Raising Healthy Families with Moms Meet and KIWI

Establishing Healthy Eating Habits for Your Kids with Plant-Based Pediatrician Dr. Yami

September 10, 2021 Moms Meet and KIWI magazine Season 1 Episode 5
Raising Healthy Families with Moms Meet and KIWI
Establishing Healthy Eating Habits for Your Kids with Plant-Based Pediatrician Dr. Yami
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

No veggies for me mom! If that sounds familiar, don’t miss our conversation with board-certified pediatrician, Dr. Yami. She shares her approach to intuitive eating for kids and gives you the tools to help your family establish healthy eating habits. Plus, learn how to encourage body positivity and why incorporating plant-based eating at an early age is important. 

Chrissy:

Welcome to raising healthy families with moms mean Kiwi. We're giving you the tools to enjoy the beauty and chaos of life with little ones in the healthiest way possible.

Eleanor King:

Hi everyone, I'm Eleanor, the Social Media Manager at mums me Do you struggle to get your kids to eat healthy? If you've been trying to establish healthy eating habits for your kids, you don't want to miss our conversation with board certified pediatrician Dr. Jani, she's sharing more about intuitive eating, how she approaches getting kids eat nutritious foods and her top lunch and snack pics. Plus, hear her advice on encouraging your kids body positivity and why incorporating plant based eating is so important. Hey, Mama, if you're feeling frustrated about mealtime battles, worried that your child isn't eating enough or enough vegetables, Dr. Yami wrote a book that might be for you. It's called a parent's guide to intuitive eating how to raise kids who love to eat healthy. In this book, you'll learn the five pillars of healthy eating, how to apply intuitive eating through all stages of development, lifestyle habits that support healthy eating and body image troubleshooting and problem solving for picky eating overeating and or dieting behaviors, how to create and foster a healthy body image in your children, and how exploring your own body image and relationship with food will help you raise an intuitive eater. a parent's guide to intuitive eating how to raise kids who love to eat healthy is available in paperback ebook and audio book through all major online booksellers. For more information visit www.dr yami.com slash book. Today we're joined by Dr. Yami, a Board Certified pediatrician, certified lifestyle medicine physician, National Board Certified health and wellness coach, author and professional speaker. She is the founder of veggie fit kids calm and the host of the podcast, veggie doctor radio. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the owner of nourish wellness, a pediatric micro practice and author of a parent's guide to intuitive eating, how to raise kids who love to eat healthy. Thank you so much for joining us today. Dr. Yami. Thank you so much, Eleanor. It's a pleasure to be here. I'm so excited to talk with you today. I feel like tackling mealtime can be one of those challenges that moms everywhere can relate to, regardless of how old their kids are, how picky their kids are. And of course during this time of year with back to school, and all of that it's so important to make sure our kids are getting all of the healthy foods with their lunches and snacks because especially when they're outside of our care as moms, you know, you want to make sure they're still getting all the things they need. So super excited to talk with you today. Me too. Um, so to start, can you tell us a little bit more about intuitive eating, and why this is a really great approach for kids?

Dr. Yami:

Yes, so intuitive eating is a concept and a term that was coined by two dieticians in the early 90s. But the concepts been around for longer than that. So it's Evelyn Tripoli, and Elise rash. And they came up with a set of principles, 10 principles that really rejects the diet mentality and embraces more of how our own body our own intuition can make food choices. And I took this concept and I wanted to apply it to children in a more simplified manner. Because the great news is the majority of kids are born intuitive eaters. So when we're born, we already know we seek food when we're hungry, and we stop when we're satisfied. However, by the time a child becomes a toddler, because we assume they should be eating a certain amount, parents start getting stressed out. And that's when we start to interfere with that intuitive eating. So in its most basic sense, as applied to children, the first thing I want parents to remember about intuitive eating is to honor a child's hunger and satiety. And from there, you know, doing things like helping children develop a positive body image and rejecting the diet culture and just being aware of that, and speaking to that with your children are other concepts that you can include, but the first and foremost is honoring that hunger and satiety.

