Conscious Parenting with Meg Brown: 5 Ways to Boost Your Child’s Self-Esteem with Mindful Eating
At Body Ecology, our mission is to improve the health and happiness of adults and children. Along the way, we discovered Meg Brown, former corporate executive, single mom of two adopted boys and Body Ecology follower. Meg’s focus on empowering parents to create healthy, happy families is what inspired this Conscious Parenting column. You can follow Meg’s series, “Resolve to be Conscious in 2009” at www.ConsciousFamilyJournal.com
Anyone parenting today has heard a lot about self-esteem.
Put simply, self-esteem means holding yourself in high regard. It’s self-esteem that helps children handle conflicts, resist negative influences and quite possibly, have happier, healthier lives.1
So as conscious parents, how can we positively influence our children’s self-esteem?
Cultivating A Healthy Self-Esteem
Building and maintaining healthy self-esteem is a lifelong journey.
You can help your child along that path by consistently offering experiences of belonging, learning and contributing, such as:2
- Find ways to help your child feel like she belongs within the family.
- Help him develop a sense of competence – a deep-seated belief that he can learn to be successful.
- Teach them that they can contribute to the family’s welfare in a worthwhile way.
When I was eleven, my mother began to teach me how to sew my own clothes and cook dinner for our family. (As the oldest of nine, I also learned how to change dirty diapers. Talk about contributing.)
A few years later, my father taught me how to hammer a nail and wield an electric drill without hurting anyone.
My life has never depended on my skill with a hammer or a sewing machine, but the gift from my parents has been enormous: I trust in my capacity to learn and contribute.
With instruction and a reasonable amount of effort, I know that I can do anything.
Have You Fed Your Child’s Self-Esteem Today?
So last week, I was at a restaurant with my kids and it came time for them to choose something from the menu. As a parent who wants her kids to be healthy, I had an inner struggle: do I tell them to order the healthiest food on the menu or do I let them have fun and choose for themselves?
The thing is, letting kids make their own choices is a great way to build their trust in themselves. I realized that if I want my kids to be healthy and follow a Body Ecology lifestyle, I could build their self-esteem by teaching them how to make their own healthy eating choices.
Teaching kids to make healthy food choices is not as simple as making choo choo noises while maneuvering a spoonful of strained peas closer and closer to the mouth of a two-year-old.
We’re talking about empowering our children with the knowledge, skill and competence that will make healthy eating a lifelong practice.
Done as a team, with love and patience, preparing meals for the family supports all three pillars of self-esteem: Belonging, learning and contributing.
5 Ways to Boost Your Child’s Self-Esteem with Body Ecology & Mindful Eating
Here are five ways to empower your kids to make healthy, mindful food choices:
- Take your child to the supermarket or health food store.
Teach them to read nutrition labels on food, select the freshest organic produce and weigh out your bulk Body Ecology grains. It is much easier to wean your children off processed foods), if they know about trans fats and can find all the different names for sugar on an ingredients list.
Kids love helping in the kitchen. How about baking a treat that is healthy AND delicious? Next time you are baking with your kids, teach them about Lakanto, the closest natural sweetener to sugar EVER in terms of its taste and its versatility … but NOT in terms of the risks it poses to your health! Treat yourself and your kids with Lakanto.
- Make some healthy (and yummy!) Body Ecology foods and drinks together.
- Sharing a healthy dinner has more than just health benefits for your kids.
Let your child select a recipe that looks interesting and go for it. Winter is the perfect time for comfort foods that are good for you too, like Curried Indian Potato and Cauliflower or Red Bell Peppers Stuffed with Millet.
- Try out a new kitchen gadget.
Kids love anything that requires hands-on chopping and dicing. Maybe it’s time for a spiffy new food processor so that your cultured veggie making is easy, quick and fun or a blender for making delicious, blended soups, like Claire’s Creamy Curried Carrot and Cauliflower Soup.
- Teach your children about mindful eating.
Make your meal preparations a labor of love and enjoy every moment of it, especially if you are preparing food together as a family. And if you are eating out at a restaurant, teach them to choose what will make them feel their best. Healthy eating is about feeling good, but it doesn’t have to turn into another “should” or rule that kids have to worry about.Mindful eating is about taking your time and enjoying your meal. Instead of digging right in and eating quickly, see how it feels to bless your food and your family. Eat slowly, savor the flavor and give thanks.
- “Developing Your Child’s Self-Esteem,” KidsHealth, The Nemours Foundation.
- Curtis, Jeannette, “Growth and development: Helping your child build self-esteem,” WebMD. http://children.webmd.com/guide/helping-your-child-develop-healthy-self-esteem