Food is a family affair.
And experts agree that how you and your family think and talk about food and bodies can have a big impact on your health now—and in the future.
Unfortunately, some of the most well-meaning practices—like restricting food or focusing on body weight—can end up being harmful. They can actually promote the behaviors and poor self-image they aim to prevent!
What to do?
Support each other in healthier attitudes. Do your best to adopt healthy habits together.
Ideas to make it happen
- Forget "forbidden foods." Being overly restrictive about certain "bad" foods can really backfire. The pressure to be perfect can lead to all kinds of unhealthy behavior. So be moderate. Plan for treats from time to time. If you make good food choices and have reasonable portions most of the time—you're doing great.
- Don't use food as a reward, bribe, or punishment. This can lead to "comfort eating"—overeating when you're stressed—and other unhealthy behaviors. Instead, reward or motivate yourself (or your kids) with an activity: a trip to the park, a hike with a friend, a matinee.
- Stay away from fad diets. Beware of eating plans that promise to help you drop weight, build muscle, or lose (or gain) inches in a "quick and easy" way. Such diets rarely work in the long-term—and they can be unsafe. Instead, build life-long healthy habits for eating and activity.
- Learn about nutrition. Take a class or read a book on nutrition. Find out how different foods nourish your body. Be food-friendly, not food-phobic!
- Grow it yourself. Start a garden in your yard—or in containers on your porch or windowsill. Growing your own vegetables is a fun way to get some exercise, bone up on biology, and share time with your family. It's also a great reminder that food is healthy and nurturing, not harmful.