Eleanor King:

Awesome. So when it comes to intuitive eating, what are some of the best ways we can I guess, teach our children? I know you said it's more natural when they're they're growing up. But as they get older, are there ways we can continue to encourage intuitive eating?

Dr. Yami:

Absolutely, because we're all at different stages. There are some children that are born intuitive eaters, and they are born into a family that is already filled with intuitive eaters and so they continue to live their lives that way. However, the majority of children are not born into a family of intuitive eaters because the majority of adults have unlearned intuitive eating. Instead, we do things like count calories, and weigh and measure our food and count macros and exclude certain foods because we think that they're bad foods. Because of that, we pass that down to our children. So first, if you have a brand new baby is a great Time for you and yourself to learn the principles of intuitive eating and start practicing it so that that child will grow up with it around them. And you can role model it. If you know that you are just like the rest of us in the United States in this westernized culture and have fallen into the diet, trap, or thinking of foods as bad and evil or good and those kinds of things, then you can start to relearn the principles and to help your children relearn the principles of intuitive eating. And one of the first things you can do as a parent, is to use Ellen Sanders division of responsibilities. And I love this because it really just makes it crystal clear what the parents role is, and what the child's role is. And it's a great place to start. So the job of the parent is to decide what, when and where. So it is up to the parent to decide what you're going to feed your child, you're in charge of the meal planning and the grocery shopping and the preparation of the food. And you are also in charge of creating a flexible schedule a flexible structure for them to eat within, you know, we eat usually breakfast, lunch, dinner, maybe a couple of snacks with three snacks, something like that. And usually, we like to be sitting down at a table or somewhere to eat in a, you know, calm, mindful manner. So that's the parents job is to set that in place. But then after the parent does those things, their job is done. Their autonomy for that is over. Now it crosses over to the child and the child decides if and how much of that food they're going to eat. You provide the food, you give it to the child, then the child is going to decide if and how much what happens usually is that As parents, we start to cross over into the child's autonomy and say, No, you need to eat more of that, or you're eating too much of that you can't eat this until you eat that this is better for you eat that instead of this. And then that's when it starts to get confusing for the child. So the very first thing is to practice that division of responsibilities, you're not going to be perfect at it, it's going to be hard at first, you're gonna have to bite your tongue and maybe go into the kitchen and grab something to take a few deep breaths. And you know, just practice that. But that's the very first step. Because if your child has been used to you either trying to force them to eat certain things, aka vegetables, or you have a larger body child, and you've been told that you need to restrict their food. So if that child is used to you restricting or taking the foods away, or telling them that some foods are bad for them are going to make them fat, then it is going to take a while for both of you to learn this rhythm and to trust each other and to trust yourself that I want the child to learn how to trust their own body, but you have to learn how to trust your own body. Firstly, you can teach that you can pass that down to your child.

Eleanor King:

Yeah, wow, that's a really interesting thing to think about in terms of like also talking about good food and bad food, which kind of leads into my next question. talking more about your approach to feeding kids. I mean, obviously, intuitive eating is a big part of that, but it on like a broader scale. Can you tell us a little more about that?

Dr. Yami:

