Children who are picky eaters are more apt to be obese adults, perhaps in part because there was so much attention around: “Oh, you don’t like that? Oh, what would you like?” or “Oh, no, you’re not cleaning your plate!” Pair maternal (or paternal ) highly emotional attention with any bad habit and watch it become wired in quite strongly.
How can we raise our children without food hang-ups? Teach them EBT skills. Feed them EBT tools. Model and teach EBT, which includes emotional sensitivity, only eating if they are hungry, and if they are hungry eating what they really need, healthy foods. Have lots of “fun”, play and excitement about healthy foods, as the positive emotions wires the brain to go for those foods.
Sitting and watching television and eating chips causes a neurotransmitter high (abnormal high that sets up a chemical crash and cravings), yet, interesting, a sound neurotransmitter high comes from pairing loving attention with “low reward” foods. Get a bowl of baby carrots, snap peas, jicama cubes, and sit on the floor with your child, laughing and talking, and the feel good high that comes is stronger, more sustainable and more rewarding than the junk food binge.
Teach them that White Stuff (sugary, fatty foods) are not bad or wrong, and they taste good now and then, but do you really want to put that stuff in your body? That may sound unrealistic if you have kids that have been trained to like the sweets and fats or during periods of development when cravings mount, such as just before puberty when candy drives are the highest. At those times, getting into battles about food is rather foolish, because who can win? They have the power to go to a friend’s and binge on candy. The best way, even then to stop the craving, is EBT. Go under the drive to overeat and connect with them so that they stop wanting — or needing — the extra food . . .