Unlike trendy diets you read about, intuitive eating is an approach to eating that involves a set of skills we’re born with. In fact, if you need a mentor for intuitive eating, watch a toddler navigate mealtime. Shell have a melt-down when food is required and not being delivered. He’ll turn his head from a nasty spoonful of something he doesn’t like. She starts to throw food on the floor when she’s put enough of it in her belly.
Then, in an attempt to gain control of mealtime, the adult steps in: good behaviour gets a cookie reward; TV is denied when food is left on the plate. The mind-body connection can get broken.
Help little ones protect their body wisdom by encouraging them to try new foods, and not forcing them to eat more than they want. As soon as they’re old enough, allow them to fill their own plates with the amount of food they’d like.
- Avoid using food as a reward.
- Avoid commenting on a child’s appetite or appearance.
- Avoid expressing your own negative body image issues in front of your child.
- Focus on the health benefits of food (e.g., to build strength or promote endurance) rather than their calorie count.