Yes. So the most important concept to start with for parents I think is how to feed your child. Because the good news is the majority of us do have access to plenty of food and we feel secure in our environments. And so that's a great thing that's a privilege is an advantage that we have. So we can learn these concepts of feeding our child in a way that's loving, yet sets them up for good future habits like being an intuitive eater. However, as a physician, as health and wellness coach, lifestyle medicine, trained physician and a mom, I know that what we feed our children is also important. So it's important to learn these concepts of nutrition so that whenever we are doing that part of our job, which is deciding what to feed our kids, it's informed. It's an informed decision. And I feel like we, as a society are going to benefit from including more whole plant foods in our diet. It doesn't have to be all or nothing. I'm not trying to turn people into vegans or exclusive plant based eaters. But a latest journal study that came out in JAMA this week showed that children are now up to 67% of their calories from ultra processed foods. Wow, two thirds of their calories are coming from package ultra processed not even like minimally or moderately processed ultra processed foods. We know that that's not health promoting. So how can we start to shift some of those calories over into fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds, and it doesn't have to be all or nothing but I do want parents to be mindful of that when they design menus when they plan the meals for their families incorporate more of those whole plant foods? Why? Because whole plant foods are loaded with antioxidants. And we know that antioxidants are going to help us fight acute and chronic disease. I do care about chronic diseases as well. Because even though I take care of children who are by the most, you know, for the most part, very healthy, I know they're going to grow into adults someday, and my husband is an adult physician, and I know what he sees in the hospital. So I want to help decrease the risk of developing diabetes and heart disease and high blood pressure and high cholesterol on those things. And we can do that by setting up good habits in the beginning with eating more whole plant foods. The second big reason to eat more whole plant foods is fiber. So you only get fiber from whole plant foods, you're not getting it from animal products, or ultra processed foods. And fiber has so many reasons why it's health promoting for us. We're discovering everyday more things about the gut microbiome. And we know that those gut bugs that live in our digestive system, they thrive on fiber, not just Apple fiber helps us feel full. Everybody know it helps you go to the bathroom better. And it gives you that feeling of satiety. And there's more and more reasons why fiber is important. But those are the big two stars of whole plant foods, antioxidants and fiber that you only find in whole plant foods. And that's why I want parents to be mindful of including them. With the caveat of not of trying not to think of foods as evil and pure or good and bad. We just let's think of foods is how they can benefit us how they can help us feel how they can contribute to our well being and longevity and our long term health rather than demonizing certain foods or putting some foods on a pedestal.

Eleanor King:

Yeah, I mean, hat's something that I feel lik I've heard a couple of time too, with like talking abou good versus bad foods and all that. And especially in a c lture where like diet culture is so prevalent, it's so import nt to be able to teach our kids about healthy foods instead of like, This is bad. And this is good. But you know, the struggle as we kind of laughed about bef re is getting our kids to eat those vegetables. I know growing up as a kid myself, I was not ne of the vegetable friendly chi dren. So do you have any t ps or tricks for moms out there n how we can get our kids to e t our vegetables, especially if we have really picky eat rs or something like

Dr. Yami:

Yes, the very best way to help a child learn to like a certain food is by consistent and repeated exposure. You just have to keep preparing the vegetables, you have to keep offering the vegetables. But what usually happens is we make the vegetables, we offer it to the kid, the kid turns up their nose or makes a face or spits it out or whatever. And we're like, well, we're done with that vegetable. They hate broccoli forever. It's it's over. And then we never make it again. And so then it's like the self fulfilling prophecy right? We know that every human being on the planet learns to like the food that they grow up with. That's just the way it works. But the only way to learn to like food is if you have it presented to you. So our job is to take a deep breath. Like I said before, try not to get anxious or get our feelings hurt or take it personally, we cook the food we present the food and the child decides if and how much they want to eat of it. But over time, especially if we're not pushy about especially if we're not forcing them to eat a certain thing or certain amount of food, their repertoire will open. An 85% of parents of children between ages one and five, describe their child as a picky eater well, which means to me that this is a normal part of development. It's normal. So we don't need to be stressed about it. We don't need to be anxious about it. For the most part, as long as children have access to adequate calories during their meals and snacks. They're doing fine as far as growth and development. So parents, really I want them to just take a step back, take a deep breath, continue to stay in their lane. offer the vegetables offer a variety of vegetables, offer the vegetables prepared a different ways. But don't be tied to the outcome of your child having to eat a certain amount at each meal.

