As a parent it’s important that your own attitude toward healthy eating is balanced. If you are messing up your diet and responding to this by over eating; your kids are watching. Over eating, particularly on foods you have been trying to avoid sends a confusing message to kids and can also be the beginning of an emotional relationship with food.
Emotional eating is a big problem and once in place it can be difficult to change- the best practise is not to get into it in the first place. This may be difficult for adults but is definitely avoidable for children if they don’t see food being used as a way to deal with emotions or food being over eaten in response to a break in ‘the diet.’
Having a balanced approach to food is the best way to overturn and prevent an emotional eating habit. If you don’t try to ban foods you will find you are better able to resist over eating them. If the decision to eat a less healthy food is made from the approach of, “Do I really feel like this now?” instead of just eating it and then triggering a cascade of over eating and guilty feelings you will feel more in control. Better still is planning what you will eat before you go to an event or before you purchase the food. Once prepared, you can simply roll out the plan!
Lisa Renn, Accredited Practising Dietitan APD www.dietproofyourkids.com.au