Mr Fit Kids says: Fast food is not a reward!

Fit kids fast foodHi.  It’s me, back on my soap box again.

I love the interesting conversations I have with my Fit Kids.  We had a fantastic chat yesterday about junk food.

There’s a great little guy in one of my classes.  He struggles a bit, but tries so hard and is really feeling great about what he’s learning his body is capable of.

Yesterday he was very excited to tell me that he loves Fit Kids day, because he gets to go to a certain fast food restaurant as a reward after the class!

You might think that my issue is with the eating of fast food; that I expect everyone to eat clean and healthy all day every day.  Not really.  Most of us eat a little junk from time to time, that’s just the way our lives are today.  (I don’t advocate eating unhealthy foods, but I think we hear enough about it already!)

My problem is that this child is making an emotional connection in his brain: When I exercise, I get rewarded with junk food.  When I work hard with my body, eating something bad for me is the payoff.

There’s plenty of research on the links between emotions and obesity, try this article, or this one.  The idea of rewarding hard work with sweets or junk food is a major cause of emotional eating.

So I urge you, choose something different.

Reward your child with your attention instead of with food.  Say something like ‘You must feel really proud of yourself for that’.  Ask your child to highlight a few things in the activity that made them feel good, reinforcing the idea that the best rewards are found in our own achievements.

And when you do choose to let your children eat fast food, try to be mindful of not creating an emotional link to something that’s going on in their day.


About Simon

I'm a dad, a teacher and a business owner, doing my best to make every day count. I'm determined to shape the way the next generation feel about exercise, and I'm doing this by showing children the difference between enjoying exercise as part of healthy lifestyle, and participating in exercise as a means to perform in sport. I'm also helping parents learn how to include exercise as a normal part of daily life, and working with schools and teachers to change the way they present exercise to children in the foundation years.

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