What better time to evaluate your family’s relationship with food than during holidays, when food is everywhere and stress is high. Also, many of us are around family and that can bring up old wounds. Grandma insists little Joey eats everything and it brings back memories of having to do so yourself.
The key is to watch, take notes, and develop a plan. To get rolling, here are 5 food-related questions to ask yourself this holiday season.
How does my eating change?
First is to consider how you deal with food during the holidays. Some people go off eating and exercise plans, because of the lack of time and availability of food. Others may be anxious about indulgent food interfering with their healthy eating, so they often decline party invitations. And all the stress may mean more eating to get through it all.
In each of these cases, balance is missing. If you want to go off a plan, it may not be much fun or flexible. If you are anxious about food, maybe it’s time to mindfully eat foods that scare you most (you might decide you don’t really want them). And if you are sensitive to holiday stress, try making a plan to lower that stress and find positive ways to deal with it.
Are family meals the first thing to go?
Once the season gets rolling, do family meals go down the toilet? If so, it may mean they need work to be more rewarding for everyone. Maybe you really don’t enjoy them or have never gotten into a groove. Either way, this may be the perfect thing to work on after the first of the year.
How do my children act around all this indulgent food?
If you already dread all the sweets your child will be eating, it could be a sign this is an area that needs a attention. You notice the more they eat, the more they want. Maybe they start nagging you for food constantly. Or you’re already worried they are gaining more weight than you’d like.
Often, this is a sign of too much leniency with sweets or too much tight control. Look for that middle ground and develop a system or plan that works for your family.
How do the dinners at others’ houses go?
Some parents dread the parties and dinners because kids freak out at “different “food. Your child comes back with an empty plate saying “I can’t eat any of this.”
This is a sign a child is uncomfortable around unfamiliar food. What a great time to up the exposure with family-style meals and coach your child before parties. Just avoid being their safe person by solving the problem for them (immediately making that grilled cheese when you get home) or pressuring them so much they lose their appetite and confidence.
Is my tween or teen too healthy?
You might notice tweens turning down sweets or grabbing lots of veggies and protein. This sounds great but you want to check into why they are doing it. Is it because a girl doesn’t like the fact she’s gained during puberty? Maybe it’s a boy who learned that protein will finally give him muscles.
This may mean it’s time to discuss the body changes during puberty, including what they can and cannot control. If they are attempting to change their body using food, their relationship with food is at risk big time. Plus, dieting ups their risk for eating disorders.
Take notes and keep learning
Keep a journal and note what you noticed and tried. So next year you can start earlier and keep making progress.
If you want to learn more about what disrupts a healthy relationship with food in the first place, read my free e-book by The Landmines of a Healthy Relationship with Food. You will not only get introductory information on this important subject, but you’ll also become a subscriber with the ability to customize emails to meet your family where you are now.
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