Healthy Eating with Kids: Body over Mind?

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3393997634_ce8fc76c51_m“I want more ice cream, Auntie,” screams my niece, a full cone towering in her hand.

“You’ve already got a cone.”

“But I want more.”

I know what she means. I’ve certainly had those days when it feels like there isn’t enough ice cream in the world to satisfy me. But I’ve also seen the same little girl leave a chocolate chip cookie on her plate because she’d had enough to eat. What gives? To me, it comes down to body and mind. The mind always wants ice cream– hence wanting more before even finishing her cone. This is the head talking. But when she’s full, that’s it. This is the body talking. I’m curious when exactly these get mixed up and we start listening to our head more than our body?

My sister usually gives my niece dessert when she asks for it. When she’s has tons of candy, at a party, for example, she cuts it off. But there have also been a few times when she’s taken her to Friendly’s and allowed her to order a ridiculous king-sized banana split, or the pancakes with a smiley face written on them in whip cream, any child’s fantasy.

I really like this idea, because it establishes that you can eat as much as you want sometimes and there’s nothing wrong with it. Sometimes pigging out is fun and it’s o.k., especially if it’s not every day. When she remembers these times, I think she’ll be better prepared to handle the times when she’s in charge of her own food choices. She wont feel deprived, and she’ll know that she’ll always be able to have ice cream, when she wants it.

Photo by D Sharon Pruitt via flickr.

2 Responses (Add Yours)

  • Sagan says:

    That’s a great way to raise a child. It promotes a healthy relationship with food and gives them the choice of how much to eat without letting them go completely out of control.

    Sagan’s last blog post..Race Challenge: Success

  • vasilia says:

    I often wonder if a lot of my weight isn’t thanks to the fact that I was told every day of my life that I couldn’t have a snack, candy, etc. I was teeny tiny in my childhood and 20s, but have constantly been at war with food and I’m definitely not winning. :) You are absolutely right – somewhere along the way the head starts thinking it is deprived even when the body doesn’t feel the deprivation.

    vasilia’s last blog post..FRESH Benefit for SFC in Austin

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