Hands up! Who has bribed themselves with food as a reward for doing something great?
So many times, we hear about ‘dangling carrots’ and rewarding ourselves with treats for good behaviour. What we’re not realising is that those treats are more toxic than we realise.
We spoke to a few mums and they shared their stories
Jessica, mum of three
“I have vivid memories of getting a job done, and that could be anything from hanging the washing or mopping the floor to finally getting my twin toddlers to sleep during the day, and I would sit down with a cuppa and a biscuit. I would actively say to myself, ‘I will get this done then I can have a bikkie’. I would then complete the next task, grabbing another sugary snack upon completion. Then it was lunchtime. I might not have been hungry for lunch, but it was time for it and then I’d be seated with my toddlers, all eating lunch together. By the end of the day, I had eaten more than my fill which led to weight gain and a very unhealthy relationship with food.”
The under eater
Samantha, mum of four
Likewise, on the above, this can go in the opposite direction. You might have so much on your to-do list that you dangle meals over snacks, not eating nearly enough throughout the day which ironically leads to weight gain and a very unhealthy relationship with food – a cycle very familiar to many. Samantha shares her story.
“I was always busy. Buzzing about the house with so much to do. Or so I thought with two kids – until I had the third and fourth! I kept myself going, almost running on empty, telling myself I would eat once I got X, Y and, Z done. But I barely ever got to Z, distracted with the next task and before I knew it, I was going to bed on little more than a couple of bites leftover from the dinner plates of my children and a very grumbly, barely functional but still large tummy.”
The habitual handover
Tanya Nagy wrote a great article about why we should eat like toddlers, explaining that toddlers don’t have the need for a food currency, this is a learned behaviour. When we start treating ourselves in this way, our children see that behaviour and mimic it. Suddenly, they’re thinking about time, rewards and ‘treats’ become food. The bottom line is, treats should look very different and most of the time, not edible.
Tanya has developed a few food language swaps for us all to help not only our children but ourselves become less dependent on food rewards, have a better relationship with food, and be kinder to our bodies.
A special thanks to the mums who shared their stories. Names changed for privacy reasons.
Care for Kids is excited to invite Tanya to our panel of experts, sharing recipes, up-to-date information and her extensive knowledge around all things parenting, nutrition and keeping us creating beautiful food with minimal fuss!