Here we are at the second week of January and if you're like me, diet and exercise are at the forefront of your mind. As parents, we want to eat well and stay fit to live a long and healthy life, but we want that for our kids as well. How do we teach them to do that? How do we help them form healthy habits while they're young to hopefully avoid a lifelong struggle with diet and exercise? In our world where there's an abundance of sweets to eat and screens to sit in front of, it's tough!
I've been a registered dietitian for over 20 years and during that time, I've become a big fan of the concept of food neutrality, especially when it comes to raising kids. What is food neutrality? In a nutshell, it is the idea that food holds no moral value.
Food neutrality is using language and behavior to promote neutral perspectives on food, rather than assigning them a (+) or (-) moral value. No, foods are not nutritionally the same, but they should be morally the same. It is my belief that being food neutral with kids sets them up for life-long physical health and weight management as well as mental health and a positive relationship with food.
Read more about food neutrality from Riley Peterson, RD at raisingbodypositivekids.com
Read more from Sarah Remmer, RD: What is Food Neutrality, and Why is it Important for your Child?
Therefore, at Itty Bitty Bakers, I've asked our teachers to be as food neutral as possible; to avoid the words "healthy", "unhealthy", "junk food", "diet" or "bad". While learning valuable kitchen skills, we hope to inspire kids to try new foods and flavors and see that food is to be enjoyed, not feared.
Read more from Kate Shepherd, RD: 5 Ways to go Food Neutral at the Dinner Table
Read more about food neutrality in school classrooms at dietitians4teachers.ca
When I first started out as a dietitian the motto of the day was, "All foods can fit into a diet when eaten in moderation." Fast forward to 20 years later, and we have advanced to the concept of food neutrality. I love both ideas and hope you'll get on board with me with these mindsets.
Looking forward to a great year of baking with your kids!
Jessica Hamby, Founder