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If you saw the topic of this month’s issue and thought to yourself, it’s not relevant to you because your children are not picky eaters, think again. In our western culture, food is so much more than just a way to satisfy hunger.

We celebrate life events and holidays with food. Our social gatherings are in many cases planned around food, either in our own homes or at a restaurant. As parents, it’s truly important that we understand our own relationship with food in order to teach our children healthy, emotional, physical and mental habits about food.

My daughter is a foodie like my husband and me. We are grateful to have a child who truly enjoys food and is (almost) always interested to learn more about it. However, when she is in a bad mood, she may throw a fit about food as well.

One morning she wanted a banana for breakfast, and we didn’t have any at home. She got upset and refused to eat anything. We said that she didn’t have to eat at all if she didn’t want to, but she insisted that she was VERY hungry and there was NOTHING for her to eat.

After we offered 3-4 options and she refused all of them, I started suggesting silly ideas like her Elsa doll, our dog’s belly, a drawing, a chair with sirup, etc. Her reactions started with a tiny smile and eventually grew to a huge laugh! As we were laughing together, I said “well, you didn’t want yogurt with fruit so maybe you want yogurt with dog hair!”. Her response was “no way! I prefer yogurt with fruit.” and that was her breakfast.

Things that work in our home:

  1. We don’t stress when our daughter doesn’t want to eat. We trust her that she knows her body and when she is hungry, she will ask for food.

  2. We encourage her to try new foods. If she doesn’t like something, we try different recipes and, in most cases, we find a winner.

  3. We have very little candy at home, but if she asks for chocolate or ice cream, we give it to her and don’t make a big deal about it. She knows that the limit per day for candy is one (not including special occasions).

  4. My husband is very good about explaining where food comes from, the health benefits it has and the different ways to prepare and serve it. My daughter is almost always interested to learn about it.

  5. I don’t eat meat for moral reasons. My husband and daughter eat everything. I respect their choices and my husband always makes sure that I have plenty of options to eat (he’s the cook).

  6. We let our daughter help prepare food. She LOVES taking part in meal preparation and setting the table.

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