Yesterday I posted a reel on my Instagram account showing me doing a food sorting activity with my daughter ( you can see the activity here). I’ve been posting activity ideas on my Instagram account for a little while now and I have had a few people starting to comment on them, but the responses on this particular reel really took me by surprise!
For context, the real shows a tuff tray with some play food on it, with two pieces of paper. One sheet read ‘healthy’ and the other ‘unhealthy’, I then asked my daughter to put the play food on one of the pieces of paper, depending on if she thought it was healthy or unhealthy food. There was a wide selection of food, fruit and veg, meat, dairy, biscuits and cakes.
The first two comments on the post were kind and supportive, saying they had enjoyed the idea, but the comments that followed were quite the opposite. A few people told me that I was setting my child up for an eating disorder when she grows up, someone told me this activity was stupid and I was teaching her to feel guilty about eating and others told me that there was no such thing as healthy and unhealthy foods.
Now, I know that social media can be full of people who appear to enjoy saying hurtful things to others, but I do think it’s quite extreme to accuse a mother of setting her child up for a lifetime of disordered eating from doing a tuff tray activity at the age of 5.
If those people had taken the time to look around the rest of my Instagram profile they would have seen that I have never said that any food is bad. I work really hard on providing my children with a balanced diet, which includes me using a lot of those foods on the ‘unhealthy’ sheet of paper. I am very careful about the language I use about food, but at the end of the day, I would like my children to know that a biscuit does not have the same nutritional value as an apple. That doesn’t mean they can’t have any biscuits, but there are some foods that help our bodies grow and are good for us and others that can taste amazing, but on a day-to-day basis we shouldn’t have too much of them.
These comments were written in quite an aggressive tone, which could have been incredibly hurtful, and I struggle to find the purpose of someone feeling the need to be so unkind.
Luckily for me, I’ve completed several NVQs in child development, been a nursery nurse for 6 years, spent a further six years working in the health visiting team supporting families from birth to five and have been a mum for 8 years, so I’m pretty confident in what I’m doing and saying. But this could have been really upsetting in a world where most mothers seem to have everything they do with their children picked apart and criticised.
Anyone that knows me knows that I love a good healthy debate though, so I am interested in what other people think( I just think you can question people in a kind and constructive way). So, I would love to know what you think. Do you think it’s wrong to teach children about healthy and unhealthy foods? Are we setting our children up for a future of disordered eating by talking about different foods?
Leave me a comment here or you can always see the original Instagram post and let me know your views here.