(This is the short but sweet last piece of our 5-part interview series with Dr. Katja Rowell whose consulting service, The Feeding Doctor, focuses on helping families learn about healthy, happy eating. Be sure to become a The Feeding Doctor fan on facebook and check out her new book, Love Me, Feed Me! now available at Amazon. I want to thank Katja for sharing so much valuable information with me and my readers and hope that you got as much out of this series as I did! If you did, please let Katja know in the comments below — she is collecting testimonials and would love to have yours!!!)
How can we talk about “junk” food without demonizing it? How do we teach kids moderation?
Honor variety. Don’t use words that imply judgment like “junk” or “bad” or even “red light foods.” I might say, “We can’t have ice-cream tonight because we ate it yesterday. We are so lucky we get to eat so many different foods. Tonight we’re having fruit salad, or apple sauce, pudding…” whatever it might be. Talk about how you feel after certain foods. My daughter does “treat snacks” now and again and if she chooses to only eat candy she gets hungry sooner. I can point out (but not blame) “you know, if I only eat candy I run out of energy fast too. Maybe we’ll move dinner up a little tonight.” You could talk to an older child about picking foods for snacks from the various food groups. As much as you can, bring it back to how they feel. If a kid eats “too much” they might complain of a stomachache. It’s a learning opportunity. You can give a cuddle and say, “I’m sorry your tummy hurts. Mine hurts too when it gets too full.”
So what’s the top three things parents can do to help their kids with healthy eating?
Enjoy your food, honor variety and eat family meals.