Eleanor King:

Perfect. I was just thinking of growing up my dad's way of getting me o get my vegetables he would s y if you don't eat your ve etables, you're gonna die. nd I would start sobbing at the table and like shoving broccol into my mouth

Dr. Yami:

I guess that's one way But you know, we don't have to se fear in order to help our chi dren eat vegetables. But you kno , I think especially my gen ration, that's kind of how we ere raised is like you know, you eat it or else you know you re gonna sit there until you eat it. But we've learned that may e that's not the best way for Many reasons because it's str ssful for everybody, it's str ssful for the parent, it's str ssful for the kid. And stu ies show, it's evidence bas d that the more we push, the les variety they eat, because it eads to fear that, Okay, I'm goi g to be forced to eat this thi g. So I'm going to keep wit drawing my sense of adv nture is actually going to shr nk around food. But we can do he opposite. It's just very cou terintuitive, you know?

Eleanor King:

Yeah, yeah. And so with, obviously, as we were t lking about before, with the amo nt of highly processed foods tha kids are eating these days, an kind of shifting, not neces arily fully plant based, but try ng to transition our kids into hose. But you said legumes and eans, stuff like that. Do you ha e any suggestions about how e can start to transition? What ages? And just kind of overal , why that's a really good s ep to take towards getting ou kids all the things that they

Dr. Yami:

Yes. So there is no wrong age to eat either fully, or predominantly plant based, you can start from the beginning. But it's also like I said, not wrong to not be 100% and do what you can when you can. So I want parents to start where they are evaluate? What are our meals and snacks looking like now? Where can I just start to add in more plant foods, because really the way our brains work, and the way our mindset works is it just seems more open and easy and less anxiety provoking. If we think about how we can add more food, rather than take stuff away. How can I add more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds into our meals and our snacks. That's the first place I want people to start. And then depending on where you are in that stage, if you're at the beginning, it's way easy, because your child hasn't become accustomed to a certain way of eating. If you have kids that are a little bit older, like middle school, high school, and they're used to eating just all ultra processed foods, it's going to be a little bit of an adjustment. But like I said, Don't start with I'm taking all this stuff away. And now we're just going to eat salads, you know, because everybody's gonna freak out and nobody's going to be happy. And we're all going to be crying and stressed. So how can we say maybe? is there is there places where we can add more just add in beans, like an example that I give to families is say you're making Hamburger Helper helper and you already putting meat in there into your pasta thing? Can you add some cooked lentils, this is a great way to put some fiber and I'm not even asking you to take the meat out. So things like that whenever you make tacos, super easy to add some roasted chickpeas or some lentils, refried beans, those kinds of things. I'm a bean pusher. So I always go to my examples. But with fruits and vegetables, it's even easier. So it's never wrong to think about ways that you can include more whole plant foods into the diet. But don't make it intimidating. Don't make it forceful. And just take it step by step.

Eleanor King:

Awesome. Yeah, and so plant based diets, with ids like growing up and everyt ing to I know there's a lot of environmental factors a d all of that. And there's also a lot of other great reasons n top of nutrition to start dding in more fruits and ve gies and those sorts of foo s versus eating is meat heavy or processed food heavy. S kind of going into the sch ol year, though, obviously, our kids going off to school, i they're eating lunch at school, and even if you send them to sc ool with a lunch, it's n t always guaranteed that they're going to eat exactly what you s nd them. So are there tools th t we can use to make sure our kids are getting the things the need at school or good opt ons in a lunchbox to send them o school with that they're go ng to be you know, willing to ea more so than trading it w th their friend for a bag of chips or something l

Dr. Yami:

