Are you guilty of food crimes?

It’s a well known fact that in early childhood, food preferences are most influenced by primary caregivers (usually parents.) This means that your own preferences, dislikes and preconceived notions about food are likely to have a much bigger impact on your children than you are aware of.

We all want our children to grow up enjoying a wide repertoire of foods so it’s crucial to understand how significant a part we play in developing those first food habits. Here are some golden rules in playing the food psychology game with your kids:
  1. don’t tell your child they won’t like something before they try it (yes – this also goes for lemon, grapefruit, garlic, fish and all the other things you think they may not enjoy!)
  2. don’t impose your own dislikes on your child or tell them something is ‘yucky’ our main objective should be to try and promote as wide a palate as possible for our children, so it’s a win if they end up enjoying something we dislike ourselves
  3. don’t make food a reward or a punishment “if you eat these vegetables you can have some ice cream” This is likely to have the exact opposite effect as you are hoping for – your child will associate the vegetables as a punishment and the ice cream as a reward. They are much less likely to try vegetables again later even if you had success with this initial bribery
  4. don’t reinforce treat food by asking for a positive reaction (for example birthday cake or an easter egg.) It is likely that the child will experience a pleasant ‘sugar rush’ from the food regardless, so best not to reinforce how great it is or they will be begging you for more!
  5. be a good role model for your kids and enjoy healthy food yourself if you do enjoy a sweet indulgence every now and then (who doesn’t?!) try to save it for the evening once they’ve gone to bed. Remember that young infants don’t know that foods high in sugar and fat exist unless you introduce them to it – trying to hold off on that introduction for as long as you can is a good policy


Author:  Lynsey Bradley from Tuckshop

Lynsey is a a certified Nutrition Educator and lives on the Northern Beaches of Sydney with her husband and three year old boy. Tuckshop presents nutrition workshops for Parents to help them navigate food milestones with confidence. Put an end to those mealtime battles!


Follow Tuckshop on Facebook for weekly family friendly recipes HERE.

Author: Laurice Klaire

Weekly Newsletter Sign Up