HOW TO GET YOUR FAMILY SUPPORTING A CHANGE TO ADDITIVE FREE FOOD – PART 2

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In response to a reader request for help, I have written a three part series on how to get your family supporting a change to additive free foods.  Part 1 of this blog series outlined all the information you need to know before approaching your family.  Now it’s time to start talking to your kids and partner about the change to additive free living.  This blog – Part 2 – will look at how you actually share your new found knowledge with your kids and outline some strategies best used when informing kids about the change they’re about to embark upon.

7 TIPS FOR GETTING YOUR KIDS TO SUPPORT A CHANGE TO ADDITIVE FREE FOOD 

1. Empower them

The key to getting children to eat healthy chemical free food is getting them involved! Excluding them in the decision making process and becoming a ‘dictator of foods’ is a sure fire way to get the kids to refuse to eat…. The more kids feel involved, informed and in control of their own decisions (ie have the power), the more they’ll participate and succeed.  So include them in your plans to change – every step of the way.  How do you start empowering them? By informing them….

2. Start their food education and awareness

  • Help your kids become aware of and prepared for the emotional roller coaster of change – from the initial fear right through to the highs and lows along the journey
  • Increase their awareness of the physical and emotional effects of additives
  • Highlight the power of the eating habits we all develop
  • Educate them on the need to start breaking the cycle/pattern of ‘addiction’

Here’s where you can use the information from Part 1 of this blog series.  Be sure it is all in kid speak so they’ll get it… depending on their age, this mostly means changing the words you use and/or using illustrations and examples for those not as ready for big words. I have a lot more tips on this area below as there are a gazillion ways to do this! (see Step 7)

3. Outline the expectations and time frames

Outline the time it may take and stages they’ll go through with this process of change (detox, refine, maintain, calm new lifestyle), discuss the expectations you have of them and ask them what they expect of you during the change.  If you need help here, revisit the information in the last blog about how long the process of change may take, and what to expect when detoxing.

4. Keep it real

Life will still be fun and will go on! Take the emphasis off the common fear reaction which tends to blow things out of proportion (especially when enhanced by additives yet to be detoxed).  Remind them it’s for a good reason and there’ll be lots of fun, great food and good feelings along the way and there will be an awesome end result.  To make it real, give examples of the fun things they’ll do and eat – growing, cooking, tasting and trying new foods, etc.  Check out our collection of recipes on TFW website or Pinterest for recipe ideas.

5. Focus on the positives

The glass is half full!  Keep the focus on the positives about why you are going additive free.  The alternative – staying the same – is worse than the results you’ll get from such a positive change…  Be their motivator and strength – which means looking after you and ‘re-juicing’ your energy so you’re able to give them your best. Take care of and be kind to you, so you can pass on the loving to your kidlets…. So important!

6.     Start small

If there’s still a lot of reluctance, revisit your goal setting points and what ‘level’ of additive free you are wanting to start with…. Maybe small steps are required as a starting point.  Discuss with your kids and pick one thing you know you want to eliminate in their daily eating plan.  Or pick a meal (breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea) that is going to be the additive free meal for each day and do it for a week or two as a start point.  This will help ease the kids into the idea, start decreasing the chemical cocktail they’re consuming and slowly decrease the fear of change and new tastes.  Oh! And don’t forget to make it fun!

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Using theatrics will help keep your kids interested when talking to them about the effects of additives

7.  Remember they’re kids

Using your new found knowledge to increase your kids awareness of the benefits of going additive free is only going to work if you know how to actually explain it so they get it (and so they don’t yawn or give that vacant look of inattention).  Here are some tips:

  • This information is best discussed when your kids are happy to sit and talk without distractions (perhaps during lunch time or dinner time when they are already seated and open to a chat)
  • Start with letting them know what you are talking about and why before launching into the full on details
  • Go through the key points, keep it simple, in words they can understand, but don’t under estimate how clever they really are!  From a very young age, my kids have been able to tell the difference between pure food and ingredients that aren’t really food, and the bigger the words I used (with explanations), the more they used those big words :-)
  • Use real life examples of fam6when you have felt the effects of additives or when you’ve noticed your kids showing the effects of additives (eg: how you noticed them on the toilet with a sore tummy after eating too many lollies at their friend’s birthday party).  Using these examples can help to highlight the link between food and moods/ behaviour/ physical symptoms.  Be sure to avoid using words that lay blame – try not to create a situation where your kids feel as if you’re pointing a finger at them for ‘bad’ behaviour.  The best way to avoid the blame game or guilty feelings is to use an example of when you felt horrible after eating something and say how you felt – physically and mentally/emotionally.  It will help give your kids something to relate to and feel safe to express or recognise their experiences. Younger kids in particular usually like to agree that something similar happened to them if they hear the ‘story’ from their parents first.
  • Kids are really visual and hands on, so to help teach your kids, try drawing pictures, try using your hands and body, be dramatic and over the top – make it fun and get them involved in the ‘theatrics’ of acting out this information too.  e.g.: act out the ‘roller coaster’ of feelings caused by additives with your hands or whole body, or act out the feelings additives can cause (hyperactive, sad, angry, etc) (kids get a kick out of seeing mum or dad throw a tantrum :-))
  • Get the kids to see the labels on different packages – make it a game and see if they can find it on their own favourite foods, see who can pronounce the names of additives/ingredients, read the numbers, etc

Following these suggestions will help get your kids behind the positive change to additive free foods.  Give them a try and let me know how they worked for you and your family!

What’s the next step? Getting the adults in your family on board too! Stay tuned for Part 3 of this blog series for all the tips and hints to inform, prepare and empower the adults in your family.

Got any questions or comments?  Click here to drop me a line, on Facebook or by email.  I’m here to help!

Loren x