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teaching confidence for good eating

15 Mar

This morning I had the pleasure of hearing Donna Fish speak at a school about kids and their relationship with food. She is a parent of three, a clinical social worker with a private practice in NYC, and the author of Take the Fight out of Food.  Her general approach to creating healthy relationships with and around food for kids, has less to do with food and more to do with helping children develop decision-making skills about food for life. Children can be taught, as babies she says, to think about their decisions, to check in with themselves and be body-detectives. Each of us knows better than anyone else what feels right – from the inside out. Encouraging our children to experiment and listen to the messages their bodies give them, and then encouraging them to trust their instincts, creates confidence. this is the type of confidence that will allow your child to think through their decisions, and then feel good about their decisions as they grow and are faced with peer pressures.

At Butter Beans, we do believe that food changes everything. Eating, affords many lessons that influence just about every other aspect of our life. It isn’t just about the food though. In the case of school lunch, students line up to make their plate, and there are choices to consider! Do I want soup? Do I want both sides, or do I want to save room for a salad or a sandwich? Do I want yogurt? What’s the fruit today? What is my friend going to have?

Having only good things to choose from is great, but choosing, for a timid eater, or for a student new to the lunch line, takes some getting used to. Learning to do so – to take in options and making the most appropriate ones for you on a daily basis, is an amazing life tool. Giving students support in honing this skill, is important.

How to do that? Reviewing the menu with your child before they are faced with lunch, works wonders.

Taking your child shopping and letting them pick out different types of foods, is fun and empowering for them. Donna Fish recommends talking about the food groups as they relate to your child. Protein – essential for focus – let them pick out the protein foods they like at the store.

Having supportive, friendly staff is also important – we’ve got that covered:)

The lessons don’t have to come all at once. In fact, a little at a time is probably the best way to go about it.  Teaching our children to chew is a gift that literally lasts a lifetime. Chewing on our food allows for proper digestion and assimilation, and also makes it easier to connect to our body wisdom that lets us know when we have had enough, or when we need more of something. Chewing on information, is a similar process.

Our children’s number one job is to take care of their bodies. It is our responsibility to give them the tools to do so well.