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 growâbut 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.
Tell you how to keep healthy body is powered by