Tips for Developing Healthy Relationship with Food

Posted on: Fri, 02/24/2006 - 9:21am
Corvallis Mom's picture
Joined: 05/22/2001 - 09:00

Hey, all... so I was thinking about this as I was posting in the other thread running, and I decided that there is some GREAT advice in there. I thought it deserved it's own thread, really.

And I for one have a whole family's worth of bad habits to break for my daughter as we attempt to teach her about a healthy way to relate to food.

Obviously, this has more importance for our kids than for most. They can't love food so much that they forgo safety... but they have to love it enough to be satisfied with cooking for themselves. I know families with diabetics struggle with these issues as well for some of the same reasons. It is hard when you aren't even sure what constitutes a healthy role model!!

How to emphasize exercise with a nerdy kid who hates to get sweaty (as it irritates eczema and triggers asthma) and would rather read... or tape things together around the house... [img][/img] or play the piano. Did I mention a general lack of large motor coordination?

How to make food be just fuel, rather than emotionally-charged "the enemy," "comfort," or "love" as so many other family members have? And how much of the "social" aspects are just normal and healthy?

How did you break the cycle of dysfunctional eating, if you come from a family that abuses(abused) food?

If anyone has good tips, this would be a great thing to share for all of us here.

I definitely don't have good answers. My family has more food-related baggage than United airlines... [img][/img] One half a huge Southern clan where abundant food means love. But like unconditional love, it has to be available at all times, and refusal is rejection. The other half are major food controllers (single servings on plates.. never meals served family style, no lingering at the table, water with meals, no desserts snacks). [i]And this is just [b]my[/b] family.[/i] Don't even get me started on DH's family, which is even more extreme than my own.

It just seems from all the troubles that so many of us have regarding family, gatherings, and food that these are fairly common problems/concerns.

How do you personally take issues like these and make them less destructive?

Posted on: Fri, 02/24/2006 - 12:45pm
Lori Jo's picture
Joined: 09/17/2003 - 09:00

You raise a good point about keeping food issues "sane" with our kids, and not making it into more than it needs to be. So far we've been ok with dd and what she will/can eat.
I would have to say that growing up my family did not equate food with anything significantly emotional. That said, we all grew up eating very healthy. I think my mom accomplished it by always making sure we all sat down together and had a well rounded (or at least relatively well rounded) meal most every night. She worked, and so there were alot of crock pot meals and casseroles. We were given veggies most meals. We had desserts, but they usually came after bath time. We weren't forced to eat everything on our plate, but we did have to try it. If we did want to eat a ton of whatever we were having, we could. Now, with 5 people, as I'm finding out in our household, it is not often that every person is going to be crazy about every meal, so the overeating was not happening every night. [img][/img] She made special meals for birthdays and holidays. Once for my birthday she did a whole thanksgiving dinner.
I try to do the same with my kids. I am thankful that I know how to cook, so it is not so daunting. I also work full time, and we do alot of crock pot meals, and then I usually steam some veggies, and make rice or nuke some potatoes while I'm getting the table set. My biggest challenge is finding a variety of meals that the majority of us will eat. I now understand why we had a core group of meals growing up. It is a pain to experiment, just to find that no one will eat it but you. I usually try something new no more than every other week or so. There are definitely meals that we have almost every week.
Hope that helps. [img][/img]
Lori Jo,
Rose, 7-31-02, PA
Beatrice & Georgia, 8-14-99

Posted on: Sat, 02/25/2006 - 12:30am
williamsmummy's picture
Joined: 03/26/2002 - 09:00

I do have an obcession with food.
i do have to plan ahead .
i am obese, I eat, I love eating , I quite enjoy cooking, I have also spent some time not eating, being obese is far healthier IMO.
I dont want my kids to have that problem in their lives. But who knows what will happen, I can only do my best.
Having got four kids , they do keep asking 'whats for dinner' all the time , one after the other , I get VERY snappy as i am trying to cook /help with homework/ and replying to the same question over and over and over and over again!!
feel quite steamed up typing this!!
Anyway , we have the three meals a day with regulated snacks. ( the older boys have done bit of stealing, which means that I hide the treat stuff so that it gets shared evenly)
I write/ or the kids do/ a weekly meal planner.
I buy the food ,they choose the meals, and we sort of agree which days for which.
I have a breakfast menu as well, as the limited choice of cereal, can result in boring meals.
I also have to give some form of cooked breakfast as underweight child doesnt eat much at school. Food is not as worthy of attention compared to football in the playground.
There is a snack list as well, from the boring , (in their opinon) fruit /yogurt/dried fruit/biscuits/crackers etc.
The kids do a fair share of cooking, which results in a great deal of mess, but I am past the perfect housewife stage..................if I had it at all.
The younger children love all the veg prep, cutting and peeling veg etc.
The older ones have cooking skills, can make spag bol, cheese sauce and the 12yr old has a light hand with cake and pastry.
( which is just as well any pastry I make is like shoe leather)
I have three children who if left unchecked would weigh the same as a whale, ( much like their mother, and their father was , but is thin now, which again, is rather annoying for me)
But I cant afford all this needless consumption of high fat processed food.
So I dont buy much of it. ( anyway I would eat it too)
The big thrill of cooking your own food is the the boost to self esteem, and for the allergic child , its a bit of a confidance booster, william will try a meal that someone , other than me, has cooked.
Trust is something that we have to learn and judge that we can give.
I must admit that I am a little short with fussy children outside my family who dont eat normally, or few foods.
This is a big fault of mine, and I frequently want to smack THEIR parents .
Who said that providing a healthy diet was the childrens resonsiblity?
Another huge irritation is the cafe system of eating, my home is not a cafe, I serve one main meal a day, its written on the menu, and if anyone changes it , its me!
There is none of this 'what meal would you grace to eat in my pressence today? this meal? or this? or this?
oh, and in my house everyone gets a bit of everything on their plate, ( unless it is a true revulsion , there is a difference from picky eating and utter disgust)
I dont mention the food they wont eat and its there choice if they eat it or not.
Its there and i take it away without comment if they dont touch it.
So far there are few veg my children wont eat.
I dont fret over left over carrots, or cabbage , as long as they eat a varity of other foods.
My kids have been brought up with my homemade soups esp in the winter, which I started in the effort to give william some extra high calorie meals.
They all love them, although they do beg on occasion for heinz tomato soup, which does upset me, as its full of salt. But they have it now and then, as long as they are not wearing white clothes.
I cant think of anything else.
I have a problem fitting fish twice weekly in them. Fish is very expensive esp for 6
Making fish pie takes a fair bit of time, but does taste ok. I hate cooking it.
[This message has been edited by williamsmummy (edited February 25, 2006).]

