Sim­ple steps can help con­trol eat­ing

The Tribune (SLO) - - Sports Classified­s - BY CASEY SEIDENBERG

Just as chil­dren need sup­port when they learn to read, write or ride a bike, they need sup­port learn­ing to eat in mod­er­a­tion, es­pe­cially dur­ing snack time. If you want to teach your chil­dren to snack and eat sweets in mod­er­a­tion, fol­low these six steps.

1. Chil­dren won’t be able to rec­og­nize how much they should eat at snack time if they don’t un­der­stand how hun­gry they are. Ex­plain what hunger feels like and how to tell when feel­ing full, then ask how hun­gry they feel be­fore ev­ery snack. This will help chil­dren con­nect hunger lev­els to the amount they choose to eat.

2. Our chil­dren must learn to trust their own con­stantly chang­ing hunger and sati­ety cues, oth­er­wise they may learn to ha­bit­u­ally overeat. As Dina Rose says in her book “It’s Not About the Broc­coli,” “even if it turned out, by some stroke of magic, that you do know how much your kids ought to eat, you still shouldn’t in­ter­fere. Teach­ing kids to trust your in­stincts rather than their own in­stincts pre­vents your chil­dren from learn­ing how to self-reg­u­late.”

3. Give them prac­tice. Just as chil­dren need prac­tice read­ing be­fore they reach chap­ter books, and prac­tice driv­ing be­fore they hit the roads alone, they need prac­tice fig­ur­ing out how much they should eat at any one time. By giv­ing kids con­trol over how much they eat at ev­ery meal and snack, you are giv­ing them the mod­er­a­tion prac­tice they need.

4. Set a spe­cific snack time. Snack times should be des­ig­nated be­tween break­fast and lunch, be­tween lunch and din­ner and should be kept brief. After sit­ting down and en­joy­ing a snack, your child should move to an­other ac­tiv­ity and given plenty of time to re­build an ap­petite be­fore the next meal.

5. Cre­ate a re­frig­er­a­tor snack drawer full of foods such as hard-boiled eggs, blue­ber­ries, car­rots and yogurt, and al­ways have a bowl of fresh fruit on the counter. Also, cre­ate a snack drawer out­side the re­frig­er­a­tor. Fill it with mostly healthy snacks such as ap­ple­sauce, raisins and nu­tri­tious bars, but add a few less healthy items, such as left­over candy. Ex­plain that at snack time, they may eat from ei­ther of these lo­ca­tions.

6. Set a fam­ily rule for sug­ary foods. Let’s say you al­low one sug­ary food a day. Tell your chil­dren it is en­tirely up to them when to have that food each day. It could be dur­ing snack time, in a lunch­box or after din­ner. Then place the sug­ary snacks next to the healthy snacks. Do this be­cause a child who truly lis­tens to their body might reach for the candy but then see the ap­ple­sauce and de­cide that is what they re­ally de­sire.

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