The importance of helping kids recognize hunger and fullness…The next installment in how to teach your kids to LIVE “H”EALTHY.
[/stextbox]Do you want to give your children the tools to stay lean through adulthood? Helping them to recognize when they are hungry and full is one of the most important feelings that you can teach your kids. Yes, that feeling of being hungry and of being full. Sounds so basic, but it isn’t anymore. The world is different and our kids need to react to all the availability of food and drinks that are easily accessible.
How can we teach our kids these feelings of hunger and satiety? As parents, our role is to offer our children balanced, healthy foods at regular mealtimes. Our children’s role is to eat this food until they are full. If your children sit down at the table hungry, quite hungry…you will amazed at how well they will eat. This means being strict sometimes and saying “only water” for drinks before meals and saying “no” to snacks right before meals. Having your children be really hungry when they sit down to eat is a privilege for them too….they enjoy their meals and are more likely to taste that new food on their plate if they are hungry. Offer small portions and suggest second helpings if they have finished their food. Never force your kids to finish their plates, but don’t give in to allowing them dessert if they haven’t eaten their food. All of this may sound strict, but once you get into a pattern and your kids know what is expected of you, they will follow along.
Main goals: limit snacks and drinks before meals, kids sit down at the table HUNGRY, small portions and seconds allowed and finally children leaving the table full. Try not to give into giving snacks after meals, the message should be to leave the table full. And your kids will survive if they don’t eat one of their meals well…the next meal is usually not far away.
A funny story: last summer lunch was late…that happens. And boy, were the 4 kids starving. When they finally sat down at the table, I put some fresh radishes out for mainly my oldest daughter to eat. The rest of the meal wasn’t ready yet. The kids were so hungry that they devoured all the fresh radishes…even my just turned 3-year-old. I couldn’t believe it! That is the power of hunger!
Tell me a funny story of how hungry your kids were one day and what they ate…would love to hear about it!