Posted on: Sat, 02/25/2006 - 1:10am
Peg541's picture
Joined: 12/29/2002 - 09:00

My daughter's boyfriend was born in Scotland and lived most of his early years in the UK. He now lives in CA. One of the things he misses most is Heinz tomato soup. Funny. Must be good stuff. I think they brought some home from their last trip, I should taste it.
Jewish families and any activities in the Synagogue always involve food.
I love cooking and making a dinner for company.
I always make sure I will run out of food by the end of the night so I don't have those lovely leftovers to tempt me in the morning.
My son still hates me for tossing the rest of his Lord of the Rings birthday cake that still had most of "bag end" standing. It was a BIG mound of decorated frosting and It was calling to me so after a few days I tossed it. He's heartbroken.
Having to bake for my son is a trap because who can resist the smell of something in the oven? Even the dog loves my snickerdoodles, he has a thing for cinnamon even if he never gets any.
I refuse to give another penny to any weight loss program so I can obsess over the scale and want to die on the day of the weigh in.
And since 98% of all eating programs fail I just do not know what to do.
I know what to eat and how much. That part is easy but DOING it is hard.
I recently developed a dairy and soy allergy or intolerance. So not having that 100 calorie snack of cottage cheese is very limiting and tough to manage. And boy do I miss cereal. I think rice dream is a problem with me too. Not sure yet.
I just got invited to be a weight loss buddy online and the thought is appealing so here I go again.
I wish us all luck. My children are slim, my son could lose a bit but I worked very hard to NOT pass my eating habits onto them.
My DH does what he pleases. He'll snack all day and night. I have to realize I can't change that. I serve him healthy meals and what he eats beyond that is his own choice.

Posted on: Sat, 02/25/2006 - 3:40am
hopechapel's picture
Joined: 12/11/2005 - 09:00

I hope this thread stays around for awhile. I may have been the original poster -- complaining about weight gain. When I counselled with someone about my child's diagnosis she tried to get me to see the silver lining by emphasizing conscious eating and how it is a good thing to be aware of what we are eating. She suggested I buy a juicer and work on making my son's diet as healthy as possible. When you read all those labels you do become more conscious. I read all the snack labels this summer at my child's preschool and was able to inform a few parents that while the snacks had no peanuts they all had MSG! Really, for 2 yr olds, we can do better than that.
I've also gotten rid of anything with synthetic dyes. No reason for a daily dose of that either.
I just have not been able to fully get a handle myself and find myself nervously munching away and downing all our homecooked foods and muffins.
My goal is to work toward healthy and conscious and reverent attitudes towad food.
Meanwhile, husband is out and about now with son questioning diners about the oil in their french fryer.

Posted on: Sat, 02/25/2006 - 4:18am
williamsmummy's picture
Joined: 03/26/2002 - 09:00

I have never quite 'got' the juicer stuff.
can it be natural to eat so much fruit in one glass?
I suppose it requires effort on my part, am more the 'heres an apple, eat it' sort of parent.

Posted on: Sat, 02/25/2006 - 4:24am
Adele's picture
Joined: 01/31/2005 - 09:00

Hmmm - interesting thread - especially Corvallis Mom's mention of her Southern family where food means love and heaven forbid you should reject it!
But no one has mentioned (unless I missed it) about using food as a reward.
I noticed years ago that some people spend a lot of time talking about various sauces, looking at photos of food in magazines, etc. I could care less. I don't live to eat....but then I was never rewarded with food. When my son was little, my mother reminded me (when I was bribing him with ice cream) not to use food as a reward or punishment.
Are we genetically programmed to LOVE food or does it come from being rewarded by food as a kid?
Years ago I was friends with a woman who was very obese. Her hand was caught in a machine when she was two and it was thought she might lose it. She had to 'be still' for weeks while the hand healed, so her mother kept her quiet by feeding her. Now she is an obsessive eater (if she is still alive.....I lost touch with her) who equates food with comfort.
[This message has been edited by Adele (edited February 25, 2006).]

