day and avoid any distractions such as phones and TV.
- Eat a wide variety of foods and avoid labelling foods as good or bad. Teach your children the importance of eating a rainbow-coloured diet and getting the nutrients their growing bodies need. Encourage open dialogue between yourself and your children to support and build healthy food relationships.
- Keep physically active and include plenty of movement into your day
The most important thing is to take small steps in building these positive associations and not put too much pressure of yourself and your children. Making small changes in the right direction will go a long way.
This information does not take into account your personal situation and is general in nature. You should consider whether the information is appropriate for your needs and seek professional medical advice.
Always consult your healthcare professional before taking any supplements or if any concerns arise.