All I Need Need To Know About Eating I Learned From My 2 Year Old Nephew
I hope you had a wonderful July 4th Celebration! I spent a fabulous 4 days in our house in the Berkshires, lounging around, eating good food, swimming in the lake, and spending time with my family, including my brother, sister-in-law, 2 year old nephew Gabe and 10 week old niece, Sasha.
I love watching children around food, because we ALL started our lives with a normal relationship to food, aka Intuitive Eating. Then life happens to us, we get older, form ridiculous rules and guidelines, diets happen, and as Gabe would say, Kaboom–“normal” eating goes out the window. So it delightful to be reminded of how human beings truly were meant to eat.
1. Eat when you’re hungry, stop when you’re full. Always the simplest and most direct guideline, but often the most difficult (I know it is for me). Gabe would eat when he was hungry and stop when he was full, no matter how much food he had left on his plate. Even if it meant setting him up in his high chair, preparing his meal, only to have him take 1 bite and proclaim himself finished!
2. If you don’t like what you’re eating, stop eating it and ask for something different. It’s amazing how a little boy could put down a sandwich after one bite, say “Yuck” and then ask for what he REALLY wanted. How often have you eating a meal because it was in front of you when you could’ve ordered something else.
3. Prepare. I’m not a mother yet, but if you are or have friends with children, you know it’s all about thinking ahead and preparing. Wherever we went we were armed with a juice box, raisins, animal crackers, or some other snack. Do the same for yourself. Don’t get stuck without the food that YOU like…always prepare!
4. You can always eat again later. I love how Gabe would eat his meal and then an hour later, want to eat again. Does that happen to you? You eat a meal and then you feel hungry, but you say to yourself, How can that be? I JUST ate? Perhaps you had a light meal, you’re catching up for eating less food the day before, or your meal was devoid of fiber, fat, or protein. If you’re body is hungry, eat! Or, you can try drinking some water or tea first, because many times we confuse hunger with thirst.
5. Make eating fun. Watching a child eat is fun, right? Messy, too. But when a child is in the mood to eat, they delight in it. I couldn’t tear a bag of Pirate’s Booty away from my nephew, and I enjoyed watching him eat with gusto. So, enjoy your food!
6. Sharing is caring. I am blown away at how good of a sharer Gabe is. If I asked for an animal cracker, he would take one and place it in my mouth. And then he would keep going, offering me his snacks with a huge smile on his adorable face. So often we (me included) enter this place of scarcity with food. We have to eat fast, fast, fast before someone gets our portion. And, oh no! What happens when I get to the bottom of the bag? Well, the answer is…you can always buy more. Share what you love with others. Except if it’s a tiny square of dark chocolate. I take that all for myself.
So go ahead and bring out your inner child! Not only with food, but with life itself. Go ahead: have fun, giggle, and make a mess!