How to eat like a toddler

by Sheila Harrell

Nutritionist Nicolette Pace says that babies have a natural rhythm when it comes to eating. When babies are hungry, they make sure to let you know. They do not wait until they are empty, weak and lightheaded. The same is true with when babies feel full. They don’t eat past the point where they feel comfortable.

However, at some point adults lose this rhythm. Pace suggests that if we tap into our natural rhythm of eating, we could better manage our weight. If we eat when we are not hungry, we can’t recognize when we are full.

Weight gain occurs when we establish a pattern of eating until we are uncomfortably full and beyond. However, when we are in touch with body cues, we start eating when we are fairly or slightly hungry, or when we feel slightly uncomfortable and our stomach is rumbling. A good question to determine true hunger is, “Am I hungry enough to eat a carrot?”

Then, we stop eating when our stomach feels neutral or comfortable. We could eat more at this point but choose not to but rather stop eating when we are pleasantly satisfied. If you were actually a toddler, you would be pushing your plate away, or even throwing the food on the floor!

Challenge yourself to only eat until your stomach feels neutral, not full. But remember, if you only eat half of your peanut butter sandwich, you will have to clean up the rest yourself.

Good Tips from How Babies Eat:

  1. Eat only when you’re hungry, and when you feel full, push that plate away!
  2. Take your time and try to enjoy at least 15 minutes for each meal.
  3. Carry a snack-pack of fresh fruits or nuts. When you feel a “tantrum” coming on, grab your healthy alternative.
  4. Designate a “high-chair” for yourself—a designated place where you sit at a table and eat with a plate, cup and silverware, rather than in the car or on the way to the next thing

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