This morning I couldn’t help but smile as I watched my 13 month old completely engrossed in her bowl of Vanana Yogurt. She had the spoon in one hand and had the bowl secured in the other hand. She was thrououghly enjoying the food in front of her and only looked up on a few occasions to give me a big smile and request more yogurt. I don’t know if it is because of what I do for a living, but I love to watch her enjoy her meals. It got me thinking about why we can’t all have such an innocent relationship with food.
If you take a minute to reflect on your past relationship with food both as a child and an adult you may be able to figure out a reason based on your past experiences with food. What habits were you taught as a child or what foods were you served? Did you pick up bad habits as an adult? The real reason comes down to what you have learned as a children and what habits you have picked up over the course of your lifetime.
I once worked with a client that was preparing for bariatric surgery. When I work with a new client especially a client that is about to embark on a life altering surgery to lose weight I find it essential to get to the root of the “food issue.” Together we realized she had very little support with food as a child, her parents owned a farm and she was responsible for “finding” meals on her own. Without the support of a family structured meal it left her with a lifetime of poor feeding practices, binge eating and poor nutrition choices. This is just one example of how your past can influence your current feeding practices. No matter what your feeding experience has been it’s doesn’t have to continue to haunt you and your family.
These tips can help the put your self-distructive behaviors associated with eating at ease and allow you and your family to develop a good relationship with food.
1. Eat Without the Television or Computer On
Turn off the distractions. In order to throughly enjoy your meal and experience satiety you have to see, smell and taste the food. Consuming meals with outside distractions will compromise these senses and may result in overeating. Studies back this up even in children; children fed in front of the television will eat 50% more food then those who are not.
2. Eat Only at a Table or “Designated Eating Place”
Choose one place, preferably a table, to consume all food eaten. Developing this habit will eliminate unconcious snacking and grazing on food. It sets up structure and allows the whole family to do well with eating.
3. Do Not Always Feel You or Your Children Have to Finish What is On the Plate
Growing up we were served family style and allowed to dish our own plates, but the rule was…”You have to finish what is on your plate.” Here’s the problem, even to this day, I feel the need to finish what is on my plate for fear of waste. Even if I’m full and about to explode I still want to finish it…see the problem. Set your children up for success and don’t force them to eat one more bite when they are done they are done!
4. Nourish Your Body at Least 3 times a Day
Eating consistent meals leads to a stable metabolism and prevents binge eating. In order to be successful the whole family needs to know they will have the very least 3 well balanced meals. Children do best with eating when they know when and where the next meal will come from.
5. Slow Down, Taste the Food
Following the above steps should allow this step to come naturally. Learn to slow down and enjoy the food. It actually takes 20 minutes for the stomach to send the signal to the brain to tell you that you are full. Slowing down will give the whole family a chance to enjoy the meal, fill up and catch up on the day!
These 5 Tips could be enough to get your family on the right track with their eating. Now, I ‘m not going to say EASY steps because they aren’t. These steps have to do with habits and habits are hard to change. It could take a consistent 2-4 weeks of making changes before you see the real results!
I’d love to hear what you think! Feel Free to Comment Below…
Dana Snook, RDE, CIC