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Making Mealtime Matter: How to Help Your Child Eat Intuitively

 This is a sponsored post written by Dina of @dinabrez on behalf of London Littles. All opinions are 100% hers. 

Feeding kids isn’t always easy. Parents never seem satisfied with their kids eating habits. Either the kids aren’t eating enough or it’s impossible to curb their appetites. A recent virtual seminar with dietician Rachel Goodman on the ABCs of eating intuitively provided tools to help parents at mealtime sans the power struggle! 

Making Mealtime Matter: How to Help Your Child Eat Intuitively

 King's Cross Green Rain Boots

Eating intuitively: What is it? 

Eating intuitively is described as a style of eating that follows personal cues for hunger and fullness. Research has shown that restricting yourself in the food department will lead to lifelong struggles with food. This applies to adults and kids alike! Check out these helpful hints to encourage positive attitudes surrounding food and healthy body image.

▪ The Parents RoleIn case you thought eating intuitively meant letting your toddler roam free in the pantry, it's not! A parent’s responsibility is to provide the what and the when. The parent should decide what will be served at the meal and when it is time for said meal. Now comes the intuitive part. The child should decide how much. Whether that is an entire plate of food or a few bites, trust them to know how much food their body needs. This will vary from kid to kid.
Making Mealtime Matter: How to Help Your Child Eat Intuitively

 Used with permission from @kids.eat.in.color

▪ The Safe Food OptionA “safe” food is something you are sure the kids like and gives them the freedom to choose it during mealtime. It is great to expose children to different foods, giving them the opportunity to try something new, but be sure to put out at least one “safe” food. This ensures that they have a definite option while being exposed to other delicious foods.

 ▪ The Words We Use. Food is neither good nor bad. It provides people energy to go about life. This can and should be explained to kids! When parents say, “You can have a cookie when you finish your chicken,” they are essentially conveying that the cookie is better than the chicken and it is something to be earned. Instead, parents can offer a cookie with their meal. This exposure removes the fear that something sweet won’t be available to them. Now, they can happily enjoy their food with the confidence that they’re allowed cookies too. See some other ways from nutritionist Jennifer Anderson to address sweets.

Making Mealtime Matter: How to Help Your Child Eat IntuitivelyUsed with permission from @kids.eat.in.color

 The Family Effect

Mealtime with the whole family has many benefits. When kids see their parents enjoying food it will spark conversation around different types of food and an interest in trying new things. Additionally, if a child is interested in cooking, getting them involved in an age-appropriate manner will create positive moments between parent and child and good feelings around food.Making Mealtime Matter: How to Help Your Child Eat IntuitivelyParents want their children to get all the vitamins and nutrients that are in food. When the pressure to eat a specific food or an exact portion size is removed, then children can be at peace with food and with themselves. Here’s to raising happy and healthy humans!

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