Tuesday 28 September 2010

The Gallery: Food For Thought!

It is that time of the week again, the Gallery and this week Tara has given us the prompt Food.

Well those of you who know me know this is an awful prompt for me. I could use this gratuitously to show off images of amazing food and then I would start to drawl and remember how much I love food and head straight off to the cupboard. Considering I have been being good around food for the last few days this is not a good idea and I was not prepared to do this. I did consider not posting to the gallery this week but that would be a shame. The food or should I say my obsession, my addiction should not win, I should be able to be in control of my life and be able to do this.

So the pictures I have chosen to share with you are of my kids finishing off the cake we made for dh on his birthday about a month ago. It all looks innocent enough in the first pic....

and then little fingers can not resist any longer...

... and here they are, proud as punch! What a good job they did, with a little help from Mummy (and a nasty burn on Mummy's arm!)

Food holds an important place in our family and already my children have a good love of food and eat a wide variety of foods. These are both great things, what is not so good is that JJ already will tell you his favourite part of a day out was the food or that the highlight of a party was the food. This worries me a little, it could be early signs of the same problem I suffer with. but I can not get hung up on that as who knows what the future will bring.

All we can do as parents is to do our best to promote a healthy diet and a healthy body image. Have you ever thought about the fact that everything you do is watched and noted by your child? scary thought, isn't it? When you say you are on a diet they think that must be a good thing to do as Mummy does it and she is our idol! Or when you gorge on chocolate because you are feeling down, tired or stressed your child learns that is the way to deal with emotions. Do not show them, stifle them.

Have you ever read that verse by Dorothy Law Nolte 'Children Learn What They Live'? Here it is -

If children live with criticism, they learn to condemn.
If children live with hostility, they learn to fight.
If children live with fear, they learn to be apprehensive.
If children live with pity, they learn to feel sorry for themselves.
If children live with ridicule, they learn to feel shy.
If children live with jealousy, they learn to feel envy.
If children live with shame, they learn to feel guilty.
If children live with encouragement, they learn confidence.
If children live with tolerance, they learn patience.
If children live with praise, they learn appreciation.
If children live with acceptance, they learn to love.
If children live with approval, they learn to like themselves.
If children live with recognition, they learn it is good to have a goal.
If children live with sharing, they learn generosity.
If children live with honesty, they learn truthfulness.
If children live with fairness, they learn justice.
If children live with kindness and consideration, they learn respect.
If children live with security, they learn to have faith in themselves and in those about them.
If children live with friendliness, they learn the world is a nice place in which to live.

This is so true and yet again scares the life out of me. What a big role I have to play in my kids lives. But that is OK. I do not have to be worried or scared. As long as I do my very best that is all that is expected of me and it will be enough.

So here are a few of the strategies that are used at our house to try to ensure that the kids do not grow up with an eating disorder or body issues -
  1. I do not go on diets anymore anyway but if I did my kids would never know. Diets are banned, it is not a healthy thing to promote to a child. If I am eating healthy or abstaining from a certain food and my kids offer me chocolate for instance, I will just so no. If asked why I will just reply 'I do not fancy it right now'.
  2. Food is not given as treats. Food is just part of life and should not be a reward, that is when it becomes sought after or turned to for comfort.
  3. All foods are allowed, moderation is the key. Luxury foods are given at my discretion and not all the time. Children can never help themselves to any luxury foods (sweets, crisps, chocolate, cakes, biscuits, ice cream, desserts and anything like this).
  4. The kids do not have to finish everything on their plate to be allowed their pudding after but they do have to have tried everything and eaten an adequate portion.
  5. My children are always told they are beautiful, not just for the way they look though but for their character - such as being great fun, being kind, considerate etc. This way if they ever find themselves in a position in older life when they do not like the way they look they have something else to fall on to keep their self-esteem.
  6. We try to all eat together at the dining table at least once per day and we try to chat and have fun at the table. This is family time.
  7. We try to encourage the children to eat slowly and to savour each mouthful. We also always have water with our meals.
  8. We say grace before our meals to thank the Lord for the luxury of having a good meal every day and as a way remembering those who are not as fortunate.
So what are your thoughts? Have I given you some food for thought here? Any tips for me on how you promote healthy eating and body image in your family?

I look forward to reading your comments. Mich x
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