Ever had the challenge of getting your toddler to eat? I swear every day it’s like going to battle getting my son to eat his dinner. I thought I would never have the child who turned up his nose at healthy things. No, my child would be the one who asked for seconds on kale—who craved it. Um…not so much. I’m not proud to admit how dependent I’ve become on bribery tactics too. “Just five more bites and you can get up from the table. Just three more bites and you can watch Blaze & The Monster Machines. Just two more bites and you can have a cookie.” But the silver lining of this eating challenge is that it serves as a bonding experience. I can’t just serve him dinner and then clean the kitchen or surf my phone. I need to focus on getting him to eat. No TV, no phone, just he and I…and a plateful of untouched healthy fare that I swear he is going to consume!
The other positives for me are the eating habits I’ve picked up from watching him. These 5 mindful tips long forgotten by moms and dads because of the busyness and impatience of adult life. These tips, if practiced daily, would keep one slim for life.
1). If you Don’t Like it Don’t Eat it: Frustrating as a mother when your child doesn’t eat something, but this is great to keep in mind as an adult! How often do we just eat something because it’s there and we are bored, sad, frustrated, anxious or because it’s just habit to eat at a certain time. I think as the speed of life increases the quality of our food choices decrease. Be picky about the quality of your food and choose only what you truly enjoy.
2). You Don’t have to Eat Everything on Your Plate: How often does a toddler clean their plate? Never. It’s not good to waste food, but I think there is a happy medium we’ve forgotten along the way to adulthood. Instead of heaping amounts, serve yourself reasonable portions and work to leave a bite or two behind.
3). Stop When You’re Full: Even if your toddler really likes the flavor of something they will stop when they are full. They don’t like the bloated, uncomfortable feeling. We as adults become desensitized to stopping when we are full. Eating disorders when we are in our teens, abusing portion sizes, fake food and chowing too fast all have contributed to messing up our satiety cues and hormones.
4). Engage in Conversation: Ugh sometimes all I want is for Camden to focus on eating, but he is interested in making car noises, singing and talking. As an adult it’s healthy to take time to share meals with family and friends, focusing on the conversation (forks down when focusing on friends) instead of inhaling our food. Instead we try to squeeze a couple extra minutes out of our day by hunching over and eating at our desk alone.
5). Slow and Steady: Sometimes it’s a bit monotonous watching my toddler place each individual cut up spaghetti noodle or pea on his spork and then make the journey to his mouth, but it is a critical part of strengthening his hand-eye coordination. As adults we tend to just shovel. Go go go, got to eat fast. Often I can honestly say that I don’t fully chew or taste what is going into my mouth. How sad. He reminds me that I need to slow down and properly cut and chew my food.
It is so cool the new lessons and perspectives I learn from my child every day. Do you have healthy eating habits you’ve learned from your children? I’d love to hear. Wishing you a mindful day. xx CC
Photography courtesy of Lindsay Napiorkowski
For those of who haven’t entered my Most Inspiring Friends Contest, entry is below and a post about it here. It’s a great way to gift your most motivational friend. The winner will be announced on my facebook June 24th.