I went overboard policing my kids’ diets: Here’s why I stopped

December 29, 2016
in Kids

A parent’s obsession with making a child eat more healthfully can backfire. Tim Lee/TNS archives Ten years ago, my husband became sick with an autoimmune disease, and nutrition played a significant role in his recovery. What did I do when he got better? I became the food police, imagining that if I could control the food he and my kids ate, I could keep us all healthy and safe. I figured this made me a magnificent mom and wife as well; if my family was guzzling artichokes and homemade soups and never saw candy, I deserved high marks. I literally threw out everything that I deemed unhealthy and made quinoa and kale daily diet staples. I talked about nutrition constantly and took every meal as an opportunity to teach my kids about healthy eating. Meals were no longer fun, they were lessons. If it isn’t obvious, I took it way too far. And not surprisingly, my kids suddenly became pickier and more resistant instead of embracing all the wonderful health foods I was parading in front of them. When I realized what I was doing, I had to actively recalibrate, especially the way in which I talked about food to my kids and the frequency with which I talked about it. Of course it was beneficial to teach my children about which foods help them grow and which ones should be consumed in moderation. But making my goal at every meal to get them to eat as many healthy foods as possible, and to cut out all the unhealthy ones,...

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