Most of us grew up being told what to eat and how much to eat. Consequently most of us are out of touch w/ what we really need and want. Here are some tips for empowering children to listen to their bodies and eat intuitively from Nutrition Matters Inc.
1. Have a rule at the table that everyone needs to try something first before deciding whether or not they like it. This goes for the parents as well. Our taste buds change as we grow. Be willing to explore new foods w/your kids or even foods you “thought” you disliked. Kids learn a lot from our behavior.
2. Let your child serve herself at the dinner table, whenever possible. Teach her to take small amounts at first and go for seconds if she wants.
3. Eating too much fast food. “Fast foods” as well as restaurant food uses more salt than when we cook at home, as well as fats we would never use. The serving size of fast foods is generally much more than we need. Limit eating at restaurants to 1 or 2 times a week. Home cooked meals are optimal.
4 Allow for times when your child’s appetite diminishes. Don’t draw any conclusions about it. Children’s appetites often drop when they are sick and increase during a growing spurt. Allow them to listen to what they need and watch and see if they have more of an appetite for high sugar, starch foods….allow a little…but keep your boundary around trying new foods.
5. Lots of sweets. Look out for too many sweet drinks in your child’s day. Avoid rewarding your child w/ food or sweets. Play w/ your child, this is what he wants most.
6. Bribing Some parents bribe their child to eat certain foods w/ desserts or sweets. A child may eat to get the reward but he will learn to over eat. Some children refuse to eat because they don’t like being forced.
7. Limiting food Avoid limiting how much a child can eat. A child may over eat if food is restricted. She may be afraid there won’t be enough food to eat.
8. Too little activity A small child has a better appetite when his day is balanced w/ activity & movement. Be active with your child outside if possible, in the fresh air.
9. Stress A child’s tummy can be very sensitive. A child may over eat or under eat if there is too much stress in the home. Find ways to laugh, smile and enjoy each other.
10. Involve your children in the food buying and cooking! Kids like to be involved in these activities, it sparks their imaginations and creative juices! If you don’t like to cook invite or hire someone into your home who does and is willing to give you and your child a lesson…learn together.