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How does family affect our relationship with food?

CEBU CITY, Philippines — When eating healthy food, according to research and a nutritionist, the family has a significant role to play.

Food and family

The family affects one’s relationship with food, according to Jo Sebastian, a content creator and registered nutritionist-dietitian in Quezon City.

“Because it (the family) shapes your relationship with food. As you grow old, the messages that you hear from your family, the way that your family eats, their relationship with food, it will connect with you,” Sebastian said.

Jo Sebastian is a licensed nutritionist-dietitian in Quezon City. She is also a content creator producing contents related mainly with food and nutrition. | File photo from Jo Sebastian/Instagram

“If hindi kumakain ng gulay, let’s say your parents, they don’t eat vegetables, but they tell you to eat vegetables. It’s not really good to be something that you’re gonna want to do,” she added.

The child may ask, “Bakit ako kailangan pero ikaw, hindi?”

In other words, she said that the family affects one’s relationship with food by shaping one’s beliefs around food and shaping the foods around oneself.

“Because you will get used to foods that you often see, ‘yun ang magugustuhan mo, and the habits that you also take as well,” she added.

Moreover, she said that the environment is a huge factor in influencing one’s relationship with food.

“If your environment is very restrictive or parang maraming ganap in terms of trauma (in food),”  she said.

She added that this can show up talaga with the person’s nutrition and person’s struggles until they are older.

Parents should set a ‘safe space’

In terms of the notion that in order for the children to eat food, parents should set an example, Sebastian believed it should be a ‘safe space’ rather than ‘example.’

She said that it does not necessarily ‘set an example’ but ‘set a safe space’

“Kasi, I think it’s also one of the feature[s] in general [for] parents to be an example when they have to work on their relationship with food first,” she said.

Parents in setting an example

For two mothers interviewed by CDN Digital, they believe that parents should set as an example to their children when dealing with food.

Cykie Panton, a mother of two, said that parents should eat vegetables so their kids would follow.

Meanwhile, Roselyn Calixtro said that she also eats vegetables because she believes mothers should be model to their kids.

READ: How do you make your kids eat vegetables? These moms share their tips

Family influences our relationship with food

According to Christine Peat a licensed psychologist and director of the National Center of Excellence for Eating Disorders at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, the family has to be flexible in their approach to food.

And in order for the children to adapt to a healthy eating habit, families are encouraged to eat together every meal.

Meanwhile, to those who do not have this family routine, Peat said that it is better for the families to start such; but if the schedule seems difficult to match, recommending the foods that are good for the family would do.

Additionally, research also says that eating meals with family can less likely develop eating disorders like bulimia.

With this, family should foster a healthy environment towards relationship with food because this cannot only promote a healthy eating habit to children but also boost their self-esteem.



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