Preventing childhood obesity by eating like a two year old may seem like a crazy thing, but it is a very smart choice. Children are very in touch with their bodies, they are designed this way. It is a survival mechanism that's design to signal to children when to eat, sleep, go to the bathroom etc. Adults have this same mechanism in their bodies also but they have learned to ignore it after years and years of practice. Other factors like stress, boredom, anxiety and other emotional factors are a large factor in how adults eat. Not to mention all of the advertising and messages that we are constantly bombarded with.
KIDS LEAVE CLUES
From infancy children give us clues to their needs by crying when they need something. Because their needs are very basic in the beginning we learn them and they help us take care of them. There are only a few needs that they have hunger, changing, sleep and companionship and stimulation. These things we do because we love and care for them. But something seems to happen after the 2 year mark or a little earlier, we stop taking the cues that are given to us by our children. When infants have had enough to eat they push the nipple away with their tongue or turn their heads. This signals to us that they have had enough to eat. We may try a couple of times to make sure but we do not try to force feed them.
KIDS DO KNOW WHAT THEY NEED
Children always know when they have had enough, always. As parents and care givers we sometimes take this inner knowing away from them robbing them of a very important skill that they need to master if they want to be healthy and that is self regulation. It is very important that we allow children to learn to self regulate themselves and honor and respect when they have said or expressed that they had enough or even that they want more.Children's appetite can not always be regulated by a clock either.
We can offer and encourage children with different healthy options and try and be a good role model in eating healthy foods and beverages ourselves. We can try to prepare foods in different ways taking advantage of options like raw fruits and vegetables. juicing, smoothies, steamed, baked and broiled foods. It also provides a good idea to introduce children to a variety of healthy foods from all 5 food groups and eliminating as much processed foods and sweets as possible.
ACHIEVING SUCCESS THROUGH PLANNING
One way that healthy eating can happen is through proper planning. Many times we are rushing and have such tight schedules that many of our meals are on the go. More food is eaten in cars than at the dinner table. Believe me I totally understand, because even though I know better it happens to me also. What I am saying is that if you plan your menus and snacks in advance, take into consideration your schedule and that of your kids, having to resort to fast food, sugary drinks and other processed foods will happen a lot less often.
Eating like a two year old means that you pay attention to what you are eating. You take your time and chew your food and savor it. You pay attention to your body and stop eating when you are full. And you do not budge after that, like a 2 year old there is no room for negotiation. Full belly means stop and step away from the plate! You can do it, you really can. By taking the time to pay attention and enjoy and savor your food you will be satisfied and end up eating less. This will also be a good example for your children whether teacher or parent.
I am interested in hearing your challenges as well as what has worked and is working for you. Please feel free to comment in the comment section. I'd love to hear from you. If you are interested in more on healthy eating for kids download a free report at http://healthykidsweightloss.com .