How to Talk to Your Kids About Food

As if we weren’t already tasked with teaching our kids literally everything else in the world, it’s our job as parents to instill healthy eating habits that will shape their relationship with food for the rest of their lives. Oh, and do all that without giving them any weird food hang-ups or body-image issues. No pressure!

In all seriousness, the way you talk to your kids about food and nutrition can have a lasting impact on their health. With the right approach, you can help them build a healthy body image and develop a positive relationship with food — and maybe even sidestep some of the psychological challenges that can make it so hard to lose weight as an adult.

If you don’t know where to start, Ultimate Portion Fix will help you and your whole family establish healthy eating habits for life. This nutrition program from Autumn Calabrese includes the FIXATE Vol. 2 Cookbook, a PDF of 75 Healthy Lunch Ideas for kids, and much more. Here are a few helpful tips for talking to your kids about food:

How to Talk to Your Kids About Food & Nutrition

Focus on health, not weight

The childhood obesity rate has tripled over the past 40 years, so it makes sense that you might stress about keeping your kids healthy — especially if you’ve struggled with your own weight.

But research suggests that focusing on weight rather than health is more likely to lead to unhealthy dieting habits down the road.

So when you’re talking to your kids about nutrition, try to leave weight out of the conversation, and focus on all the ways food can help their brain and body work better.

Let them dictate portion sizes

It may be hard to believe when you just watched your kid dip spaghetti in ketchup or eat a cold hot dog, but kids actually tend to be more intuitive eaters than adults — and they’re good (sometimes annoyingly so) at stopping when they’re full.