Food is one of the staples of life; there is no getting away from the fact you need it.
But for some of us it becomes more than sustenance; instead of eating when our stomachs tell us we need food, we begin to eat when we feel sad or angry. There is nothing wrong with using food to celebrate, but when you start to use it to comfort, or punish yourself, you are in trouble.
Having used food like this myself for many years, I am very keen that my children don’t develop this habit. So I resolved early on that the table would never become a battleground for my children.
I prepare food for the kids, but I try not to get too annoyed if they don’t eat it. I don’t tell them about starving children in Africa (well, not in that context), I don’t make them eat their dinner before they have their pudding and if they say they are hungry, I always let them have something to eat unless a meal is just about on the table.
In return, we talk about the difference between mouth and tummy hunger, I ask them to consider whether they are really hungry or just bored, sad or upset when they ask for a snack. I never make them clear their plate or even taste something they don’t like. I do try and encourage them to eat nicely, but honestly, I don’t really mind it too much if they play with their food.
This approach seems to have worked okay so far. No one has starved or suffered from scurvy yet, and most days everyone goes to bed nutritionally content.
Or should I say, almost everyone.
The Lurcher always wants more.
If you are feeling peckish and want to read more about food, then check out The Gallery today.