October 25, 2016

The Importance of Modeling Good Food Behavior for Children.


kid eating food messy

Around the time my baby girl started being interested in food, I won a coaching grant to work with an Eating Psychology Coach.

I noticed my baby watching me eat and all of a sudden, I was self conscious about whether or not I was modeling good food behavior for her or not. Old insecurities about weight and bad habits started to come up. 

It got me thinking, what does good food behavior even look like?

My new mom brain wasn’t sure what was most important to be showing her. Does this mean no eating sweets? Does it mean no standing up to eat? Does it mean.. Well, what does it mean?

Luckily my eating psychology coach, Heather, is a teacher of mind-body nutrition. She taught me that the most important way to model healthy food behavior is by enjoying what I eat and creating a positive environment around food.

It’s not so much about what I eat, but how I take the time to slow down and enjoy it. Meal time should be a social, relaxed, connecting time.

Phew—what a relief!

I can do that.

Then last night I had an even deeper ah-ha moment on how what I eat is directly influencing my child.

I was having dinner with a friend and telling her all about how Bella (my daughter) really loves green food more than anything else. Bring on the broccoli, lettuce, kale, and peas. The first food she put in her mouth and actually liked was seaweed! I’ll take it.

I had the epiphany that the vibe I put off surrounding the food I eat really is being shared with her. I started doing a green drink a day challenge the month she started showing real interest in food—for health reasons but also just to bring some extra intention into my life. Every time I make a green drink, I take the time to say some positive affirmations, affirm my worth and state some things I am grateful for.

I’m with my daughter most always, so she is around me during this ritual. She watches me drink green juice and she loves the sound and sight my shaker bottle makes. So that helps. We do it together.

Think what you may, but I firmly believe that my daughter is more interested in eating healthy green foods, because I am interested in it right now too. Your vibe attracts your tribe, right? Well our vibe also attracts our patterns, thoughts and behaviors.

It’s like someone once told me: a parent’s words become a child’s subconscious thoughts.

The power. The responsibility! The beautiful opportunity to shape a human into a loving, healthy, nourished and secure being.

I’m grateful that drinking a green drink a day keeps illness at bay during cold and flu season. And I’m grateful that Bella has taken such a liking to eating green foods.

But more than anything, I’m grateful that the pleasant, happy feelings I have when I eat are the vibe that my daughter is going to pick up on.

Green drinks may not be your thing, that’s not important.

What’s important is getting the message across that we have more influence on our children than most of us could even fathom. So let’s show them the activities we partake in that fill us up with love and light and teach them to share that.

And share that with the world—especially when it comes to eating.



Author: Jessica Cartwright

Photo:  Mike Haller/Flickr 

Assistant editor:  Josie Myers / Editors: Renée Picard/Travis May


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