As a dietitian, I am all for healthy eating (duh!). I mean seriously, I’ve made it my career. However, I am so alarmed by the healthy eating obsessions that I’ve seen grow over the past decade. As parents, we want the very best for our kiddos. And that includes the foods that go into their stomachs. We don’t want them to eat anything that could harm them and we want what we feed them to fuel them in a way that helps them reach their full potentials. But this has gotten a smidge out of hand… and instead of making kiddos that have healthy relationships with healthy foods, we’re creating a food obsessed culture. Instead of creating kids who eat so they can live to the fullest, we’re making families whose lives are centered around food.
Is “healthy” eating taking up too big of a place in your life? Are you spending more time planning and agonizing over what you feed your kids than you are with other things you’d like to value more (teaching them, playing with them, etc.)? Have you noticed your kiddos growing anxious around what they should eat? Does your 3-year-old know what a calorie is? Have you noticed that part of your self worth has gotten wrapped up in what you and your kids eat? Do you find your self judging other people based on their diets?
Is your life centered around food instead of the food you eat enhancing your life?
Consider the following quote form Ellyn Satter, MS, RD, CICSW, BCD:
“Good nutrition is optimizing, providing, and celebrating; it is not restricting, controlling, and avoiding. Good nutrition is not a dreary and anal-retentive chore of getting all the shoulds and outs to fit together. It is a robustly cheerful and flexible business of cooking, serving and eating rewarding food.”
If you feel that some of the joy of eating and feeding your children has been lost in the latest health craze, step back and reevaluate why and how you feed yourself and your family. Food is so much more than the nutrients that go into our bodies. Food is about the relationships that it nourishes and the celebrations that it enhances too. So, as hard as you are fighting to feed your kids as healthy as possible, fight to keep food enjoyable and in its proper place.
I’d love to hear from you. Has this been a struggle for you? Have you found that “healthy” eating has become an obsession?