There is so much information out there about diets and food choices and trends that so many of us are not aware of what we really need. I have always been an intuitive eater and try and help my clients tune into their own needs instead of what some trending book or website is saying everyone should do. I took the integrative nutrition course a while back and I loved their philosophy called bio-individuality, basically that no two people are the same and what works for one might not work for another. Teaching your child healthy habits starts at first with you as they watch, mimic and become.
I recently was having lunch with my dear friend and go to dietitian Jessica Diamond https://www.jessicadiamondrdn.com/about about how parents can integrate more of an intuitive eating style with their kids. This is what she said:
Children have a natural ability with eating. They eat as much as they need, they grow in the way that is right for them, and they learn to eat food their parents eat when parents let them learn and grow with eating. Step-by-step, throughout their childhood, they build on their natural ability and become competent, intuitive eaters. Here are my top five tips to raising an intuitive eater that you should start following at the introduction to solids and carry into childhood.
- Follow the division of responsibility. Parents are only responsible for what, when and where of feeding. Babies and children are only in charge of how much and whether of eating. Parents stick with your job and let your child do their job. If your child only wants a couple of bites at a meal, honor that and end mealtime.
- Provide regular meals and snacks. Once your kid is old enough to have meals and snacks, make sure you have three regularly scheduled meals and a couple of snacks daily so your child can trust that they will be reliably fed. Do not let your child graze on food or beverages (except water) between meals and snack times.
- Aim for variety and prepare foods in different ways. Be family-friendly in your meal planning by being considerate without catering. Always include one food item at meals that you know your child is familiar with so that you are setting them up for success, but do not set the menu around their preferences.
- Let your child serve themselves and eat in their own way. Allow your child to eat fast or slow, a lot or a little, 1 or 2 foods. Let your child eat in any order, even if your child eats dessert first. Let your child have more of any food at meals, even if they have not cleared their plate or are only consuming 1 food item from the entire meal.
- Aim for pleasant meal times. Meal and snack times should be fun and stress-free, not a daily battle. Research shows that regular family meals make a big difference in the health and wellness of children. So parents, turn off the TV, sit together, and enjoy meals together. Meals are the best time to model for your children how they should behave at meals and a great opportunity for you to connect with your child and family.
For more tips from Jess check out her instagram @jessicadiamondrdn