Want your kids to have a healthy relationship to food and grow up to be happy and healthy into their old age? Unfortunately now days this isn’t the ‘norm’.
Only 2.9% of children aged 5-14 eat enough servings of vegetables (NHRMC 2013); 29% of that age group is overweight (ABS 2015b); and hospital admissions for children as young as 8 with eating disorders have tripled in the last decade (Dingle, ABC 2011). This is just an itty-bitty tiny picture of what is really going on, so where is this increasing problem truly starting from? If the home is where the heart is then the kitchen is where the health is – or isn’t.
Many Australian parents struggle to find foods that their kids will enjoy or at least eat, and often loathe the battles that regularly ensue around food. Many who do not experience food dramas, often experience the behavioural dramas that soon follow when children are freely allowed to choose what they want to eat. The root of the problem is not lack of choice. It is not bad parenting, and it is not that the child is “naughty”.
A child learns what “food” is based on what is regularly given to them. They learn consciously and subconsciously what “food” is every single time they look in the pantry or fridge. But what if the person who stocks those spaces has never been taught how to do so for optimum health?
Learning to safely drive a car takes months of practice and a qualified teacher. Learning to nourish your body and give it all the building blocks that it needs daily, in an enjoyable way, takes years - and a qualified teacher. The enjoyment factor is key. Did you have a qualified teacher? One who exuded health, studied what it meant for their body, and enjoyed the whole process of nourishing the bodies of those they cared for? Were you then given the opportunity to absorb these learnings and be taught how to do so for yourself, or have you just followed suit? Why are we expected to ‘just know’ how to feed ourselves but we are given Math’s lessons and assessments to test our understanding for at least 12 years of our life?
The results show that we Australians are not quite getting it right so lets take a closer look at our pantries for what we define as suitable ‘food’. Lets take a look at our kitchen and see if it is set up to enjoy the food preparation process and facilitate the fun and positive education about food for our children. Let's check in with ourselves to see if we have the necessary skills to teach our children how to love nourishing their beautiful little bodies with healthy whole foods. If not, lets go learn together and discover how good we could feel having a new solid foundation in food knowledge. No diets, no ‘weight loss schemes’, no eating disorders, no more guilt, just take action now – the results are delicious!