Which is still gonna happen anyway. But yes, this is a great question. And you know, what I love about lunch is it can be a very flexible meal. And you also have to understand the personality of your child and how they tend to eat because each child's a little bit different. Like some children maybe like a huge breakfast and they eat smaller lunch and dinner and some kids might eat a big dinner. My youngest, he eats a huge breakfast. Usually he loves breakfast and he doesn't eat as much for lunch and then he eats maybe a medium sized dinner. My oldest is the opposite. He's not a huge breakfast person, but he it's a huge amount for dinner. But I like lunch to kind of be that flexible meal where you can have fun with it to talk to your kids if they're old enough and they have preferences talks about what kind of things do you like in your lunchbox include some of those things, but also how can you include more fruit say apple slices or Mandarin oranges are perfect for little kids and they're so sweet. Cut up grapes, things like that carrot sticks, raw broccoli, roasted vegetables I mean there's a million different options. If your school which most schools are not free, you can do like a little trail mix with seeds instead of nuts. Use seed butter instead of nut butter, make some you know seed butter wrap apps that have fruit in them, they're so delicious. But you can have it to be a combination of foods that are health promoting, but also foods that are fun because it is true, they go to school, even if they are having their own lunch from home, they're comparing lunch boxes with other kids. And then some kids don't want to take their lunch. And so you need to have that conversation with your child, find a compromise that works for you. Like if you really don't feel like it's appropriate for them to have school lunch every day, maybe you can look at the calendar and see, once or twice a week are these good days for you to have school lunch. And especially if you're more plant based, and your school isn't plant based, they do have some plant based meals every once in a while, like they might have some bean burritos or things like that. So there's no perfect right or wrong way to approach this. But you do I think it works best if you work with your child, and let lunch be kind of that fun flexible meal where they do get some say in it. Of course, ultimately, you're the one making the decision of what you're putting in there. But I think it's okay to let it be fun and let it be something that your child looks forward to. But also, as a parent, don't freak out when they come home. And they have barely eat anything in their lunch, especially because some kids only get 15 minutes for lunch, and they're ready to go to recess. And they just want to play as long as your child is thriving and happy and active and growing fine. I wouldn't worry about it too much.

Eleanor King:

Yeah, I mean, that's great advice. I know. It can be so hard sometimes, like you're saying not all schools offer plant based options. That actually is something that I'm always curious about. I know plant based is kind of this big buzzword we toss around. So looking at plant based, just out of curiosity, what do you consider plant base to be? versus you know, I mean, there's so many different ways that people use it.

Dr. Yami:

Yes, and I feel like the term has gotten a little muddy, because I will see products in the store that say plant based. And then I look at the ingredients and there's animal products in it. So for me, I define plant based as not having any animal products, I don't necessarily expect it to be all Whole Foods, but I expect it to be all plants. Now I don't think everybody interprets it the same way. So if you do want to be strictly plant based, for whatever reasons, whether it's your vegan and it's ethical, or for environmental reasons, you do have to be a little bit more savvy about what is actually in the thing that you're going to eat. But if you're looking for something that mostly is made of plants, then probably you're fine. Most of the time when it says plant based.

Eleanor King:

Yeah, that's something I don't eat dairy. And I recently encountered this I had some barbecue chips at my friend's house. And I was like, Oh, these made my stomach feel a little unhappy. And I was like, Huh, there's powdered dairy in the flavorings, stuff like that. It's just so crazy to think about

Dr. Yami:

Dairy sneaks in everywhere. Why is there dairy in this? It just seems like it always ends up and stuff.

Eleanor King:

Yeah. So with kids lunches, and even adult lunches, too. I mean, our moms I'm sure out there would love to hear some ideas. Do you have any good options in terms of like a meal or something that they could have? And maybe even on the weekends, like what's a good family meal for lunches on the weekends, it's more plant based.

Dr. Yami:

Yeah. So there are so many options. I'll start with being options because that's my favorite. But definitely making like hummus is huge in our house. I think hummus is always popular. So doing either like a hummus sandwich with veggies or a hummus wrap with veggies. But something else that I love about chickpeas is roasted chickpeas. And that's so easy to make in your own oven. And what's fun about it is you can make all kinds of flavors like it's easy to make it with taco seasoning, but you can make barbecue flavors like you were talking about or like an Asian twist, sweet. You can even put cocoa powder and a little bit of maple syrup. And they taste like cocoa puffs. So that's easy to make. And you could just put a little container in your child's lunch and it's fun to eat. They're a little bit crunchy and that roasting gives it a deeper flavor. They said before son butter or another kind of seed butter sandwiches or wraps are really great. And it's just easy to incorporate. Avocado is great, especially for the older kids who might be a little bit more trendy. Avocado sandwiches, but you know, there's so many options and so many things to play around with.

