Raising an intuitive eater

January 24, 2022

Raising intuitive eaters includes trusting your kids to listen to their body, and giving them the vocabulary & tools to listen to their body. But, how  do you actually get your kids to listen to their body? How can you teach them the vocabulary needed? How do they learn to listen to their bodies?  

First, let’s start with what is intuitive eating?

According to Evelyn Tribole (the co creator), Intuitive eating is a compassionate, self-care eating framework that treats all bodies with dignity and respect. It is a dynamic interplay of thought, emotion, and instinct rooted in listening to your body’s sensations through a process called interoceptive awareness. WHOA… you mean it’s not just eating what I want when I want? And on that token, it’s not just letting your kids eat whatever whenever. That’s where gentle nutrition comes in – especially when it comes to supporting the growth and development needs of your children. 

They, (just like us!) need to know what they feel, how to describe it, and that they have us listening. They need us to coach them, and that can feel super hard if you’re battling your own negative self talk. 

Let’s start with the 3 things NOT to say…

  • You’ve had enough
  • Stop grabbing junk from the pantry
  • No cookies until you’ve finished your vegetables

Chances are, you’ve had similar statements said to you and so have your kids. So, why aren’t these statements helpful? It perpetuates the idea that they shouldn’t trust their bodies and that you don’t trust them. It also reinforces that we don’t trust our own bodies.  

Instead of “you’ve had enough” try saying…

  • Isn’t this (food) so good??
  • How does your belly feel?
  • Do you think you need some more bites or should we save it for later?

Instead of “stop grabbing junk from the pantry” try saying…

  • Is your belly feeling hungry right now?
  • It’s not snack time right now, let’s set this aside and we will have it at snack time.
  • Let’s add something to this so it gives your body really good energy.

Instead of “No cookies until you’ve finished your vegetables” try saying…

  • Serve the cookies together with the meal and don’t say anything. 
  • No, really. Don’t say anything! Enjoy that cookie with your kid

We all want our kids to have a healthy relationship with food and it starts by teaching them to trust their bodies while modeling food positive language. 

In my group coaching program, Blissful Meals Family Program, I teach you how to repair or improve your own relationship with food while instilling a strong sense of intuitive eating for your kids. We want to save them the years of dieting we struggled with, and it’s possible with body and food respect.

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