Tell you how to keep healthy body  Learning Healthy Habits From Our Children

Tell you how to keep healthy body Learning Healthy Habits From Our Children

Tell you how to keep healthy bodyThere are many important things that we need to teach children

as they grow—but they have many natural behaviors that we

Learning Healthy Habits From Our Children

There are many important things that we need to teach children

as they grow''but they have many natural behaviors that we

shouldn''t try to change. In fact, we could learn a few things

from kids! Here are some important lessons:

Eat when you are hungry. From the time they are born, babies

know when and how much they need to eat''and they cry to let us

know too! As they grow, this important instinct can be

un-learned. By the time they are adults, they may have learned

to eat for many other reasons besides hunger''mealtimes, tempting

food, stress, anger, boredom, and countless other triggers. By

recognizing the difference between needing to eat and wanting to

eat, adults can re-learn when and how much to eat too.

Stop eating when you are full. An infant will turn their head

away when they have had enough to eat, and a toddler will throw

a plate of food on the floor when they are done. But as adults,

we clean our plates because ''there are starving children''

somewhere''or just because something tastes good. I am not

suggesting that we start throwing our plates on the floor again,

but we need to remember that food is abundant in our society so

there is no need to eat it all now.

Being hungry makes you grouchy. Being hungry, tired, or

frustrated make children''and adults''crabby! Starving yourself

because you are too busy to eat or because you are trying to

Snacks are good. Kids naturally prefer to eat smaller meals with

snacks in between whenever they get hungry. That pattern of

eating keeps their energy level and metabolism stoked all day.

Adults who need to fire up their metabolism should try this too.

Play with your food. Most kids love to examine, smell, and touch

their food. Since eating is a total sensory experience, they get

the most from every morsel. This childlike approach will help

you eat less food while enjoying it more. You''ll appreciate the

aroma, appearance, and flavors more if you aren''t driving,

watching T.V., or standing in the kitchen!

All foods fit. Children are born with a natural preference for

sweet and higher fat flavors. Though parents sometimes worry,

these ''fun'' foods can be part of a healthy diet. In fact, overly

restrictive food rules usually lead to rebellious eating

anyway''just think about the last time you weren''t ''allowed'' to

eat something on a diet! Children and adults both eat healthier

when they learn to enjoy these less nutritious foods in

Be a picky eater. Kids won''t easily eat something they don''t

like. Think of how much less food you would eat if you didn''t

settle for food that tasted ''so-so.''

You can learn to like new foods. Healthy eating is an acquired

taste. Good nutrition is essential, so providing a variety of

appealing, healthful foods will benefit the whole family. In our

house, we have a two-bite rule. Everyone tastes two bites of

everything; if they still don''t like it, they don''t have to eat

it''but they have to try it again the next time we have it. Since

that is ''The Rule,'' there are no battles at the table and the

kids often surprise themselves by liking something they thought

they wouldn''t. (And we never say ''I told you so!'')

Follow the leader. Face it, kids watch, and often imitate,

everything we do. If they observe us eating a variety of

healthful foods and exercising regularly, then they will learn

to take good care of their bodies. Likewise, if they don''t hear

us making comments like ''I am so fat'' and ''she looks fat'' then

they are less likely to suffer from poor self-esteem and a

There is more to a party than cake and ice cream! Invite a child

to a party and they''ll want to know what they are going to get

to do. Invite an adult and they''ll wonder what food will be

served. You don''t have to avoid parties to keep your weight

down; just focus on the real purpose of social events''to be

Eating with your family is fun. Since babies and toddlers must

be fed by their parents, they naturally love eating with other

people. Family mealtime is your opportunity to model good habits

and connect with each other. Now that our kids are older, we

sometimes play ''High-Low'' at dinner. Each member of the family

takes a turn telling the others about the best and worst parts

of their day. What a door opener!

It''s boring to just sit around! Toddlers seem to be in perpetual

motion as they explore their world. Young kids love to run in

the grass, play on the playground, and challenge themselves and

each other to increasingly more difficult activities. Of course,

as they get older, television, computers, and electronic games

compete for their attention. In our family, to encourage other

activities, we use ''screen time'' which limits how much time our

children are allowed to spend on anything with a screen.

Sometimes adults would benefit by limiting their screen time and

exploring their world a little more!

Sleep is good. After a full day, children need a good night''s

sleep to prepare for all of the adventures that tomorrow will

hold. Wouldn''t we all benefit from a consistent bedtime to make

sure we get our rest too?

Live in the moment. Kids are masters at living in the present.

They don''t waste a lot of energy worrying about what has already

happened or what might happen tomorrow. They are fully engaged

in small pursuits like discovering where the ants are going,

chasing the dog, or seeing how deep they can dig with a plastic

shovel. We, on the other hand, continue to scurry around,

chasing after our dreams, and all the while, digging ourselves

deeper and deeper. We could learn a lot from children!

Michelle May, M.D. is a practicing Board Certified Family

Physician with expertise in the cognitive-behavioral aspects of

weight management. She is the author of Am I Hungry? What To Do

When Diets Don''t Work in collaboration with a Registered

Dietitian and Psychologist. Visit her website

http://www.AmIHungry.com for more ideas on managing weight

without dieting.Author: Michelle May M.D.

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