Talking to Kids About Food and Eating

Recently I got an e-mail from the editor-in-chief of the Magazine New Moon Girls letting me know that I was in an article about  food and eating. Even though the article was by Dr. Katja Rowell who I know does amazing work because I know her from the fat-o-sphere and her site,  www.thefeedingdoctor.comI will admit that I had a bit of trepidation.  As a Health at Every Size and Size Acceptance practitioner I have grown accustomed to articles, no matter how HAES or SA they start out to be, always having the “even though it doesn’t make any sense section” – so an article might spend 5 pages talking about why dieting and weight loss don’t work for almost anyone, but on page 6 the author says “But I’m still going to fight the odds and try.”  Or an article talks about why it’s so important to focus on kid’s health rather than their weight for four pages, but on page 5 they  say “of course childhood obesity is a horrible thing and we should definitely make sure that fat kids know that there’s a war on against them.”  So as I started to read this article, called “Eat Happy – Forget the Rules and Have More Fun”, I was elated at the content and also waiting for the other shoe to drop.  But it never did.  The article is completely evidence based and free from all obesity hysteria.  It’s amazing – it’s something that I wish all kids could read and the First Lady would take to heart.

You can check out the article at:  New Moon Girl Body Language

If you are looking for resources for girls, I highly recommend the New Moon Girls website.  Their mission is to help girls, age 8 and up, discover their unique voices and express them in the world. (Nope, they aren’t giving me anything to say this, I’m just really impressed.)

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The Dance Class DVDs:  Fun classes for all levels!  Click here for the details

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I do size acceptance activism full time.  A lot what I do, like answering over 4,000 e-mails from readers each month, giving talks to groups who can’t afford to pay, and running projects like the Georgia Billboard Campaign etc. is unpaid, so I created a membership program so that people who read the blog and feel they get value out of it and want to  support the work I do can become members for ten bucks a month  To make that even cooler, I’ve now added a component called “DancesWithFat Deals” which are special deals to my members from size positive merchants. Once you are a member I send out an e-mail once a month with the various deals and how to redeem them – your contact info always stays completely private.

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17 thoughts on “Talking to Kids About Food and Eating

  1. I forwarded this article to a friend yesterday because I know she’s concerned about her daughter’s prepubescent weight gain. I was hoping to ease her concerns. Did. Not. Work. She took offense at what she thought was my suggestion that she was being obsessive about what they eat. She responded by firing off an email that illustrated how obsessive she is about what they eat. She said she “stresses whole foods” in her house (key word “stress”) and that kept her children focused “taste and nutritional value.” She went on to tell me how much they love some food app on her phone because they can look up the “value” of a particular food and decide for themselves that it’s not good for them. Oy. Did I mention that Mommy is a fitness instructor? Whether or not her daughter naturally slims down after puberty, I worry that she’s an eating-disorder in the making.

    1. Hi,
      Ugh. So sad. This is incredibly common alas. So much focus on “healthy” is often counterproductive. I am literally seeing toddlers who are obsessed with food to the point where it is seriously hampering their psyches. Too much worry and fear and control. It’s backfiring. Kind of you to try to help… Maybe the daughter will read it somewhere someday. Who knows…Sad to watch.

  2. WOO AND HOO! I’m definitely going to read the article today. Yay for New Moon Girl not undercutting the message with the traditional Kool Aid drinking section. It’s heartening to see tiny glimmers of hope like this popping up here and there.

  3. The New Moon Girl article is wonderful, and it is nice to see a person-positive approach to kids and eating. I do admit to a bit of disappointment, though, because when I saw the title of today’s blog post I was hoping that you would talk more on the subject. It was a little misleading, so you may want to consider calling posts like this “Review of an article about (subject)” or something. Just a thought. 🙂

    1. Glad you liked it! It was hard to write, as I think this should not be things kids have to think about, but in this day and age with all the awful “nutrition education” messaging, I felt I had to try. I talk lots about this issue in my book, and also on my blog. Some horrific stories about what we are teaching kids, which is mostly to feel badly about themselves and to fear food.

