“That’s bad for you”
“You’ve been naughty today, you ate so much chips at the party”
“I feel so guilty for eating that fudge cake the other day”
Everyone has probably said something like that, whether it is to children, or to friends. However, have you thought of how such labeling could impact on your child’s diet?
What happens when foods are labeled as ‘Bad’?
- You crave them more
You’d probably be more likely to press a button that says ‘DO NOT PRESS’, let alone your curious kids
- Kids develop ‘Food Guilt’
They’ll think they are bad/naughty for eating a ‘bad’ food, creating anxiety or pressure.
- Kids become afraid of certain foods
This creates anxiety and a negative relationship with food.
- Kids judge others on what they eat
Thinking that a friend is not as ‘good’ because they had choc chip biscuits for snack instead of an apple.
- Food is neutral
You are not bad for eating chips and not better than the person next to you for eating a salad
- Too much of anything can be unhealthy for children
Fruit is nutritious, but everything in moderation. Too much of a ‘good’ thing may also be unhealthy.
- Packaging can be misleading
Vegetables are often classified as ‘good’, but does that mean kale chips covered in sugar, salt and palm oil is healthy?
Check out what The Nutrition Guru and the Chef said.
What should you say & do instead?
- Say that they are a “sometimes” or “once in a while” food
- Emphasise the positive/good
- Teach kids to have a balanced diet, not one that is skewed towards a certain group of foods. This removes the concept that some foods are forbidden, allowing kids to happily enjoy their ice cream, while understanding that veggies are also important.