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12/20/17blog post

tips to stop overeating

I have had several parents recently ask me this question: “How can I help my child stop overeating?” What I am hearing from these parents, their child does not know their satiety level, or when they are full from eating.

My response (coupled with investigative questions):

  1. Is your child mindfully eating? Are distractions removed from the table and eating environment? Is your child eating in the car or on the run?  With our lifestyles being on the go, we need to be aware of mindful eating practices – knowing what/when/why we are eating. 
  2. Do you talk 5210 in your home? Refer to this catchy string of numbers to keep you aligned with healthy lifestyle tips:
    1. 5: Eating at least 5 fruits and vegetables a day.
    2. 2: No more than 2 hours of screen time (for fun) a day.
    3. 1: Be active for 1 hour a day.
    4. 0: Drink zero sugary beverages.  Reach for water and low fat milk.
  3. Do you have a snack list in your home?  Does your child know what foods are for everyday snacks and which snack foods are for 1-2 times a week? Work with your child in creating an everyday snack list – including a protein rich food list plus fiber rich food list. Together, these foods will help your child feel full and will teach your child healthy nutrition eating habits. Additionally, keep the foods you have listed on hand and a part of your weekly shopping list.
  4. Have you considered the 20 minute wait rule?  After a meal or snack, if your child is still hungry, wait 20 minutes before more food is served. During the 20 minute wait, encourage your child to engage in an activity. This may help take food off the brain.
  5. Have you considered journaling? Consider having your child talk or write their feelings about food when they are reaching for a snack or would like to eat more. Many times eating is related to emotions. Maybe your child is eating due to boredom, sadness, nervousness or excitement. Understanding how food is connected to our feelings is key to healthy eating habits.