Eleanor King:

Yeah, definitely. I'd love hummus. I feel like hummus is one of the things that got really popular and then you're still like avocado avocado took over the scene or just like Oh, come on everything. hummus has been like a staple. It's so good. You can do so much with it. So when it comes to snacks, obviously the roasted chickpeas are a great option. I think you talked about making like seed based trail mixes and stuff like that. Are there any other options? Or do you have any suggestions of maybe not necessarily pre packaged but easier things a moms can kind of grab and go with for snack options that will be healthier.

Dr. Yami:

Well, let me take this in two parts because one in the United States we have started to define snack foods as like a separate category of food. So I wonder remind everybody that you have permission to eat any food at any time of the day. So it's totally fine to have leftover Cuban rice and beans in a smaller portion as a snack snack just means a smaller size meal. That's all it is. So it's completely fine to eat any food that you eat during regular meal time at snack time. That's the first part. The second part is, as far as grab and go things. This is also one of those areas where there's no right or wrong, you have to determine what your lifestyle is, how portable does it really need to be how shelf stable does it need to be, you can if you have time, and you have the liberty of spending time in the kitchen and making things ahead of time making your own trail mix, making roasted chickpeas cutting up, definitely cutting up fruits and veggies and taking some hummus with you, you can definitely do that. If you don't have time, there are some pre packaged things available on the market that are a little bit more health promoting and don't feel quite as ultra processed as some of the other foods that have a bazillion ingredients. And so you just have to spend a little time looking for those things, they might be a little bit more expensive. But if you have time, you can make those things yourself like you can make homemade granola bars. And you can make you know your own granola, even that's a great snack to have with some plant based yogurt. So there's all kinds of options there. But don't limit yourself to just snack foods. And I'm saying that in quotations. Because when we think of snack foods, were thinking of a very particular set of foods. And you can eat any food drink snack time.

Eleanor King:

So with that, is snacking something that can become unhealthy? And if it is, how do we kind of overcome that? I mean, I know saying that there's like no one time of day or whatever, you can snack. But are there ways that snacking quote unquote, becomes an unhealthy habit? And how do we help our kids through that?

Dr. Yami:

Yes, it has become a very prevalent habit. And I don't even know if we need to take it and judge it and say it's healthy or unhealthy. During the pandemic, we were spending so much time at home. And kids were bored and anxious. And maybe some were a little bit stressed about the condition of the world. And so snacking just became everybody's habit, because what else you kind of do. Everybody started snacking. And it's it's become a frustration for a lot of moms because it does become a habit, you know, your brain learns, okay, I'm bored, I'm anxious, let me go eat something. And children will start asking for a snack, they just barely finished eating. And they're asking for a snack and moms are pulling their hair out. So the first thing I do is remind them to go back to those loving limits, and set a flexible schedule. Because otherwise, it's so easy for eating to become an all day grazing session. It's like you're at a party, and there's a you know, there's the buffet and everybody's just constantly eating all the time. And that really can be harmful to our digestive system. It can give heartburn and stomach aches and constipation, all kinds of things. So it's not that you need to make your kids go hungry. But can you set a schedule just like they would if your kid was at daycare or preschool. So breakfast, lunch, dinner, a couple of snacks two or three if they need a bedtime snack too great. But just set an approximate time, we know we're going to eat breakfast at around seven, we're going to have a snack maybe around 10 ish. And we're going to have lunch maybe about noon ish. And you don't have to be like a drill sergeant about and be like it's not, you know, it's 1135 is no we can't eat yet. If your children are hungry, let's go ahead and prepare a meal if you have the flexibility to do that. But if your child asked for food, like right after they finished, you know, they probably aren't hungry. Then I say to moms to practice saying Oh, you know what we're gonna have snack in a couple of hours, we're gonna have apples and peanut butter and whatever. Let's go read a book. Let's go play, go outside and play. Go work on your assignment. You know, we'll have lunch in a couple of hours. And of course, if your child is obviously hungry, they're going through a growth spurt or something, maybe you need to make sure you're offering more food during the meal eats meal and snack so that they're getting adequate calories. But that's what I would recommend, as far as parents is having that flexible schedule, set the loving limits, and help get back into the habit of not eating all day constantly. Because it is a habit and we just get into it as humans and then we get used to it. We want to keep doing it.

