Sometimes food and the next generation

Tuesday, September 22, 2015 Permalink

A friend and 4yr old Pickle were over a few weeks ago and he was happily eating his dinner of some chicken, chips and a few veges thrown in for good measure.

Pickle held up one of the hot chips, “Is this sometimes food?” he asked his mother.

“Yes,” she told him. He picked up a tomato, “And this is everyday food?” he requested confirmation.

I was gobsmacked.

“What the hell was that?” I asked.

My friend explained that he’s been learning about the good old food pyramid at daycare and they talk in terms of sometimes food and everyday food.

My heart literally sang.

I’ve talked a bit about Dr Rick Kausman and his ‘If not dieting, then what?’ book and approach to healthy living. He espouses the concept of ‘sometimes’ foods and ‘everyday’ foods.

sometimes food

I’ve mentioned in the past that my self-talk is well… far-from-good. I talk about myself and food in black and white terms. For me it’s always been about good food and bad food. In terms of my eating I’m good or naughty. I’m eating healthily or I’m eating junk.

Of course how we define these very weighty terms varies from one individual to another (even the far less angst-laden terms healthy and unhealthy). For some cheese on crackers is ‘good’ for others ‘bad’. Having pasta for dinner is considered by some to be some sort of treat or even ‘unhealthy’ while others would believe pasta is really quite healthy.

morally neutral

Which is why I like the notion of sometimes food and everyday food. The words themselves aren’t laden with positive or negative connotations; although I’m sure our definitions still vary. Indeed many may disagree with my assertion that champagne is most certainly an everyday food. 😉

After some extensive research (google) I noted quite a few references to sometimes and everyday food, in terms of lessons for children. And I love that kids are learning about food in such a morally-neutral way. Of course whether that translates to a generation of teens and adults with a healthier and more moderate approach to food and eating is yet to be seen, but surely it’s a start?

How are your kids learning about food, eating and health?
Do you like the sometimes / everyday food approach?

Linking up (belatedly) with Essentially Jess for IBOT.

Pics from Rick Kausman’s Empowerment Card series. 

34 Comments
  • Michelle Weaver (@pinkypoinker)
    September 22, 2015

    I agree. It doesn’t give the good and bad connotations. Champagne is definitely an every day food!

  • Jess
    September 22, 2015

    I like the sometimes and every day food thing. I don’t think my girls are aware of it. They definitely know the term ‘junk’ food which does have those negative connotations. I need to practice talking this way with them I think. I try to have a fairly balanced approach with what they eat. They know it is okay to eat ‘junk’ food sometimes. 🙂

    • Debbish
      September 22, 2015

      I actually almost went off on a tangent about the notion of ‘junk’ food and wondered if burgers or chocolate were considered ‘junk’ food in years gone by and thought of as negatively as they are now. Apparently the term ‘junk’ food was originally coined in the 1950s when someone commented on something being more like ‘junk’ (or trash) than food. I don’t think it took off as a ‘negative’ saying for a while though.

  • Jo
    September 22, 2015

    It’s always been the sometimes food concept for us too- although Sares recently declared that she was reporting us to DOCS cos she was 17 & had never had hungry jacks. Even now when she goes out with friends, many of them gravitate to the “healthier” fast food- fries are still sometimes.

    • Debbish
      September 22, 2015

      I really love the ‘sometimes’ concept. Very different to what people of my era grew up with…. I remember anorexia / eating disorders only really becoming a thing in the late 70s or so and before that no one seemed to worry too much about the way we talked (or thought) about food.

      • Jo
        September 22, 2015

        I know. In my house it was very much like I think your experience was. All 4 of us have screwed attitudes to food in some way- I vowed I wouldn’t make it a deal when we had our daughter. She’s a tad curvier than is fashionable, but never sick, strong as an ox & not hung up on her size. Yet.

  • Mumma McD
    September 22, 2015

    My almost 4 year old is learning about sometimes foods and everyday foods at kindy too, must be in the curriculum! It’s a very easy to understand concept for preschoolers and grown ups alike 🙂

    • Debbish
      September 22, 2015

      Oh that’s wonderful to hear! When I googled it I found it referenced on some Montessori documents as well and I wondered how widely the concept was being shared.

  • Eva @ The Multitasking Mummy
    September 22, 2015

    Our son is 3 and a half and we honestly don’t refer to foods like this at the moment. I guess the way we’ve been bringing our son up is quite similar to how our parents brought us up which was everything in moderation. Without calling food things like sometimes or everyday food, I feel our son has a pretty good idea of what the food is and I guess as he gets older we will just see how it goes.

    • Debbish
      September 22, 2015

      OH that’s great. Sadly I’m naturally a very all / nothing person so not great with moderation!

