So often, the first words I hear from a child’s mouth when they’re presented with a new food are, ‘I don’t like it.’ And we respond to it because the narrative of not liking something has been started….
Good news: we can change that! Since kids imitate everything we do, if we can conciously change the way we look at foods so that our first thought about a food is positive, it can help kids be more positive, too!
Positive thinking has been shown to encourage healthy food choices and thinking positively about food, thinking about what we want to put into our bodies rather than what we shouldn’t, has been linked to health gains.
Food play is about becoming comfortable with foods by creating positive experiences with food. The way we talk about food and think about food are part big parts of this positive experience. A great way to start thinking positively about food is by finding something beautiful about it.
It is amazing how a subtle shift in our thoughts can change our outlook, our behavior and our effect on others. Start creating this shift by reframing any negative thoughts or comments you notice either to yourself or out loud.
For example, a child could say ‘tomatoes are yucky,’ and I could reframe that and say ‘tomatoes do have a lot of juice inside; what a plump, beautiful tomato!’ or a child might say, ‘I don’t like zucchini,’ and I could say, ‘Ok, but what a beautiful color green. This zucchini looks speckled. How many beautiful greens do you see? What should we make out of this beautiful zucchini?’
As we practice anything our brains become stronger to support the new activity. We actually create pathways in our brains. I hope you enjoy fostering positive language around food this week and noticing the difference in yourself and those around you.
Happy food play!