“ The secret to feeding a healthy family is to love good food, trust yourself and share that love and trust with your child.”Ellyn Satter, Secrets of Feeding a Healthy Family
Do you trust yourself and your child around food?
The answer to this question is usually no because in today’s diet culture we are being told that we can’t trust ourselves or our children around food. We have lost touch with listening to what our bodies need and rely on external people/apps/plans to tell us what, when and how much to eat.
You might be afraid of hunger and never let yourself get hungry. You might be eating barely enough for your body all day and then at the end of the day you can’t fight your body anymore and you end up eating a lot more. You might wait too long to eat and are ravenous and then can’t stop eating. You might tell yourself that you just ate so you can’t possibly be hungry. You might suppress hunger with powders, supplements or coffee to avoid eating.
Do you regularly tell your child to eat more or less or do you trust them to know how much to eat for their growing bodies?
Children are born knowing exactly how much to eat and without restriction they will eat what’s right for their body. Keep in mind that their body may not fit the unrealistic thin body that we’ve been told is “healthy”. It’s our job as parents to accept them as they are, offer them a variety of foods and let them trust their own bodies to tell them how much they need to eat.
As a parent you can start trusting and honoring your hunger and allow your child to honor their hunger without telling them they’ve had enough or they should eat more. If you’ve been restricting your child for a while or trying to get your child to eat more than they want, then the relationship might need repairing and you may have to build some trust.
It might make you uncomfortable to see how much they eat when you stop controlling them but trust that eventually it will even out. Your child’s appetite will fluctuate from day to day and some days they need way more food than other days and that’s ok. The same goes for your daily appetite, so relax and honor your hunger.
Just an FYI, this doesn’t mean to let them graze all day and eat every time they say they want a snack, because I know how much kids love their snacks 🙂 We’ll talk about snacking and grazing in another post!