G: Mama, can I have some chocolate after my eggs?

Me: sure!

That’s not an uncommon answer around here. We let our kids have treats almost whenever they ask. I had some pretty messed up views on food/eating and I don’t want my kids to “inherit” that.

pausing here to add, I know we don’t get this right but we are trying to break cycles of negative food relationships. It’s a big work in progress.

Snacks are always available. I try to keep them on the “healthier” side of things but I really hate that word for food. When we talk about food around here it’s usually talking about what it does for our body. Meat has protein for your muscles. Cheese has calcium for your bones. Veggies have fiber to help you poop. And chocolate… well, chocolate is just tasty and good too! Sometimes we eat something because it just tastes good. There should be no shame in that! How we talk to our kids about food can stick with them for a LONG time (ask me how I know….). I want my kids to know that no food is off limits (unless there is an allergy).

Things we do say about food with our kids:

-you need to eat a more filling food first then we can have a less filling food. That way you aren’t hungry later.

-you don’t have to eat but it’s lunch time so you need to come sit with us at the table.

-you need to eat a variety of foods. Variety is good for your body. (We use this same conversation when she wants to watch tv all day or do any one thing for a long time)

-check in with your belly, is it all full?

-if you are still hungry, you can eat what’s on your plate then I can get you more. We don’t want to waste food.

I only say this if I know it’s something they like but want more of something else.

We don’t have our kids eat more bites unless they say they are hungry.

We don’t make our kids finish what’s on their plates or take a certain number of bites. The only exception to this is when we know they are melting down because they are hungry. It’s pretty obvious when it happens and once we get a few bites in them, they usually realize how hungry they are and keep eating.

We do talk about food waste though. I hate throwing away food. I don’t push the kids to finish what they have. If they are full or don’t like something, that’s totally fine.

How does your family handle treats?

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