As parents, especially millennials who grew up in the age of diet fads, it’s important to be mindful of how we talk about food to our children. Dr. Raquel Katangian-Ayala, director of Center of Discovery in Irvine, emphasizes that our relationship with food starts at home, and we should avoid labeling foods as “good” or “bad.” Instead, focus on the nutritional value that different foods provide. It’s also okay to make certain foods unavailable to children, without feeling the need to explain why. This approach helps children listen to their hunger cues and make their own food choices.

Negative body talk, especially in relation to food, can have a significant impact on children. Dr. Katangian-Ayala highlights the importance of addressing how dieting and body talk by parents can influence children’s perception of food and their bodies. It’s crucial to put an end to body commentary and internalized weight bias, which can lead to unhealthy relationships with food. Kindly and clearly communicate with loved ones to understand that body commentary is not welcome around your child.

Avoid using food as a reward or punishment, such as promising dessert after eating vegetables or forcing children to finish their plate to get dessert. This approach can lead to a negative relationship with food and rewards. Encourage children to listen to their fullness cues and consider serving dessert along with their meal to remove the “forbidden fruit” factor. Additionally, it’s important to be mindful of children’s eating patterns, as they may need to refuel more frequently than adults.

Children have different metabolisms than adults, and it’s not realistic to expect them to follow the same meal schedule. Offering a heartier afternoon snack or an earlier dinner can accommodate their energy needs. If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, seek support through resources like Lifeline. By being mindful of how we talk about food and our bodies, we can help children develop a healthy relationship with food and their bodies.

HuffPost is committed to providing free, high-quality journalism to everyone, supported by contributions from readers like you. As we face the 2024 presidential election and other critical issues, your loyalty and support are vital in keeping our stories accessible to all. Every contribution, no matter how small, helps us continue delivering deeply reported news and analysis that is freely available to everyone. By joining us, you help ensure that our journalism remains independent and accessible to all.

© 2024 Trend Fool. All Rights Reserved.