Start Here

An Easy Tool for Healthy Eating: Create a Food List

Creating a food list is one of the tools I use with my clients to help them establish a new relationship with food.  

A food list is simply a written list of every single food that you decide that you will be eating.  You create this list for yourself because you are the expert on what you like to eat and what you don’t like to eat.  Your child is the expert on themself in this regard  as well.  

Creating a food list ultimately simplifies your eating.  You will eat only what is on your food list and foods that are not on your food list will qualify as an “Exception Eat” or an “Exception Meal” when you choose to eat them. 

First, create your personal food list.  Then, if your child is willing to participate, sit down together and make their food list.  Every member of the family can have their own food list.  If your child is not interested in helping you make this list, that is ok!  You can make it for them. 

The creation of the food lists sets the foundation and expectation that you are now thinking on purpose about the foods you want to eat on a regular basis.  The idea is that your child will understand that as a family, you are changing your approach to what you are eating by getting very clear and purposeful on the exact foods that you are choosing to eat most regularly.    

You can explain to your child that, “Hey, we are going to be slowly changing the way we eat to keep our bodies super healthy so that we can have fun and do everything that we want to do in our lives.  The foods we decide to eat are so important for our health”.  

On your child’s food list, include foods that they definitely like to eat right now and also are compatible with what you decide is in their long term best interests.  

By making these food lists for yourselves, you are creating a new way of eating for your family in order to achieve your collective long term health goals.  This new way of eating has to be sustainable over the long term.  The food list is not a diet or a list of “diet foods”.  This is also not something that you are going to follow for just a few weeks.  The foods on your lists will become the foods that you eat on a regular basis from now on.  Your child’s list must include foods that they already know that they like.

Foods can be added or removed at any time from the list.  It is a work in progress.


Tips for Creating Your Child’s Food List:

  • Focus on all of the amazing options there are, not the foods that are being left off the list.  
  • Explain that just because a food is not on the list, it doesn’t mean they’ll never eat it again, it just means that food will be, as Elmo from Sesame Street says, “a sometimes food” or in adult words, “an exception eat”.  
  • Don’t put foods on their list that they truly don’t like.  At my house, we have worked on distinguishing between foods that “are not my favorite but I can eat” vs.  “I don’t like that and I really, really don’t want to eat it.”  Encouragingly, over time, some of the foods my son used to refuse are now regulars on his food list.

I’ll share my food list with you so you can see how simple it can be to create.  I designed my personal food list to include foods that will keep my insulin levels low so I can maintain my current weight and metabolic health.

My Food List

  • All meat (except organ meats (because I don't like the taste))
  • All poultry
  • All fish and seafood
  • All vegetables
  • All fruit
  • Beans, lentils, quinoa, farro
  • Brown rice
  • Eggs
  • All full fat dairy products
  • Tofu
  • Olive oil, Avocado oil, Coconut Oil, Sesame Oil, Ghee
  • All nuts, all seeds
  • Coffee, tea, unsweetened ice tea, unsweetened sparkling water

Theo's food list looks like this:

  • All meat(except organ meats)
  • All poultry
  • All fish and seafood
  • Maki rolls
  • Veggie Burgers
  • Vegetables:  Lettuce, Carrots, Green Beans, Cucumber, Sweet Potatoes, Avocado, Corn, Tomatoes, Onions (cooked in things, not raw)
  • All fruit except Kiwi
  • Oatmeal
  • Beans, lentils, quinoa, farro
  • Rice 
  • Pasta
  • English Muffins
  • Flour or Corn Tortillas
  • Low carb wraps 
  • Eggs
  • All full fat dairy products
  • Tofu
  • Olive oil, Avocado oil, Coconut Oil, Sesame Oil, Ghee
  • All nuts, all seeds

Once you know everyone’s food lists,  you will have a starting point from which to plan your meals.  Planning your meals in advance is another tool I teach my clients in my program to help achieve their family's weight and health goals. 

From your food lists, I suggest making a list of 10-20 meals that everyone in the family can enjoy and that can be easily tweaked to fit individual food plans.  Once you have this list of meals, you can rotate through them on a regular basis.  It is totally ok and in fact helpful in so many ways, to eat the same meals in regular rotation.  One benefit of eating the same meals again and again is that you can become an efficient shopper and cook.  You’ll know what you need and you’ll get really good at making these meals.  Another important benefit is that by eating the same things over and over again, you take away the dopamine hit that comes from always trying new recipes and foods.  You purposefully decrease the excitement factor to start to rewire the brain’s expectations around food.  Eating familiar, healthy meals resets your brain to use food as fuel for your body and not as a needed source of excitement in your life.  Find other ways to replace this excitement.  For your child, this lays the foundation for a lifelong healthy relationship with food.  You will be teaching their brain to use food for nourishment for their body and not for emotional reasons.

If you have questions and want help creating a food list for yourself or your child, email me with “Food List” in the subject line at [email protected] and I will send you my worksheets on Food Lists.

If you are interested in working with me to change the trajectory of your child's life, 

Schedule a Call

Stay connected!

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.
Don't worry, your information will not be shared.

We hate SPAM. We will never sell your information, for any reason.