Leave A Comment For Your Free Copy of ‘Eat With Joy’

I have a guest post at Amy Julia Becker‘s lovely blog, Thin Places. Amy Julia is also graciously hosting a giveaway, so if you head over to her blog and leave a comment, you’ll be entered to win a free copy of Eat With Joythe kind made out of paper!

Amy Julia asked me to write on something related to eating with joy with children–and that’s just what I did, starting with my first pregnancy with my now seven-year-old son, Aidan:

Since my early teens I’d viewed food as a dangerous temptation: fresh bread with butter, plates of pasta marinara, and squares of quality chocolate conspired to make me fat and unhealthy. For years I thought of myself as “healthy” for getting by on apples and Diet Coke much of the time. If food was delicious, it could only be a trap. If I craved something, or overate, I berated myself for my selfishness. In my warped way of thinking, this “discipline” pleased God.

[…]

Our culture, so radical in its individualism, had taught me, implicitly and explicitly, that my body was my own; that no one had a claim on it but me, and, also, that it was infinitely malleable. The discourse around pregnancy had other claims: not only should I be eating a perfect diet to optimize my child’s health and intelligence, I should be taking prenatal vitamins and practicing prenatal yoga. At the same time, in the pregnancy magazines at the doctor’s office, I was seeing advertisements for “getting my body back” once the pregnancy was over and for nursing tank tops that promised to conceal my “baby belly” after delivery. I felt I was receiving conflicting messages: the first being that my baby’s well-being was entirely dependent upon my eating and exercise; the second, that my body was mine, and that I should take measures to keep it that way, or at least, to conceal its pregnancy-inflicted flaws.

It goes on to talk about how I learned to accept food as God’s good gift, and how, imperfectly, of course, I try to teach my children to accept food similarly.

Go to Amy Julia’s blog, read the rest of the post, and leave a comment for your free copy of Eat With Joy: Redeeming God’s Gift of Food.

Teaching Children about the Bread of Life

I had a question from a reader last week that I wanted to share with you:

“How you have trained your children to appreciate the table and to see food as more than just physical sustenance?”

And here is my response–

I think the most important thing with my kids has been more “show, don’t tell.” It’s important to me that we say grace over a meal, thanking God for it, that we set the table decently even if we’re just eating pizza (we live in NY, after all! Pizza is artisanal, heavenly food around here!), that we wait for one another to begin eating, etc.

I do ask that they don’t say “that’s disgusting!” or similar things about food–it’s important that they recognize that while it’s OK to dislike a food and choose not to eat it, it’s not OK to proclaim it “bad.” And I try not to micro-manage what they eat or don’t eat (from the pre-selected group of things that might be on the table or available for snack.) One of my kids has extremely adventurous tastes, the other is fairly picky. I try to respect that.
The other side of that is that they help us with the gardening (to the extent that they can–they’re little) and so they have respect for the food that comes from the earth and from tiny, little seeds. They know that sun, soil, water, careful gardening, and, ultimately, God, makes food come from the ground.


I wrote more about feeding kids in the following posts–Eating with Children, Ellyn Satter, and What Chefs Feed Their Kids.

What about you? What has/hasn’t worked as you’ve endeavored to eat mindfully and well with children?