Chap 7 : Early Childhood

What were your eating habits like when you were a young child? In what ways are they similar or different from you current eating habits? Did your early eating habits predict whether or not you have weight problems today?

As a child, I was encouraged to eat many different foods, and often. My grandma was adamant about introducing my sister and I to all things. She presented tasting food as an adventure. There was a lot of accent placed on the sensation of taste and creativity of mixing flavors. My parents had a fairly healthy relationship to food, and not being incredibly excited about food themselves, cycled through the same meals consistently.

My father taught me the necessity of always having snacks available. I learned young that food can be like fuel, and it can boost your mood. We had a family culture of eating all of our breakfasts and dinners together, and we spent many hours sharing life through our relationship to food. In fact, young children's relationship to health and food are significantly more stable when the care-givers engage in healthy eating on a predictable schedule (Santrock, 2019).


I was also lucky in some ways because my mother struggles with a sugar addiction, and avoids bringing anything with sugar into the house. It meant that as a child, I grew up barely eating sugar, and our source of "sweet" came uniquely from fruits. It meant that I was never given sugar-sweetened beverages, and consumed many fruits. Both of these practices decreased my chances of becoming obese (Santrock, 2019).

My current eating habits vary greatly. I am often on tour with the circus, which means that I do not have agency over what I eat and when I eat it. The theater's and festival's cateringa choose for me. Ironically, these are the periods that I gain the most weight, even though I am physically working the hardest. European theaters and festivals provide meals that are heavily based around butter, cream, white bread, cheese, and there are often fried elements. In general, when eating food from restaurants, there is also a higher salt content in the meal, which can be detrimental over time. In fact, for young children, it is suggested to maintain a diet that are "low in fat, in simple sugars, and in salt, as well as high in fiber" (Santrock, 2019, p. 203).

When I am at home, it means that I indulge in all the exciting cooking projects I can muster, and I get to eat at a rhythm that feels more natural to my body. My adventurousness with taste and flavor resembles that of my grandma, and my routine of 3 meals a day with perpetual snacking resembles the feeding rhythm that I was raised with as a child. I notice that I am emotionally the most stable when I get to choose my own ingredients, meals, and feeding times.

Santrock, J. W. (2019). Lifespan development (17th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.

© 2016 by Aviva Rose-Williams.

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