Having dealt with dietary issues since childhood, Amanda Rakoczy shares why teaching kids about food freedom is important.
Being on a healthy diet is quite essential for a longer life. But, it is vital to understand the far-reaching implications of following a diet culture, especially for parents. There are some mothers, called 'almond-moms' (a term that gained popularity through the show "Real House Wives of Beverly Hills"), who instill unhealthy eating habits and a negative body image in their kids. Amanda Rakoczy, an anti-almond mom known for her mid-size outfit inspirations–who goes on TikTok by @helloamandaleigh–goes against such practices by teaching her kids 'food freedom.' In a recent video, Rakoczy shared how she inculcates a positive body image and healthy lifestyle in her kids and the internet agrees with her.
Rakoczy began her video by saying how five years ago, she found food freedom after battling obesity and being on a diet since the age of eight. The first thing she does to teach her kids about food freedom is, "We do not comment on people's bodies. This includes the size of their bodies, how they wear their hair, the type of clothes they wear."
As the second thing, she said, "We also don't comment about people's health," and gave an example, "My father made a comment last Christmas about Santa needing to go on a diet. And we quickly corrected him in front of our children, saying that we were not Santa's doctors. We are not aware of his health and that is not for us to decide."
The mom of two shared the third tip by saying, "We do not award behavior with food. You can't earn food, you don't earn treats. Food is not a reward. Food is for energy." As an example, Rakoczy mentioned how some people tend to reward their children for having a good day at school and she never does that. "We can have ice cream just because we want to have ice cream and our body is telling us that we want ice cream," the mom said and added, "When you're allowed to have ice cream whenever you want, even my toddlers don't choose to have it all the time." She also mentioned that she and her husband never used the words 'diet' or 'treats' with their children and never created an association between good things means food rewards.
Rakoczy's fourth advice was, "I never talk about my body in a negative way, and my husband does the same as well," and gave an example, "You will never find me trying on a clothing item and saying, 'Do I look fat in this?'" The mom said, "I'll comment about how the jeans don't fit my hips or the shirt is too loose. Here, I'm changing the clothes, not the body."
Her fifth approach to teaching food freedom was honoring their hunger cues and not asking children to finish their plates. "They eat what they want. They can ask for seconds if they like. And if they say, 'I'm not hungry,' the plate goes into the refrigerator until they say they're hungry again," said Rakoczy. She also said they never reward their kids for a clean plate or comment about the volume they ate.
Rakoczy emphasizes that keeping a neutral conversation about food with kids is vital. She said, "I do this because I remember adults making comments about the foods that I was eating or my family putting a lot of restrictions on what I could and couldn't eat. And it definitely created very disordered eating in me." The mom doesn't want her kids to suffer that way and assured that she has super healthy kids. "Food was always an award growing up. It got out of hand as an adult," commented @notyouralmondmom. "About to have our first baby and this is exactly what we want our child to learn! Thank you!" wrote @steph_carty22.