MIND WHAT YOUR KIDS EAT - A conscious effort to avoid Mindless Eating!
Bsc Food Science and Quality Control, Msc in Dietetics and Food Service Management
- Posted On June 13, 2017
Mindless eating simply means you’re not consciously involved in choosing your own food. Sometimes kids demand to eat their favorite food just because they are watching television or they feel hungry especially during exams. The reasons and situations for mindless eating in children could be unending but the implications of such type of eating could be adverse in the long run.
Children are pretty susceptible to this type of thoughtless munching. This is an unsound habit because it leads us to eat the wrong food items, causes to eat too much than the required portions or makes us eat just as a distraction.
Fostering thoughtful eating in kids is important especially in their early years because the sooner they learn, better is the child’s relationship to food in the years to come.
Key Solution to reduce mindless eating in children is –We need to teach our kids to be good judges of their own hunger and help them exercise more conscious control over their food decisions.
Listed below are some of the suggestions from our FitterFly child nutritionists which can help you plant seeds of mindful eating in your kids:
- Giving gentle reminder: We need to remind our kids that more eating and more food is not necessarily better.
- It’s ok to be hungry: The tactic to avoid mindless eating lies in listening to the signals given by your body and distinguishing between different hungers. It’s also actually fine to feel a little hungry. Teach kids to wait between their meals, rather than just hogging the minute they feel hungry. Setting a meal pattern for the kids and helping them to select healthy foods as fillers can solve this kind of untimely munching.
- Out of sight out of mind policy: Try to keep unhealthy food out of sight for eg keep junk foods at the back of the kitchen cupboard or the refrigerator. Instead of chips, biscuits & colas, stock up on something healthy like fruits, dry fruits, fruit juices, etc in your kitchen.
- Providing variety of healthy foods: Greater variety of food types and colors encourage greater consumption. But remember, choose this variety from the healthy food groups and limit the not-so healthy options!
- Size of my plate: If you put a bigger serving plate/bowl in front of the kids, they serve more and eat more. So the plate size matters big time!!! Always portion the packaged food in a bowl and never consume directly from a packet to understand how much you have actually eaten. Tall glasses can be used to consume water to ensure enough is ingested daily.
- Distraction free environment: Mealtime should be for sitting, talking, and eating your food, so as a dinner table rule don’t allow toys, books, watching television, mobile phones etc at the dinner table. Paying attention to food eaten helps the kid connect to the different flavors in it. Encourage your kids to taste the food, enjoy it and eat it slowly at the table.
You as a parent mostly choose what they are eating, they as children can choose whether and how much to eat. And this choice can be made only if they concentrate on what is being eaten.
The key to change thus lies in teaching the rules of better eating to the kids. Overall, a conscious effort by the parent is all that is required to mind what your child eats so that nutritious food can be seen as a priority in their life!
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