Posted on: Sat, 02/25/2006 - 6:24am
shoshana18's picture
Joined: 02/02/2005 - 09:00

someone here mentioned something like "i know what to eat and what to do, it's just a question of doing it". that probably sums it up for everybody! who here doesn't know that whole wheat is better than white flour, sugar is the enemy, you've got to exercise? but boy is it tough to implement all of this, consistently too.
i think the groceries we buy is the first place to start. we just don't have sweets (other than an occasional treat) at our house anymore. i don't buy white bread; always whole wheat; LOW sugar cereal; lots and lots of fresh fruit; NO pasta; NO SODA POP--not even diet...just water, water, water; no alcoholic mixed drinks, too many calories...only wine; no juice, not even for my daughter...she drinks water; buy only skim milk, not even low-fat; red meat only once a week. i truly don't even think anymore about going down the snack aisles at the grocery store.
we also don't eat at fast food restaurants anymore either. the only time in the past few years is when we drove across country and didn't really have any other choice. it would be great just to pick up a burger on the fly sometimes; i just don't anymore.
do i order something greasy and yummy at a restaurant sometimes? you bet. but i always compensate -- a big fruit salad the next meal or something like that. compensating is the key; enjoy, splurge at times, but you know what to eat the next meal--light and healthy.
i didn't implement all of these changes at once though. i think that is too hard for almost anyone. it was a gradual change that now is just habit for us. same thing with my exercise routine -- it is now a routine of 30 min. aerobic type 5 times per week; stretching and sit-ups 5 times per week; and weight/strength training 3 times per week. but when i started 2 years ago, it was just sit-ups everyday to get started and then i gradually added a little more a week or so at a time until i had a nice routine going for myself.
does all this work? i've never "dieted" (followed a formal diet) in my life; i changed my habits. i saw the weight i had gained from 3 years of infertility treatment and then pregnancy in my 40's just hanging on and i wanted it gone! it's gone (plus some) and now i'm 110 pounds at age 44. i'm not bragging; i'm really not -- i'm just assuring you that habit changes can work (and are way better than the next diet fad.); just take your time and i'll bet those habit changes become your new habit!

Posted on: Sat, 02/25/2006 - 7:04am
shoshana18's picture
Joined: 02/02/2005 - 09:00

okay, as if i didn't ramble last tip is you should NEVER BE HUNGRY! don't let yourself get to that point, because that's when we make bad food choices. have something in your purse all the time; some sort of (healthful) snack that you enjoy. have something handy at home too. otherwise blood sugar gets too low, we HAVE to eat right now, and, uh oh...there's mcdonald's or there's the quick bag of chips...

Posted on: Sat, 02/25/2006 - 7:10am
MommaBear's picture
Joined: 09/23/2002 - 09:00

hmmmmmmmmmmmm. [img][/img]
Food is just not a "eat to live" thing in our house.
[i]It's so much more than that[/i].
Nothing wrong with that, IMPHO.
Take an orange. I hand one to my child. I feel [i]good[/i] when I give him one. Can't help it: I say:
"This orange is [i]good[/i] for you. It will roll around your tummy tonight and do [i]good[/i] things while you sleep. It makes me feel good to give it to you.
Maybe we could eat one together. I'll save the little "babies" near the stem [i]just for you[/i]. Cuz you're sweet and cute and *perfect* just like them. We can cuddle and watch your favorite show while we peel it. The skin [i]smells[/i] soooooooooooooooo good when you bend it. Doesn't it? Even if you aren't starving right now, [i]eat it[/i].
I mean, if I handed you an oatmeal cookie, you'd probably scarf it right down without a thought. [img][/img] You'll be surprised how much more satisfying that orange is.
Although the oatmeal cookie isn't such a bad idea either and they are still fresh from the oven. I'll even let you keep the little sticker off the orange. I can put it on the end of your nose. Meet me for tea and cinnamon toast for breakfast." [img][/img]

Posted on: Sat, 02/25/2006 - 7:44am
anonymous's picture
Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

I guess I am trying to figure out how to have a healthy relationship with food, when my little kid's get pummeled at every public outing with the inevitable "snack time". Church has a table of doughnuts, Sunday School has snack time, pre-school has snacks, and then will be selling more candy, dance class has party's on each holiday, with snacks. And then the school DD will be entering next year stops at 10 a.m. so that the kids can eat the snacks they have brought in...and this is everyday.
I guess my struggle is the news reports that our children are getting obese...then WHY DO WE KEEP FEEDING THEM?!?!?!?! Personally I like snacks too, but if I ate one every time I got together with others, I would be a mess. And trying to convince them that when we are just hanging out at home they do not NEED a snack is just crazy!
Just my thoughts.....


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