Why I no longer feel guilty about my kids eating habits!
The Chinese philosopher Confucius once said, “Life is really simple. We insist on making it complicated.” I’m not sure if he had any children, but I think if he was alive today he would find that we have made parenthood insanely complicated. Especially when it comes to feeding our kids.
As parents we put WAAAAAY to much pressure on ourselves in regards to our children’s eating habits. First we fret about breast vs. bottle. Then, we worry about if our toddlers are actually eating anything since most of it seems to end up on the floor. We worry about picky eaters, food aversions, and mealtime battles. We feel guilty if other kids have better appetites than our kids! I swear, the worrying never ends!
Not only do we worry, but we actually take it personally when our kids don’t like a meal. We think they need to HAPPILY eat every bite of the perfect and healthy Pinterest-worthy meal we have prepared for them.
But I am here to tell you it needs to stop today! No more feeling guilty because our kids don’t like zucchini muffins. No more spending hours creating the perfect bento lunch to share on Instagram.
I’m here to tell you your kid is totally normal. It’s normal that they hate carrots. It’s ok that they only want pb & j for lunch everyday. And it’s completely normal that they constantly ask for sugary sweets. It’s no indicative of anything YOU did! They are human. Humans like sugar because it tastes good!
Now, of course, this doesn’t mean they get Froot Loops for every meal and never have to try another vegetable. It’s about giving ourselves permission to not be so hard on ourselves about our kids eating habits. And trust me I used to beat myself up because my kids didn’t like certain food and were reluctant to try new things.
The first reason I changed my thinking was because I have a friend who has celiac and one of my daughters’ friends is a type-one diabetic. Once you see the things people with life and death food issues have to deal with, you are a lot less hard on yourself. My child can eat anything she wants in the whole world! She isn’t allergic to anything and nothing causes her problems. It is such a blessing when you think of all those people with food allergies or not having enough food at all!!
The other reason I changed my thinking was when I realized that my kids are their own independent people. I came to understand that kids are going to eat what they want. They have free will. We can’t force them to eat anything. We can try all the gimmicks and read all the tips, and try all the consequences but at the end of the day, they have control over what they do.
There are going to be some food kids just don’t like. It isn’t anything you have done as a parent. They just don’t like it. And thats ok.
So what are we supposed to do as parents?
One, we help them make good choices. This means we offer them a balanced diet. They didn’t like or try the broccoli this time? Try preparing it a different way or just try it again. Maybe next week, month, or next Christmas! Don’t get discouraged and try again.
We teach them about healthy foods and not-so-healthy food. Apples are a great food to have everyday! Ice cream should be saved for those special occasions like hot summer days and The Walking Dead night.
We teach them were food comes from and things that grow are much better for us than something made in a factory.
We teach them it’s ok to indulge! Nothing is totally off-limits but we should only have peanut butter cups once in awhile.
We model healthy eating habits. Again, be the example but don’t be too self-critical. Don’t feel the need to chug down green smoothies if you detest them.
Remember, fed is best! Whatever diet and meal planning works best for you in your season of life is perfectly fine! As long as your kids are getting a balanced diet and taking care of their teeth, everything will be ok.
Confucius also said, “Roads were made for journeys not destinations.” Don’t be so focused on a having a kid with perfect eating habits that you forget to enjoy the journey of parenthood.