Children are sponges and are NEVER too young to learn from you about healthy eating, food and nutrition. Healthy eating habits do not just appear, they are learned from our environment. And you are their teacher, chef, nutritionist and mentor with a lot of things, including food.
Here are four habits which you should aim to do for not only while you’re on the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge journey, but that you can also teach your children and family!
1. Eat at the table
One of the leading causes of weight gain is unconscious eating. We eat on the run, we eat in our cars, at our desks or we let our children eat with us in front of the television.
The reason why this leads to weight gain is firstly we forget we ate.
Secondly we don’t enjoy the food and savour it. Eating is about all of our senses, not just texture and taste. By denying the visual cues of food we do not fully enjoy the meal.
Eating at the table also means the occasion is the meal. We do not rush the meal and eat slower which in fact in itself can lead to eating less which is better for weight loss or avoiding weight gain.
Eating at the table is also important to do with your family and kids as it is a time to be able to model healthy eating habits for your children to learn. I’ll explain it more in the point below.
2. Eat together
This is probably the hardest in today’s work life balance. Each family does this differently but aim at least to eat with each other for most meals on the weekend.
Personally I have made the sacrifice with my husband to eat with our children on the weekdays for dinner. We also eat breakfast together each morning which is wonderful.
The reason why this eating habit is so important from a nutritional point of view is that research time and time again points to the age old monkey see monkey do. To be even more specific, children will more likely eat a food if their mother does. I know, more pressure.
In all seriousness, this is one of the most influential eating times spent with your children. Why would they eat it if you do not?
3. Don’t overfill your plate
There is no need to pile your plate sky high. Put less food on it, finish that, wait a period of time and if you are still hungry get more.
This goes for your children as well.
We are born with the ability to sense when we are full. Young children if left to themselves will naturally stop eating when they are full. This sense of satiety is a cue which has been lost as we over stuff and force feed our children and ourselves. Once lost it is difficult to retrain ourselves.
Put less on your child’s plate and do not force them to finish anything. This of course is different if they are playing funny buggers. That is a different post in itself.
4. Drink water
As in point 2, us parents and mothers are incredibly influential in our children’s eating and drinking habits. Drink water in front of them and as an accompaniment to your main meal. Water and milk are the only two drinks you child nutritionally NEEDS.
There are no reasons for a child to drink soft drink or juice at dinner time. Children do not NEED it. Nor do we if we are eating sensibly.