Eleanor King:

Yeah. I guess another question kind of tying into that, too, is looking at eating habits in kids in terms of Do you have any things that parents should look out for with their kids eating habits that could be potentially like unhealthy for them? Or, you know, I know eating disorder, prevalence in younger kids is starting to like go up more and more with social media and everything. So are there things parents should look for, to make sure that their kids aren't necessarily hiding food or you know, anything along those lines?

Dr. Yami:

Yes. And this can happen on both sides of the spectrum. So whenever for the little ones, especially if we restrict food, or we force food, they can start getting into patterns that may not be beneficial for them. And once we notice that, then we need to see where can we change our own parenting habits and our feeding habits to help decrease that. But definitely, if you see that your child is, especially if you have an older child, that they're rejecting food or not eating or making excuses not to eat, and you are concerned that they could have an eating disorder, then I definitely want you to discuss that with their healthcare practitioner, for sure. But if you notice that you have a child that's sneaking food, and you see wrappers, and you notice that they're sneaking out and eating food different times, then to me that is an time for you to start thinking about, are they feeling restricted in any way. And this could be not just in quantity of food, but types of food. So say you live in a house where you're really anxious about your child having sugar. And so you restrict sugar, and you know, you, you don't do Halloween, and you don't let them have any sugar, when they're out places, that child may start to develop an obsession with sugar. And because they know that they shouldn't have it around you, they may start sneaking and hiding it. And you may see that and for some parents, the next step that they do is a restricted even more, and they lock everything away. And guess what the problem is going to get worse. So that's definitely something to just think about go deep inside of you and evaluate it. how anxious are you about certain foods? And are you passing that down to your children to the point that they're not able to eat intuitively, because they're so obsessed with that food that every time they get access to it, they gorge on it, you know. So those are just little things to watch out for. And then as far as over eating, definitely, it can happen as a habit, just like we're talking about the snacking and things like that. But children can eat in response to stress and depression and things like that. So looking out for your child's mental health. Do you feel like they're having issues with depression or anxiety or bullying at school or whatever. And then some children do the opposite where they don't eat when they have those things. So sometimes our eating behaviors can be an indicator for something else going on. So as a parent, you just need to pay attention, ask questions. And if you really feel like there's something go on going on, please go talk to their health care provider.

Eleanor King:

Yeah, I think that's all really great advice, especially because it's so hard with everything going on in the world. There's stress coming from all different directions. And food is one of our favorite fallbacks for that. Yes. And I know we talked a little bit about, you know, healthy versus unhealthy foods and not categorizing them. Do you have any other kind of more, I guess, broad tips or anything or advice for moms just when it comes to talking to your kids about their bodies and their in their food habits just to make sure there's a good dialogue?