  4. I look forward to reading the article.

    Speaking about the other shoe dropping–I read an article in…People…I think. I was at my son’s piano lesson and was reading whatever was there The article was about the news anchor that fought back against the bully who wrote in about how she shouldn’t be fat.

    The article spoke about what happened and how she responded and how her coworkers and family supported her and love her as she is. Then it got to the end of the article where the news anchor talked about how she could be doing better. She talked about how they were trying to eat better; even describing the kinds of food they normally ate and what they planned on eating. She discussed exercising more, though the article spoke about how she already exercised.

    In my mind she just completely gave into the bully because she tried to justify herself. “I’m fat but I’m a good fattie because I’m going to start eating right and exercising so that you will all accept me.”

    I was so disappointed with the entire thing.

  5. I’m posting this in my school cafeteria, right where the children have to wait to be served so they can read it every day.

    1. Yay! You mean, next to the poster that says, “Enjoy your food, just eat less of it?” (This was on my daughter’s school menu.) I’d love it if my daughter’s school put it up… Thanks for sharing! Thanks Ragen for sharing the article!

  6. Forgive me for encroaching on your wonderful blog, if this is not the place feel free to delete. It just seemed appropriate give the topic of the day. Thanks!

    I’m starting to schedule interviews for my next book Fat Kids: Truth and Consequences. I am looking for people who were fat children, perceived as fat children, and especially children who were put on diets or any protocol that might mirror what is happening today with large children. I am always looking for men/boys. Also, I am looking for parents of children with “weight problems” to discuss how they deal with not only the weight but the societal pressures and bullying. I would also love to interview some children, with parents present or with parental permission (depending on the child). Finally, I would like to speak with professionals who work in this arena. All interviews are conducted over the phone. No real names of identifying information will appear in the book (with the exception of professionals who consent to be named). If you would like an idea of my past work visit Please contact me at Thank you! Please share. Also see for more info.

  7. Thanks so much for sharing this. I’ve actually had my eye on the magazine as a gift for my daughter for quite some time, but I knew this issue was coming up, and I wasn’t entire sure what sort of message they would be sending to girls. I’m so glad they went with a positive, healthy message instead of the standard “try to keep a healthy weight” baloney, and I’m impressed that they even mentioned you!
    I’m definitely sold on the magazine now – and I even plan on hunting down the current issue!
    I second the comment on being slightly disappointed that you hadn’t written about talking to kids, but I think the article is just as good as if you had written it, so it works. 🙂

    1. I think it was very brave of NMG in this day and age. If you feel comfortable telling them you liked the article, they may be more inclined to do more of it in the future. I was adamant about not putting in the “shoe drop” others talked about, and not using “healthy” and “unhealthy” but I can’t vouch for all the content 🙂 Overall, love NMG, and my nieces liked it too!

      1. Thanks for the push (though I didn’t see it until today.)
        I just sent an email to them, thanking them for publishing your article… And thank you for putting so much thought into it, too!
        It’s good to see the message being put out there, even if it’s not mainstream yet. (Key word being “yet”)

  8. My daughters had a subscription to New Moon. I was a little sad when they “aged out” of it and didn’t want me to renew. Glad to hear they are still doing good work!

  9. Thanks so much for linking to this resource. MY wish 😉 is that you’d started your post with these sentences that you use later: “This article is completely evidence-based and free from all obesity hysteria. It’s amazing – it’s something that I wish all kids could read.”

    I understand your frustration about the articles that end with a contradictory message, but it’s just so exciting to read such an affirming and healthy article that I wish that had been the first focus of your blog post.

    Still, I don’t want to focus on a complaint but rather:
    1. thanks for the link (I’ve shared it on FB).
    2. congratulations on this positive exposure for you in that magazine!

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