Lately I started to wonder WHY we, as parents, give food rewards to our children, and WHAT effect that has on our eating patterns when we are grown ups. I noticed a lot of mums are using food rewards to bribe their children to be well-behaved and to make them listen. In the supermarket you will often hear mums say: “When you behave you will get an ice cream.”  

STOP doing this from now on!  What if I tell you that you can lose weight by changing this habit? And not only you will benefit from it, but YOUR CHILDREN as well. 

Adults are giving themselves food rewards  

Due to the conditioning around  food rewards that was installed in us during our childhood; we are now burdened with this automatic thought pattern and we are passing it on to our own children. For example; I treated myself with a good cup of coffee for many years in the morning. While I know caffeine is not a good match with my pitta personality by Ayrvedic principles, I still used this one coffee to reward myself for hard work in the morning. I would say to my children they could only bother me in case of emergency they saw that mama was having her coffee break.  

I know some friends having this drink reward after a long day in the office. They will come home and sit down on the couch with a glass of wine. In their mind they are saying to themselves they deserve this glass of wine, as they have worked the whole day and are at that point allowed to relax. Meaning they directly linking their glass of wine with relaxation. Or people who go to the gym and afterwards treat themselves on a big meal, because they did their intense cardio work-out.

In most cases your body doesn’t need this drink or food, it is just a substitute for something else you really need at that moment.  In the coffee example, I just needed to have no input, be alone for 20 minutes or instead, or the big meal after the gym, you need to go home and consume a large portion of something else, like using those happy hormones to read that book on personal growth, finances or do another module of your online education.  

Find more creative ways to treat yourself and the children 

The University of Rochester Medical Centre did research about food rewards on children. It is not only UNHEALTHY for the children to treat them sugary and fat food, it is also CONFUSING to them. You are telling them that they should enjoy healthy food with nutritional value all the time, though you never give them an apple as reward for their good behaviour or achievements. Spoiling children with comfort food to reward can be the starting point of food disordering eating, cavities and weight gain.   

We should be more creative in alternatives to reward our children, and ourselves.  

5 Creative ways to reward your children:  

  1. After shopping go to a playground for an hour were the kids can play and run around. This is not only a great reward, it’s also good exercise and they can socialize with their peers.  
  2. If you have a child that loves bathing, let them know that if they behave they can have 5 to 10 minutes extra time in the bathtub.  
  3. Give your child an extra big hug or cuddle more often. Make it BIG, intense and long with your arms wide open and hug your child in a really nice and rewarding way.  
  4. Let the children decide what kind of music there will be on in the car driving back home after a good shopping day. And of course sing along as loud as possible!  
  5. Arts and craft time! The children have been perfectly behaved during a family dinner, ask in the restaurant if you can have some of the placemats. Back home you can make something cool out of it, like a bit airplane or a boat.  

5 Creative ways to reward yourself: 

  1. Get comfy on the couch with your favourite magazine and take time to read or watch an episode of this popular Netflix series that you wanted to watch for a long time.   
  2. Having a facial mask at home or treat yourself g to a spa visit.  
  3. Spray a little bit of your favourite perfume on your skin and put your lipstick on, even if you don’t go out anymore after work. The scent and look in the mirror seeing the best version of yourself will bring you to a state of feeling happy.  
  4. Go for a nice afternoon walk and watch the sunset from the beach or have a stroll in the park.  
  5. “Dance like nobody is watching.” Put your favourite song on, turn that volume up and dance. It is no problem if you put in on repeat and dance a few times around. 

Beat cravings and lose weight without a diet 

Living healthy and happy is a state that can be reached by anyone if you also understand it is influenced by what and why you are eating and drinking certain foods and liquids. You have read above how simple it is to change your drink and food rewards to a non-food reward system; I will give you more simple, positive and doable tips NEXT WEEK in my Facebook group Food is the gateway .

So make sure to join so food is only an issue when preparing dinner and not when you are raising your children or dressing for an evening out. Become part of our Community and get in charge of your life one bite at the time.  

With Love,

Inge Hart