Taking Your Kids on Your Intuitive Eating Journey

child-eating-bananaIt is a lot easier to reach your goals when you are working with someone else, right?

 

You can share your intuitive eating journey with someone who looks up to you the most, your child.  Your child can be that someone!

 

As a parent you are a role model for your child. Even if you aren’t aware of it, you can influence your child’s thoughts and behaviors.  So whether you already have kids or are planning to have them in the future, it’s a great idea to model your intuitive eating journey to help instill a healthy relationship with food and feelings of self-worth.

 

You are born an intuitive eater, so chances are your child can help you on your journey as well.

 

Young children…

 

  • Have the ability to listen to their hunger and fullness cues.
  • Will not starve themselves or overeat.
  • Eat slowly, waiting between each bite until they reach for their next forkful.

 

As children age and see family members or the media describe food as “bad”, they may start to move away from eating intuitively.  Their relationship with food and their body may start to change.  If you take them on your intuitive eating journey with you, you may be able to help them continue on as an intuitive eater.

 

Here are 3 ways to help your kids stay intuitive:

 

  1. Banish the “clean your plate before dessert” threat. Like I said before, children are very in tune with their hunger and fullness cues.  If you want them to clean their plate, they will most likely overeat.  If this is a chronic problem with your child, try giving them smaller portions.  If they are still hungry, they will ask for more.

 

  1. Focus on a healthy relationship with food. While on your intuitive eating journey, you learn about the importance of moderation and listening to your body.  If your child sees that you are not afraid to eat certain foods and you stop when you are satisfied rather than stuffed, they will model that behavior.  You will show them there is no such thing as “bad food” or “good food” and they will develop a healthy relationship with food.

 

  1. Show the importance of loving your body. As you’re sitting with your child, talk about what you love about your body, whether it’s physical (“my eyes”), or something your body does for you (“my eyes help me see your beautiful smile”).  By doing this, your child will gain a positive body image and show her own body love.

 

I know showing self-love can be hard to do, especially if you are struggling with it yourself.  So here is an activity you and your child can do together before bedtime:

 

  • Ask your child to tell you what they love about you, or their favorite characteristic about you. Then you tell your child what you love about them, or your favorite characteristic about them.

 

Your intuitive eating journey can become a way to bond with your child.  The two of you can work on your journey together, making it a family affair.

 

So remember, don’t go on this journey alone!  Include your child and teach them about your journey.  You never know, they might teach you a few things too.

 

If you would like more guidance on how to teach mindful eating to your kids, come join my free training Mindful Eating for Families: A Parent Class with Megrette Fletcher, RD.  Sign up for notification on when the next class is available here.

 

 

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