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Worried about DD relationship with food.....

(5 Posts)
cordyroy Mon 10-Mar-14 23:22:38

Would love some ideas on how to get my DD (13) a bit more active and making better food choices. She doesn't have a great approach to food and I'm worried that she is developing bad habits with her eating. I don't want to exacerbate the problem by making a big deal about it but am concerned.

I don't have the best self control with food and have battled with my weight for years, with that in mind don't buy junk food or keep it in the house. We mainly have home cooked food but do still have treats occasionally. Now that she is at secondary school and has freedom to go to shops on her own I feel that I don't have much input over her choices. I regularly find sweet/choc wrappers in her room - she takes a packed lunch to school but uses her own money (xmas/birthday or occasional cash from GM). She is on a school trip tomorrow and I had bought some treats for her packed lunch/dinner, when I went to say goodnight I found she had eaten the chocolate and cake meant for her day out tomorrow!

Sorry long and waffly!

ParsleyTheLioness Tue 11-Mar-14 07:00:55

Have struggled with similar, but not found a 'perfect' solution. DD has started to become more active from her own accord when she was about 14/15 IIRC. I try not to make an issue about food, but have fruit/low fat yoghurt etc in the fridge. I eat quite healthily, mainly, but a bit too much of it. I gave up trying to get her to eat healthy bread etc, I just try and counterbalance it by giving her fruit etc, and when she has cheese on toast etc (made by her occasionally in preference to a sensible meal) make sure she has a few cherry tomatoes with it, etc. She is a healthy weight now, btw, having been a bit chubby before.

cordyroy Tue 11-Mar-14 08:01:52

Thanks Parsley - likewise I'm a relatively healthy eater but useless with portions! I don't want to harass her about food but it's the secret eating that is giving me most concern. Our fridge tends to be stocked with the sort of food you are suggesting so I don't think I can change too much at home. She quite enjoys cooking but tends to lean toward baking cakes and then eating the vast majority of them herself!

We do have general conversations about food/healthy diets without it being about her personally and she is quite clued up about nutrition. I really hope she will start to make better choices of her own accord as I don't want this to become a big issue. I have tried getting her to come walking with me but get a less than enthusiastic response!

beelights Tue 11-Mar-14 09:12:42

Hello Cordyroy,

I spent my teens eating in secret and had food difficulties into adulthood. BUT - the secret eating was as a result of parental pressure and comments. Well-intentioned 'mother and daughter' diets made things even worse. I have since spent a while working on food for myself and others. I can't speak for your specific situation, but I do have a 16 year-old daughter and have watched how things worked for her. So, with hindsight and present experience I would say this: - any anxiety on your part may translate to her and create tension around food, especially as we have less say in their food choices as they get older - in my experience (both my teens) eat junk in their rooms and if you don't buy it for them they will buy their own - the more 'cool' you are about food the more likely they will make better choices for themselves, even though you might have to bite your tongue for a year or two. One thing I can say, girls are their own harshest critics as they move into mid/late teens when watching what they eat rears its head - try to keep commentary about food neutral and point it at the food and her body, not her. For example, 'Your body is going to be feeling speedy after that chocolate'. I know it sounds weird but if you divorce the food and its impact from her as a person or her appearance and place on its physiological effects, she can see it in terms of its impact on how her body works, which is more neutral. This really helps in the long-run (a few years down the line she can make the connections between mood changes and sugar, lethargy and super-noodles etc!) - a family routine of good healthy food as the stable background really helps. I think kids default to what they know and what we model so even when she does have junk don't despair, she will know where her compass points north (if that makes sense) - sit down with her and ask her what she would like to eat if she could have anything in the house for snacks but what you might call healthy. So for example, my daughter said pistachios, water melon, V8, gherkins, sushi... Once she got going she realised she could actually make quite a long list of things that were not total junk. I am on a tight budget but can get one or two of her choices for her each week.

I hope this helps. For me there have been periods where I had to sit on my hands and keep my mouth shut to stop me panicking and trying to control my kids. When I gave my opinion and made it clear I trusted them to do what was best for them it seemed to work out better. Homework though, that's another story and I have still failed to sit on my hands and stop the panic there lol.

Best wishes ~

cordyroy Tue 11-Mar-14 09:26:35

Hi Beelights, thanks so much for your perspective.

I am so conscious of not making a big deal about it and don't want to create insecurities for DD about her appearance, she is a gorgeous girl and atm is a healthy weight. I worry for the health side and her self esteem as she will gain too much weight if she keeps eating like this, she is also terrible with looking after her teeth which drives me nuts!

I like the compass reference and see the wisdom in that, will also involve her in the snack collection. It is so hard to take a step back from pre teen parenting style and to accept that you don't have the option of making the choices for them!

Good luck with the homework! :-)


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