One of the most important roles of parenting is feeding your child and setting them up with healthy eating habits. You are your child’s first and most important role model, especially when it comes to eating. They are relying on you to teach them about the food they eat.
Humans aren’t the only parents with this important task! Animals also teach their young about food…they must show them the right foods to eat and which poisonous foods to avoid. They do this by role modeling to their young what foods are safe to eat and where to find them. In the wild it’s crucial young animals learn the difference; it’s a matter of life or death. The young watch their parents over and over again and eventually learn how to find the right foods to eat for themselves. Ultimately this is what we would all like for our children — to learn what foods are right for their bodies in order to be healthy and which foods to avoid.
However unlike animals we human parents tend to also pass down our not so healthy eating habits as well. I find it interesting how we sometimes teach our children to eat foods our bodies don’t consider safe to eat. Our bodies don’t know what to do with these highly processed “foods” and our children end up facing many health issues such as obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure.
I’m not suggesting we strive for perfection when it comes to healthy eating! I think we need to focus on setting the habit of eating whole foods on a daily basis so our children (like the animal young) see us eating the right foods day after day.
Your children are watching you…it really doesn’t work to follow the do as I say and not as I do rule! They will do as you do – if you eat junk food they probably will too! On the flip side if they see you enjoying healthy food every day – they probably will too! This means sometimes we parents have to put on a brave face and eat things we might normally not enjoy…in my case (a recovering picky eater) it is not always easy to do! I’ve forcefully smiled my way through many a mouthful when eating with my daughter. She has no idea how much I dislike asparagus!
Do you have any stories of overcoming your own food dislikes in order to set a good example for your children?