We often teach our children lessons, but there are a lot of lessons they can teach us if we pay attention. We can learn from their eating habits and if we were to mimic them then we could possibly shed a few pounds.
There is an unmistakable method to the way toddlers eat. Some children will not eat until they have fully scrutinized the content and many take care to chew their food quite methodically. They do not fork and swallow like we do when we are in a hurry. They do not just down the first thing that is available in a bid to satisfy their hunger. Over time our eating habits are determined by our surroundings and we often succumb to the eye-catching advertisement that sends us scurrying to purchase some deliciously juicy burgers and fries and before you know it, many of us become fast food junkies.
Here are some pointers we can learn from our kids' eating habits.
1. They Sit and Have Their Meals
Interestingly, many of us teach our kids that they should sit while having their meals but then we grow up and forget our very advice. Sitting while eating meals has its merits and one study shows that when we sit down and eat in that position we become more focused than when standing, enabling us to be more aware of things like how much we are eating. A comparative study showed that people who sat down to eat lunch tended to eat a significantly smaller snack in the afternoon than people who ate while standing at a food counter.
Kiddy Advice: Consider sitting while having your meal and resist the urge to multitask. When we stand or walk while eating we tend to make poor decisions and we feel our expanding waist more easily than when standing.
2. Stop When You Are Full
When our kids have had enough food they tell us. (In fact, sometimes they actually toss their plates away). We, on the other hand, do not always do so and eat even when our stomachs are screaming stop. It is wise to stop when you are full, no excuses - just full stop.
Kiddy Advice: Eat when you are hungry and stop when you are full. Pay attention to your body's signals and resist the temptation to eat what your spouse left on his or her plate.
3. They Do One Thing At a Time
Kids do not have the many responsibilities that adults have and they do not have to have to do a million things at once. One of the main factors that often results in our overeating is multitasking while we eat. This can lead to problems because we may just simply reach for whatever is within easy reach instead of eating something nutritious. Because we are in a hurry or preoccupied with something else, we may either overeat or fail to eat enough.
Kiddy Advice: Do not eat while you are engaged in any other activity. Do not snack while surfing the net or while enjoying your favorite movie. A recent study shows that women who eat while they are preoccupied tend to gain more weight than those who do not eat at such times.
4. They Relish the Taste of Their Food
Kids like to savor the taste of their food and they will not simply eat because they feel the urge to do so. In fact, if they don't like what's on the menu they will refuse it outright. However, adults tend to be less discriminatory and we are inclined to even eat that which we do not like, especially if we are eating on the run.
Kiddy advice: The next time you bite into a fruit, be sure to eat it slowly savoring the taste piece by piece and bit by bit; make this a lifestyle habit. Why? Current research shows that people who take account of their food and pay attention to what they eat tend to be less overweight.
5. They Don't Eat Like a Horse
Children do not sit down with an entire box of Cheerios in front of the TV. We don't allow them to do so. The irony is that we generally tend to give our children healthy food in small servings and we ensure they sit and eat while most of us do the opposite.
We adults should practice what we teach and sit and eat at the table with a single serving of healthy food (and the rest of it safely in the fridge or cupboard) instead of lugging an entire box of pizza to the sofa-side table where we eat it absent-mindedly on the couch while watching a favorite show. The latter is one of the surest ways to pack in unwanted calories.
Kiddy advice: Eat from a plate (which is a good serving size controller) having placed the leftovers in the fridge and enjoy it. You are just as valuable as your kid so why not eat that way?