Why a health coach lets her kids eat ‘junk food’

Some of you may know that I discovered my path to wellness through my experience with infertility

This painful experience became my gift, the catalyst which ignited my incredible passion for wholefoods, cooking from scratch, and food as medicine.

From deep in my heart I felt the privilege of being in charge of nourishing my children and raising them to love real food. Of giving them the best chance to thrive and be well throughout their lives.

Before long I felt called to share my passion and knowledge beyond my family. I formalised my education by studying to be a health coach and my blog and business with it’s various offerings came to life and became the vehicle from which I helped other busy mums to raise happy, healthy children. 

My message revolved around the power of wholefoods, techniques to combat fussy eating, the dangers of additives, sugar and processed, packaged foods. I educated about ‘bliss points’, the corruption of the food industry and food marketing.

All the while I remained vigilant about the foods that could and couldn’t be eaten by my own children.

Until it backfired. 

Until I discovered my kids were hiding particular foods from me.

Until my daughter would throw empty packets of Tiny Teddies wrappers deep into the bin while glancing guiltily in my direction in case she were caught. 

Until we found our son, who said he was meeting a friend to play soccer at the park, on his own at the park with a slushie from McDonalds.

This was my wake up call.

Though motivated by only the best of intentions by wanting the best health I could offer my family, through the over-emphasis of ideals around food and a dogmatic approach, I had unwittingly created pressure, shame,  fear and guilt around food. 

Which was the LAST thing I ever wanted, because what a slippery slope it can be to dysfunctional eating and food disorders. 

I have spent the last two years unravelling what I created.

Initially it proved to be confronting. Letting go of old beliefs and fears was challenging.

But this year I have finally found my stride.

No more lectures about food choices.

No judgement around any type of food.

No more food labels.

No more, “good food”, “bad food”, “junk food”, “everyday food”, “sometimes food” …

Food is just food.

All foods can be incorporated as part of a healthy diet.

I have been releasing my kids from food pressure and food restriction, allowing them freedom in their own choices.

As a result they are much more relaxed and eating much more intuitively rather than by a set of rules.

2018 was the year when I began to trust that my children would carry the healthy foundations I had set up at home throughout their lives and I stopped fearing the negative effects of certain types of food. 

While I still 100% believe in the power of food to prevent illness and disease, in helping our children flourish mentally and physically – allowing them to adapt, lead, think, create and change, we also celebrate food as fun, connection, memories, happiness, smiles and excitement.

I now believe that without a good pinch of joy, good nutrition will allude us all.  

I’ll admit, I’m still a work in progress. Seeing kids choose soft drinks still pains me, but with each deep breath I am able to remind myself to focus on the bigger picture.

Bren x

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Your thoughts on this post


  1. Jaci

    ‘Forbidden fruit’, as the slightly ironic saying goes, always tastes sweeter. I believe strongly in a healthy diet and attitude towards food. My kids have always seen me eat meals with them,maintaining health and a sensible weight. I cook healthy food, and when they have always has access to a fruit bowl, from when they could toddle around. However we live in the real world, and it’s full of temptation. I have never banned snacks or treats, just encouraged the kids to regard them as just that, and so far (aged 16 and 20), they do. They know what is healthy and can make their own choices. Neither has ever been overweight and we talk about healthy choices and also how one day they will stop growing up, and need to be careful about growing round instead ?

    • Brenda Janschek

      Well done Jaci, it can be such tricky territory and things certainly differ between families, but sounds like you all have a wonderful, healthy approach to food. I think it’s also important to be aware of fat-shaming too. Because in reality people of all different shapes and sizes can still be healthy. Our society just equates thinness with health unfortunately …

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