Secrets of Gentle Eating
Always seek out the advice of your pediatrician or a pediatric dietitian if you feel your child’s eating habits are detrimental to them. The following is not meant to be medical advice.
Kids can have some peculiar eating habits. Some kids seem too busy to ever eat, others may just eat just a few bites, and we worry if they are getting enough.
So how does a gentle parent balance their responsibility for their child’s health and a child’s picky eating?
Gentle parenting encourages parents to let their kids control their own eating.
I see it like this: I have control over what I offer my kids. And they have control over eating it--focus on controlling what YOU can control.
How to Set Limits With Food
1. I can control when I offer my kids food.
At home, on a routine day, I offer my kids food every 2 hours. They may or may not eat.
On special days if we are really busy or active, I will offer my kids food after any physical activity.
2. I can control what I offer my kids to eat.
When I am planning our food out for the week, I make sure that my kids get choices. For example, I like to feed my kids fruit for at least 1 snack every day, so I let them choose any fruit we have--or I let them choose between yogurt and cheese for their dairy snack.
When I make meals, I make sure there is something included that each of my kids will eat. A common dinner we have is turkey bacon, eggs, and biscuits. My husband and I will make sandwiches, but my oldest will eat just bacon with biscuits and jelly. My six year old will fill up on the eggs, and my littlest girls will eat biscuits mainly, maybe some eggs.
3. I teach them about their bodies.
When we are eating, I remind my kids that their bodies will tell them when they are done. I ask them if they are done eating or if they feel full, and they just stop when they are done--unless it’s candy because they will eat themselves sick. But I feel like that’s an important thing for them to experience, too.
Gentle parents don’t force their kids to eat. They trust kids to hit their calorie needs, and they use the power they have to offer their kids healthy choices.