Sunday, January 26, 2014

5 Things Every Parent Should Know About Feeding Themselves and Their Family

I recently spoke to some parents from my children's school about Intuitive Eating and feeding kids.  Here is some of the topics I discussed.  

1) Food is not good or bad! -- A cookie is just a cookie. It’s value is that of calories from carbohydrates, protein and fat and nothing more. The cookie does not judge you. It’s just a cookie. Negative thinking about food leads to poor long-term eating habits like restriction and binging.

2) The War on Obesity is not one worth fighting -- Health can come in many shapes and sizes. Your health is determined by your behaviors and not your weight. Making weight the focus of health, can lead to a negative body image and an unhealthy relationship with food.

3) Your body image will be passed down to your kids -- Body image is a learned behavior so be conscious of your "body talk". Is there “fat shaming” talk in your house? If you shame/hate your body, you child will learn that behavior.  Learn to love your body no matter what shape or size so that your children learn to love theirs as well. 

4) Children are naturally intuitive eaters so learn to nurture that skill instead of stifling it -- Children are born with the innate ability to eat when they are hungry and stop when they are full. Forcing your child to eat when they are not hungry or full can override their natural ability to listen to their own bodies cues of hunger and fullness.

5) Adopt a division of responsibility when it comes to feeding your kids -- It is your job to put a healthy meal in front of your children and it’s their job to eat it. Include plenty of "play foods" and "growing foods."  Once the plate is in front of them, let them choose what and how much to eat.  That means try to not bribe them by saying, "Have another bite of chicken or you won't get dessert."

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