Dr. Yami:

Yes. This is a great question. I thank you for asking this. Because this is tricky. It's so tricky. And like I said, we were raised a certain way, as parents, we were also raised by our own parents. And so we've learned a certain way to approach things. And sometimes we have to analyze that and decide if we want to keep that way or change our ways. And we know from studies that if we focus on body size, that doesn't end well usually. So it can increase the risk of our child developing disordered eating, eating disorders, body dissatisfaction. So we have to be careful how we talk about not just our children's bodies, but our own bodies. Because whenever we are disparaging to ourselves, or talk about how we're too fat to go to the beach, or our bloods too big to wear that whatever our children start thinking about, well, what about me? Is my butt too big? Or am I too fat? Or is there something wrong with my body? Do I have to look a certain way to be acceptable. And these are the messages that we are inadvertently passing down to our children because I know none of us want our kids to feel bad about their bodies. But because we are doing that to ourselves, we're passing it down. So just be very cautious about your language. And be forgiving of yourself knowing that this is hard work because we are surrounded by diet culture, and we grew up this way. So we've been thinking and talking this way, some of us for decades. So relearning a new way to approach how we relate to our own bodies and talk about our bodies, or talk to our friends about our bodies is going to be something new, it's gonna be something difficult. So be gentle with yourself and just keep practicing and be mindful of that. Whenever you're talking to your child directly, especially if your child has questions about their own bodies. It's okay to discuss body size and it's okay to acknowledge that yes bodies or not To be one size, otherwise, we would be born around seven pounds, and we would never change, you know, we would all be seven pounds. So we're meant to change, just look at how kids change to toddlers. And then puberty can be a really hard time for some kids. And some young girls are going through puberty pretty young. And they're changing before anybody else that's really confusing. So this is a really great time to talk to your daughters and your sons as they're going through puberty and say it's normal for your body to change. This is not the first time or the last time your body is going to change. What makes you uncomfortable about your body changing? What do you like about your body changing? What are you going to miss about your body changing and have those open conversations with them, but always acknowledge that it's okay, that they're changing and address their concerns. You know, I think being open and not trying to change our kids or tell them that they have to be different in order to be acceptable is really important, while also acknowledging that it's hard to live in a culture that wants us to look a certain way, you know, and I think having that open communication is really important. And the final thing I'm going to say is just be careful with what you're exposing yourself to, and you're exposing your kids to in your environment. So besides your language that you use, the movies that you watch, if your kids are on social media that can be very dangerous for teenagers, magazines that you look, I mean, I used to love all those fitness magazines, but the cover of every one of those magazines is an ultra thin person. And there's usually a headline about the next diet. What message is that sending. So these are really subtle things that you may not have paid attention to start doing an audit of what you have in your environment, and what messages are being sent to your children. We cannot protect them from everything. But we we can help them learn a healthy skepticism critical thinking and help them be aware of what they're going to be exposed to out in society so that they can go in more confidently about their bodies and their food choices.

Eleanor King:

Yeah, that is all amazing advice. And that's something that, you know, talking about the parent, like my generation, the parents kind of thing. And like the ways that they talked about bodies and food and everything. It's just very eye opening to hear those things. But then also know that there are ways that we as adults can talk to our kids and find better ways around addressing body image and food and all of that. So that's thank you for sharing that. So I got one more question for you before we wrap up. So I know you have a book out. But I'd love to hear a little bit more about some of the other resources you provide that our moms can go use to help them live healthier, happier, plant based lives and all of that. Awesome.

Dr. Yami:

Thank you so mu h for asking. Well, I love my po cast, and obviously I love be ng on podcast. So thank you for aving me on here. But my podc st is called veggie doctor rad o. It is now four year old. adulation, thank you I hav over 170 episodes. And I do fo us on plant based nutrition f r the moms out there that w nt to learn more about plant based nutrition and how to do it confidently and safe y for themselves and their chi dren. It's a great resource. But I also talked about lots of other stuff that I love, lif style medicine, well being relationships, I do all ki ds of different series. Last y ar, I had a really good ser es on nutrients of concern. So f r the mamas that are afraid of is my kid getting all the nut ients they need, what vitam ns or supplements might they need, they can check out those resources as called eggie doctor radio and it's ava lable on all the podcast plat orms. And then I'm very act ve on Instagram at the doctor Y mi so you can check me out t ere I usually post to my stories and I love interacting with othe moms and parents. So I would sa that those are the best pla es to find me pe

Eleanor King:

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Healthy Eating Discussion