goals for feeding children

A lot of the discussion I hear about feeding children is very focused on the short term: how to get healthy food into children now.

I started a Google search for “how to get kids….” and this is what came up as the most popular search questions:

how to get kids

Two out of the top five questions were about food! Getting kids to eat healthy is a major concern for parents!

Unfortunately, the goal seems to be entirely focused on the actual entry of food into the child’s body by whatever means possible. Imagine if this were how we made sure our kids got exercise! I’m envisioning a 5 year old strapped to a stationary fitness bike.

The focus is all wrong. It’s much more important to focus on developing eating skills in your children that will last a lifetime.

Nutritional health focuses on a long-term view. Your child will not develop a nutritional deficiency from eating a few unhealthy meals. Their bodies are very resilient in the short term! On the other hand, the human body has a long term failure rate of 100%. We all fall apart eventually, but eating healthy in the long term means we can skip many avoidable health complications.

So take a second to re-orient your outlook on getting your child to eat healthy. Are you focusing on the short term and doing everything you can to get your child to eat her dinner before she goes to bed tonight? If so, are you open to hearing about how focusing on her long term health instead could save her a lifetime of unhealthy attitudes towards food?

I hope so. The fantastic news is that focusing on the long-term view actually ALSO helps children eat healthier in the short term. It may not happen before bedtime tonight, but soon.

In this course I’ll be teaching you how to help your children become mindful, intuitive, competent eaters.

A competent eater is somebody who:

  • has good and healthy feelings towards food and eating
  • enjoys a variety of foods and has an open mind about learning to like new foods
  • is able to self-regulate food intake to match the body’s needs
  • sets aside time to eat and takes a mindful approach to eating

That definition for competent eaters comes from Ellyn Satter. She’s a renowned and highly respected Dietitian who has dedicated her career to researching the best methods for feeding children. I’ll talk more about this later, when I describe the feeding relationship, which Satter developed.

Reflection:

Have you been focusing on the short-term view of ensuring your kids eat X, Y, and Z every meal?

Reference:

http://ellynsatterinstitute.org/other/ecsatter.php