As mothers we teach our children many things; how to behave, to work hard, to be kind, and to respect themselves and others. These may be overt lessons, but we also teach them so many things that we are not even aware of. For instance, our children learn how to eat from us. I am not talking about using a fork and a napkin, but subtle things like making good choices, portion control and whether food is to be enjoyed or considered a source of great anxiety.
Many people are still battling with food issues that were learned early on in life. For instance, if your Mom always greeted you at the door with milk and cookies after school, you will still look to cookies as a reward at the end of the day. If you were fed dessert every night, your dinner may still feel incomplete without it. Anyone who has battled weight knows these are the hardest habits to break, because deep down we are still children wanting to be comforted.
If you were never served realistic portions, then you may only stop eating when you are beyond full, instead of perfectly satiated. If eating after dinner or in front of the television was standard fare, you are probably still continuing with these destructive habits.Learning to eat is a skill that must be taught like any other.
Of course times have changed, and our food has changed as well. We no longer sit for Sunday dinners, and the few farms that used to surround us are far and few between. However, like all things, there has been a shift in the tide as collectively we realize eating well is no longer as easy as it used to be, but we still want what is best for our family.
Since children are natural mimics, it is hard to teach good eating habits if you were never taught them yourself. Trace the origins of some of your worst eating habits, understand where they came from, and regroup. It is never too late to be a positive role model. And if you were fortunate enough, as I was, to have grown-up with the benefit of delicious home-cooked meals and a sound appreciation for fresh, healthy foods, then thank your Mom for teaching you well.
So this Mother’s Day, have a succulent meal with your family; eat slowly, enjoy, connect. Remember, your children are always watching.
Are there any childhood habits that you still carry with you today?