I don’t usually like to talk about topics that are controversial. I know there are so many opinions on this topic, but something that has gained in popularity is healthy eating. I love healthy eating! It is a wonderful thing that can make you feel much better. There are certain foods that are not as good for you as others, we all know that.
But I see in some circles, it has extended to beyond just normal healthy eating. Instead of promoting healthy eating, we see the promotion of cutting out food groups. While this can be needed with children with severe food allergies, intolerances, etc by the doctors orders, it should not be the norm.
When a child goes through puberty, it can be a difficult time. Everything is changing. Often for girls, they begin to develop, which can make them feel uncomfortable with their body shapes. There is joint pain, they are tired all the time, sleeping constantly, and eating patterns change. If someone suggests a special diet, often that word is associated with weight loss. That may not be the parent’s idea of why to do it, but it can trigger a thought pattern that is setting your child up for unhealthy habits if you start cutting out food groups, and severely limiting eating.
There have been articles written on “Allergies. The new eating disorders.”. Others talk about Orthorexia, or basically a pure fear of food at times. I have seen some of these in younger and younger children. Some are rooted in real things. But many are developing a type of eating pattern that may harm your child for the rest of their life.
I would love to see more people seeking out and promoting eating real food, whole foods, avoiding chemicals, preservatives, instead of things like dairy, grains, meat, eggs, and even legumes. Some people are beginning to believe that “Gluten free” is a form of health food. While it is healthier for those that need it, it is not as healthy for those that are not intolerant or allergic. Others may have ethical reasons for not wanting to eat certain foods. Mainly, I am speaking of the general parent that doesn’t think much about cutting out dairy, wheat and eggs out of a child’s diet.
As someone that has struggled with my relationship with food since I was twelve, I beg you, don’t do this lightly. Make sure you express to your child that cutting out food from your diet is something you only do with a serious illness.
Instead of focusing on the foods they cannot eat, make a list of foods they must eat everyday if possible.
-Whole fruits and vegetables
Discuss with their care provider what vitamins and how much they should be getting everyday. Focus on the healthy amount of exercise and fuel they need for their body.
Don’t promote eating disorders as healthy. Encourage a healthy body image.