I frequently blog about what to eat. Something equally important is how to eat. Eating in front of the television, while standing up, or while multitasking in some other form sends the wrong message to our bodies regarding digestion. Digestion best occurs in a relaxed state when the food can be completely broken down both mechanically and chemically. In our fast paced, technologically focused world we’ve forgotten how to slow down enough to share a meal with loved ones and in the process the wrong message is being sent to our children in the process.
I see many new moms devoting much focus, not only to their own nutrition , but also to what they are feeding their babies. They are carefully selecting organic foods and being diligent about providing balanced meals. However, other new parents make a huge error feeding their children “first”, and oftentimes a different meal than the parents eat themselves. For some, this routine doesn’t gradually change from babyhood to childhood, and the parents continue to make two meals- one for the child and one for themselves- while eating at different times. It is a huge disservice to our kids, sending the message that eating should be frenzied and fractured, or even worse, that our adult food isn’t appropriate or good for them, or it is something that they won’t enjoy !
I highly encourage families to eat together as early as possible, which helps develop a positive food culture in the family. As soon as my daughter could sit in a high chair, she has been a part of our dining experience. She watches us prepare the meal and then we share the meal together at the table. She may not always like what we are eating, but she tastes and gains exposure to everything. I believe this will not only develop her palate to be open to colors, textures, and flavors, but also provide the framework for her future relationship with food as something to be savored, enjoyed and shared.