Why Focusing On Your Eating Will Help Your Child

Last updated June 13, 2023
By Renae D'Andrea

So many of us that have young kids grew up in the age of low fat everything. Fat is bad, being fat is bad, you must diet ALL THE TIME in order to be worth anything. At least that was the message that so many of us got all the time from the media and the adults in our lives.

It’s still the message that a lot of us get today.

Weight loss is a billion dollar industry!

It wasn’t the adults in our lives fault, diet culture and messaging was prominent everywhere. Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, Slim Fast, to name a few off the top of my head.

Weight loss was, and is, a multi-billion dollar industry. Our torture over our weight and bodies only helps their pocket books. 

But what if we could break this awful cycle around how we think about food and our bodies and our worth? 

Parents who are eating competent have an easier time raising kids who are eating competent

I’ve spent years helping parents from all over the world focus on feeding their kids. Doing it in *new ways* that don’t involve diet culture and a lot of the pressure that most of us were raised with.

But do you know what I’ve noticed? 

It can be really hard for parents to truly implement a lot of the feeding practices that I teach because they have a hard time understanding it for themselves.

young girl eating a piece of cake with eyes closed

Things like how to truly trust our kids to eat the amount that their bodies need. Trusting kids is hard when parents don’t trust their own bodies to know how much to eat!

And taking the focus away from thinking about food from a moral standpoint? That is even harder!

I don’t know about you, but I can remember so many school lessons about good food and bad food. Food you should eat, and food that is junk and should essentially never pass your lips.

Fast forward to our generation having kids, and those food rules are ever present in our lives. If our meals don’t pass the litmus test for “healthy” then why even bother trying to cook?

We stress over our kids eating veggies, or not. We try to encourage them to eat what we think they should.

And through it all, do you know what is missing from the picture?


Enjoying your food is key!

When was the last time you truly enjoyed your food?

Pause for a second and really think about it.

Enjoyed it, and didn’t feel guilty. Didn’t feel like you should be eating something else. Didn’t make something because you thought your kids would eat it but you dreaded it?

woman with hand on mouth and worried expression with donut on plate in front of her

Enjoyed your food and were satisfied by the amount you ate? Didn’t beat yourself up about whether what you ate would or wouldn’t cause you to gain weight. If you should make up for it in another way? 

Truly enjoyed your food and savored it and then moved on to the rest of your day? 

If you can answer that that is how you eat frequently, then congratulations you are likely someone who is eating competent. 

But if you are like the majority of the population of the whole world? You likely can’t answer that that is how you usually eat.

And when you can’t do that, it weighs on you. And it hampers your ability to help your kids foster their ability to be eating competent and learn how to be matter of fact about food, flexible about eating, and able to nourish themselves.

In order to help our kids, we need to help ourselves.

Your baby or toddler is a great example of how to enjoy food and eat the amount you need. They can help to bring you along with your eating!

And the thought of helping them to break the awful dieting cycle that most of us are intimately familiar with? It's an added incentive!

How to start focusing on your eating

So how do you start? It’s not an easy answer.

A lot of us have so many thoughts and feelings tied up with eating that it can take awhile to untangle them. 

If this is you, I offer individualized coaching to help get you and your whole family on track with eating. 

Start by eating reliably

One of the first steps is to literally focus on feeding yourself reliably.

mom standing at counter watching kids talking to dad and eating

Don’t wait to eat until your body is screaming at you, don't feed your kids and not yourself, don’t be cavalier about eating.

Plan to feed yourself 3 meals each day, and at least 1 snack. It doesn’t matter really what you are feeding yourself here. It matters that you are being consistent and EATING. 

Eat things that you enjoy and that are manageable

Once you’ve done that, it will be time to focus on making and eating meals that bring you enjoyment and are manageable to do.

If you’re going to feed yourself and your family day in and day out, it’s a lot easier if you actually enjoy the food! It has to be worth it or you won’t want to do it.

family eating together and smiling at table

There is a lot that goes into this piece of it, but the gist of it is that by focusing on making food you want to eat and avoiding shoulds, you will actually start to eat better.

It’s contrary to a lot of things we’ve been raised with, but when you take away all the food rules, it actually helps your eating more!

Eat until you are satisfied

Part of the enjoyment and eating better aspect of this includes eating until your body is satisfied, and not just eating until your head, and all those food rules and ideals, say you should stop. 

Yet another piece that can be quite difficult if you have spent your life ignoring your body’s signals, and not something I can give a quick tip for how to achieve. But you CAN do it.

You can work through it and get out the other side with a much more balanced, flexible, and matter of fact approach to eating. And I am here to help you whenever you need it. 

Eating competence is our end game

At the end of the day, working on your eating, and becoming eating competent, will help your health and relationship with food and your body immensely. (Ref)

But it will also provide a hugely beneficial model for your child. And since you are on my website to begin with, I know that you care about their eating, and want what is best for them. 

We may be coming at it in a different way by focusing on you first, but you are worth it! You deserve to have a great relationship with food.

It just happens to be a win-win that by working on your own thoughts around food you can help your child's too and make mealtimes easier all around.

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