I knew the minute my children started preschool I was in for a long journey. You see, we live by food rules that not everyone believes in. I am okay with that. But I knew that it wouldn't take long for the questions to come.
Our oldest daughter started to notice some of the snacks and lunches that the other kids were bringing to school. She started asking if she could have yoghurt in a tube, cheesies, chocolate pudding.
I was careful how I responded. On the one hand I wanted to teach her why we eat the foods we eat- quality, nutrition, sustainability. I also explained that cheesies and pudding are treats that we enjoy at holidays or birthdays. (our version is organic/homemade).
She understood and I felt that I did a good job of not judging others and keeping the conversation open so that she would feel comfortable talking about it again and asking more questions.
I realized that how we speak about food is so important. Our language around food- what we like, what we don't like, what we believe in- all of this plays a huge role in how our children understand and appreciate food.
Food values are important to us. For many reasons. Our first priority is nutrition. Balanced food that is good quality. Our next priority is sustainability- local, sustainably produced, wtih good business practices.
Teaching our girls about nutrition has been fun. Children seem to naturally love science so we have focussed on the science and nature of food. Of course, you can only do this if your food is real.
Food values can start with simple conversations. And I think that starting early is helping us to lay a foundation of a life of good food values.