by Doris Jucht

Are parents at fault when children don’t make good food choices? Not necessarily, but still it’s their responsibility to act on it. Genetically speaking, our bodies are all different and unique. Each of us has a specific metabolism and body type. It is our responsibility to understand how our body works and what works best for it.

Now, when it comes to our children’s food choices—from the very first day they’re born, but not for too long—we as parents are the only ones to make those choices for them. How can parents make those choices wisely? Well, the first thing parents need to ask themselves is what kind of food choices are they making for their own health.

When we choose to start a family, it is essential to understand that food intake is a family matter, even though each family member is also an independent individual. Yes, I am the one that decides what I eat, but when I have kids, my decision becomes an example for them, a model to follow, a behavior to replicate. In other words, parents’ actions are subliminal instructions that kids will input in their subconscious minds in an almost permanent way, especially during the first seven years of age.

Babies come to this world with only two kinds of communication tools: the ones to show comfort and the ones to show discomfort. That’s it. And indeed, they already have their preferences set, but in terms of food, there are many healthy options to present to them so they can learn and understand, little by little, which ones are best for their bodies while still meeting their taste preferences. One could say, since each body is different, what is good for me might not be good for my children. And that’s a fact, but…what is not good for me, because it’s scientifically proven that it will harm my body, is not good for them either.

Nowadays, due to the characteristics of the information age we live in, one can say that the overabundance of easily shareable and accessible information out there actually makes it harder to distinguish between what is “truthful” and what is not. In terms of food intake, however, the combination of previous knowledge with a little research, intuition and common sense can become a working formula to determine what constitutes healthy food. Also, it is essential to take into consideration that most of the negative consequences of certain foods don’t take long in becoming apparent or manifesting themselves in our body through some type of discomfort.

Another critical element to take into consideration in family dynamics is the decision making process involved. If all adults in the family achieve open communication among them in terms of food choices for the sake of all family members, it then becomes easier to meet the goal of healthy living. Communication is vital not only in terms of food, but in every single aspect of human relationships. Open, honest and straightforward communication clears the path to achieve the best collective interest. Only that level of quality in communication allows all family members’ opinions to be validated while still finding favorable resolutions for the benefit of all.

Remember too, the healthy food selection process can become fun for kids if presented to them in an original and entertaining way. After all, each food ingredient has a color, texture, smell and shape that can be a starting point to creating fun and educational games to play. It’s a matter of being willing and creative. As parents, we often think that toys or elaborate devices are required to play with our kids or to entertain them. However, our surroundings have plenty of elements to play with while delivering an important positive message. As parents, we are constantly communicating messages to our children—both actively and passively. Let us be conscious of the content of the messages we want our kids to receive. And let’s understand that the best way to ensure that those messages are clear and positive is to be fully present and conscious at the very moment we are about to deliver them so we can consistently ensure that they effectively carry our true intentions of love and care.

Life Coach Doris Jucht brings nearly 20 years of experience assisting clients in working through some of their most challenging moments in life. Together, in a safe space, she is able to help her clients by deeply understanding what is troubling them and providing beneficial feedback and guidance. For more information and appointments, call 305-332-5832, email [email protected] or visit LifeCoachDoris.com.