One of my favorite cook books is called Feeding the Whole Family by Cynthia Lair. I love her eclectic choices of recipes, and they are simple and easy to follow. I also like that she includes how each meal can be modified to feed beginner eaters like babies and toddlers. The purpose of this book, I believe, is to raise awareness of wholesome cooking for the entire family. The book includes a section for “Raising Healthy Eaters”. The first thing she suggests is that parents should pay attention to what they are eating. She writes, “the primary job parents have is to set a good example”. I whole heartedly agree with this. Food and emotions are highly related and, more often than not, likes and dislikes of food has its roots in childhood. What kind of food culture did you grow up in? Does your eating habits somewhat resemble your parents’ eating habits? When you are sick, what do you crave? Many of my friends, who are not from the United States, often joke that you have to grow up here to like PB&J sandwiches because none of them like it. When I am sick, I want to eat Japanese rice porridge, not chicken noodle soup. When I was growing up in Japan, sweets and sodas were something I did not have every day. I remember that having a 1.5 litter bottle of Coca Cola was considered “special” at our house. My mother always told us that we needed to eat vegetables and were expected to eat everything on the plate.
You may be familiar with the idea that children do not do what they are told to do, but they do what they see. The same idea applies to eating. This week, I want you to pay attention to your attitude and behavior toward food. How do you nurture yourself? How do you eat? In a rush? Standing up or sitting down? Do you eat in front of TV, with your phone, or reading the newspaper? Do you seem to repeat the same dishes every week or do you try new food? Do you eat as a family? How is your attitude toward vegetables?
You do not have to change your attitude or behavior (just yet), but I want you to pay close attention to your choices of food. See if your attitude & behavior are reflected in your children’s attitude and behavior toward food.
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