Did you know that September 9 is “I Love Food” day? I am a big fan of this theme. Food has always been a big part of my life. Growing up on a farm and learning to cook and bake with my mom and grandmas started my appreciation for good food. A love for food is also part of what drew me into a career as a dietitian.
A healthy relationship with food
Over the years, I have grown passionate about the value of having a healthy relationship with food. Sadly, many people have a lot of fear, worry or anxiety about food these days. Their minds are filled with thoughts like “Will this make me gain weight?” or “Will this destroy my health?” Their days are filled with relying on willpower (which there never seems to be enough of), ignoring hunger and fullness signals and cutting more and more foods out of their diet. But, a relationship with food doesn’t have to be this way. Through approaches like Intuitive Eating, it’s possible to enjoy food and nourish your body with the amount and type of food it needs.
Teaching kids about a healthy relationship with food
Now that I have a little one of my own, I often think about what my son is learning about food, eating and nutrition by watching me. My hope is that he will become something called a competent eater. This is what an Eating Competent kid can do:
- Feel good about eating and have the drive to eat
- Naturally eat as much as they need and grow in the way that is right for them
- Show us how to feed them as they grow and develop
- Learn to eat the food their parents eat
- Enjoy family meals and learn to behave well at mealtime
Doesn’t it sound wonderful?
The best way to help your child develop this healthy relationship with food is to follow the Division of Responsibility in Feeding by renowned dietitian Ellyn Satter. In this philosophy, parents are in charge of the what, when and where of feeding and children are in charge of the how much and whether of eating (if they eat or not). Depending on how you were raised (e.g. as part of the clean plate club), this might be an entirely new approach! You’ll need time and practice to become a pro at following the Division of Responsibility, but if you are intrigued and want to learn more, we’d recommend these posts from our guest bloggers Sarah Remmer and Jennifer House.
A fun family recipe to celebrate
Back to the food. It seems fitting to share a family-favourite recipe on “I Love Food” day. This Mediterranean 7-Layer Dip is quick to prep and makes a fun, shareable meal. We set it in the middle of the table beside bowls of carrot sticks, baked pita chips and/or tortilla chips and enjoy the experience of eating good food, together!
How will you be celebrating “I Love Food” day? Share your plans with us in the comments.
Need some support?
If you are struggling with your relationship with food, consider reaching out to a dietitian who specializes in this area.
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Written by a Registered Dietitian.