When I was a teenager, I used to work in my parent’s Chinese takeaway. At the same time, my mother was a partner and manager of a Chinese restaurant, so the only time I got to see my mum was at lunchtime on Saturday afternoons. We would always go out for lunch, sometimes it was something simple like Pizza Hut, hey I was a teenager. One time I remember we went and had a huge 24 t bone steak…. each. I think we rolled out of that place and we only did it once.

I started to associate quality time with my mum with food. It was always a treat and something I looked forward to. Our family are foodies. I grew up surrounded by it as the family‘s business has always centered around food.

A friend commented on a similar pattern in their family. It wasn’t until this conversation that I realised I was doing the same thing. Whenever I am with my little boy, we often do food-related things. It makes sense because I like going out to eat (guess why) as it also saves me cooking and gives us some variety. I noticed that when we go to the zoo, we often get popcorn or his favourite ice lolly.

What it shows me is that whilst I don’t want to avoid eating out with my little boy, we can add other experiences too so it’s not all about food. Being conscious of these patterns will already help as it will question what we are doing.

What are you doing to break the cycle of associated eating?