What Are Your Family's Food Rules?
As I always say, "parenting is the hardest job that you will ever have"! Even when all is going well, at least three times a day, if not more, a parent must tackle the food issue. As a former teacher, parent and now grandparent, I understand the challenge young parents face as they make their family's "Food Rules."
Keeping up with the latest research, often with conflicting guidelines doesn’t always help, throw in a picky eater, a hectic lifestyle and mealtime can become a veritable mine field.
I have had students whose parents have tried diets that restrict the child's intake of fat, carbs (especially sugar) and even gluten without evidence that it was having an adverse effect on their child's health. I have heard more than a few parents sheepishly admit to spoon feeding their four-year-olds because that was the only way they could be sure that the child was getting enough to eat, even though the child was at a healthy weight. And then there is that most common guilty admission that parents voluntarily admit to -the dessert bribe. We have all witnessed it, or done it ourselves...."two more bites and you can have a cookie."
A recent article earlier this month at CNN.Com (here) does a great job of describing the different approaches to food that families employ. With feeding styles that range from authoritarian to permissive, nutritionists weigh in on what has the healthiest impact. Most agree that children develop good eating habits when they are involved with food choices and when diets are not too restrictive.
Personally, I ascribe to a set of guidelines set out by author Michael Pollan, in his 2009 book, Food Rules, An Eater’s Manual. A simple distillation of his main points goes something like this: eat food, not too much, avoid processed foods, eat celebration foods during celebrations-not every day. Or another way of saying - moderation is key.
As we begin the season of celebrations - starting with today's Halloween treats - we will all have the opportunity to test our family's rules. Do let us know what works for you.