  • Karin @ Calm to Conniption
    September 22, 2015

    I love the sometimes/everyday food approach. I am failing at teaching my 3 year-old anything great with food at the moment. I am hoping Kindy next year will bring in another learning approach and maybe he will diversify his taste buds…everything is crossed.

    • Debbish
      September 23, 2015

      I can’t imagine how hard it would be. I’m a really fussy eater and have no idea how I’d instil healthy eating habits in my child if I’d had one!

  • Sanch @ Living my Imperfect Life
    September 22, 2015

    Ooh…I love that! I’m going to take that on board. I have the bad habit of saying I’ve been bad or I’ve been good…for instance this weekend, I ate a cupcake and I automatically said I’ve been bad. I think we take it on board and then it’s harder to eat healthy because a part of you goes, well, I’ve been bad already so might as well continue down that path. Not sure if that made sense but it sounded like it did in my head!
    Thanks for that… 🙂

    • Debbish
      September 23, 2015

      It certainly does Sanch and it means at certain times we turn to food we term as ‘bad’ solely because of that label. Most of us don’t emotionally eat fruit or binge eat a big steak when we’re feeling down! #alas

  • Stephanie
    September 22, 2015

    We do sometimes food in our household. Sadly I am weak with sometimes food and use them as everyday food!

  • JodiGibson (@JFGibsonWriter)
    September 22, 2015

    I agree. We use this terminology a lot. ‘Bad’ food can only need to negative food association which isn’t good. We are also big on moderation.

    • Debbish
      September 23, 2015

      Oh moderation is wonderful! And something I struggle with. In all things!

  • Min (@riteofthemiddle)
    September 22, 2015

    That is awesome that they’re teaching that stuff to kids at daycare etc! I’m a bit like you I have to say – still seeing food as good/bad or healthy/unhealthy. It makes much more sense to view it as sometimes food and every day food. That way – when you do indulge in something YUMMO now and then there would more than likely be far less guilt or self criticism going on!

    • Debbish
      September 23, 2015

      Absolutely Min – less guilt and less likely to deal with that guilt and angst by binge-eating or eating more sometimes food than we feel like eating! Or worse still… taking that Last Supper approach because TOMORROW we will be ‘good’ and ‘healthy’.

  • Vicki @ Boiled Eggs & Soldiers
    September 22, 2015

    We also use the sometimes/ everyday food terminology which must have started from preschool but it’s a concept they totally got and still apply.

  • Char
    September 23, 2015

    If champagne is an everyday food then I don’t see why chocolate shouldn’t be an everyday food either. Just sayin’.

    • Debbish
      September 23, 2015

      Ah yes… am pretty sure some people’s definitions of everyday and sometimes food could vary significantly!!! 🙂

  • EssentiallyJess
    September 23, 2015

    We do the sometimes and every day food here. It’s a good way of looking at things, and it still means you can have the really yummy stuff (Like hot chips.)
    And I wish champagne was an every day food. Or that I could afford to have it every day rather 😉

  • Rita @ View From My Home
    September 24, 2015

    I love this idea, and plan on inform my eldest about it for her children.

    If I put a negative connotation on foods, even for myself (chocolate sundae never allowed), broccoli (all the time), I would go insane, but perhaps more importantly… I would crave that special dessert while eating other things that didn’t satisfy me (toast, fruit, cheese, etc). Better to sometimes go for the reward and realize you can’t eat it all the time.

    • Debbish
      September 24, 2015

      Ah yes, there’s often talk in the recovering-from-binge-eating world about the fact that when we don’t allow ourselves to eat something and force ourselves to eat something else we then eat the other thing AND what we wanted originally after all. I’ve certainly done that.

  • Emma
    September 24, 2015

    We made a conscious effort to eat healthier after we got our daughter to help her not have our bad habits (late night snacking and cream cakes) and now we are all pretty good with food, though for her it’s natural and for my husband and I a challenge still. Food is a funny thing.

  • Malinda (@MBPaperPackages)
    September 24, 2015

    My kids have grown up with ‘sometimes’ food concepts, I think it came from Sesame Street and Elmo and Cookie Monster did a big push on it. The kids really understand it and it is good basics for a a healthy attitude towards food I think. Belatedly commenting from IBOT 🙂

    • Debbish
      September 26, 2015

      Oh that’s great to hear Malinda!

  • Trish @ Between My Lines
    September 27, 2015

    I haven’t heard of this approach but I whole heartedly agree with it. I hate that I personally label food as good and bad, at the end of the day, food is just food and it’s more my behaviour that is good or bad! I think it’s a good message and thinking of some food as occasional is a great idea and it doesn’t make it a no go area either.

    • Debbish
      September 27, 2015

      Very true Trish and I love the approach and was happy to hear it’s being passed onto future generations.

I'd love to hear your thoughts