(In conjunction with National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, I’m posting tips each day to prevent disordered eating.)
Between the War on Obesity and the mortality rate of anorexia nervosa, parents are throwing their hands up in surrender. What do we feed our children? Not too much or clean your plate? Even more, parents may get caught up in conflicting nutrition science and can’t begin to decide what to serve at home.
- Consistent meal times allow a child to experience the body’s hunger and fullness cues. These cues help maintain optimum energy balance as well as enjoy food.
- They learn they won’t always like what is offered and how to stay calm. (Their future dates will thank you!)
- It is normal to start to feel hungry as meal time approaches. Set meal and snack times help kids learn how to tolerate lower levels of hunger without panicking. This skill helps prevent bingeing and hoarding.
- Kids learn to say “no thank you” when they don’t like something and “I’ve had enough” when offered another helping. Learning these words via modeling helps them to be more confident around different foods and different people.
- A child noticing a parent stopping to eat and nourishing herself helps the child learn vital self care skills. These skills can then become natural foundations to their adult lifestyles.