When it comes to parenting, most of the time it’s the adult teaching the child. How to tie a shoe, how to be polite, how to share, how to fly a kite.
But funnily enough, when it comes to food and healthy eating, our kids can teach us a thing or too.
Here we look at some of the ways that our children have got it right when it comes to food.
- It’s good to experiment with texture and colour – kids don’t want to eat a plate full of bland or dull food. We entice our children to try new things by offering an array of foods with different colours, sounds, tastes and textures. This works for us adults too. By eating from all the colours of the rainbow and trying new versions of old favourites, we can ensure we are staying on track with our weight loss goals.
- Sometimes I’m not hungry, I’m thirsty – a small child will often cry if they are hungry or thirsty, and it’s not always easy to know which is which. Same goes with us big kids, sometimes we feel hungry when in fact we are dehydrated. Try keeping a bottle of water with you to sip throughout the day to stave off those hunger pangs.
- I don’t need sugary drinks, I’m happy with water – you wouldn’t fill your child’s drink bottle with soft drink, so why are we drinking it ourselves? Soft drinks are packed full of sugar, sweeteners, artificial flavours and additives. Even the so called ‘diet’ versions are not ideal when you are trying to lose weight. Try to limit your intake, or stop altogether if you can. If you can’t go cold turkey, why not try sparkling mineral water with a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime.
- Once I’ve had enough I just stop eating – if you’ve ever been on the receiving end of a flying bowl of yoghurt or a spoonful of Weet Bix, you’ll know what I mean. Kids don’t usually keep eating once they are full. They reach their limit and they just stop. They go back to their toys and keep playing. By being conscious of your body’s signals that tell you that you are full, you too can avoid over consuming.
- Food can affect my mood – ever seen a two year old on a sugar high? It’s not pretty. While we might not be throwing a tantrum after eating something sweet, it still has an affect on our system. Try to reduce your sugar intake and you might find yourself experiencing less mood swings.
- I can make this biscuit last – have you noticed how a child can take a good ten minutes to eat a rice cracker? Children tend to eat their food more slowly than adults. We should take a leaf out of their baby book and slow down. By eating more slowly we can actually consume fewer calories. How? It takes about 20 minutes for our brains to register that we’re full. If we eat fast, we can continue eating past the point where we’re full and consume calories we didn’t actually need.
- It’s best if I’m sitting down to eat my meals – we strap our kids into high chairs, or older kids are asked to sit at the table to eat. This way they are concentrating on their food (and it doesn’t go all over the carpet). In the same way, it’s a good idea to sit down and be mindful as you eat your meals or snacks. Eating on the run, in the car, on the phone, or while watching TV often leads to over eating as we don’t realise how much we are consuming.
Have you got any tips that you’ve taken from your kids? We’d love to hear about them in the comments section.
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