What Feeding My Child Has Taught Me About Food
By Kait Fortunato, RD, LD, CEDRD
As a Registered Dietitian I thought I knew everything I needed to know about food. But a few months ago that all changed when I started feeding my little girl. It has been eye-opening and thought-provoking all at the same time and I wanted to share some of my insights.
Food is fun. I took for granted just how much fun food and mealtimes could really be, and I think whether or not you have children, I would encourage you to bring the fun back to the table. I’m guilty of rushing through meals on my own but sitting with my child has taught me to slow down whether I like it or not. Sometimes we take a break to sing a song or count how many pieces of macaroni are left. She also cracks us up when she closes her eyes and lets out a big “mmmmmmmmmm” just to make sure we know how much she is enjoying the food.
It’s more than just the taste. Goodness help me with just how messy food can be. After meals, my floor is covered with crumbs that missed, my curtains had pieces of sweet potato stuck to it for who knows how long, it’s amazing how sticky her fingers can get! But I try to breath (HAHA) and let her really explore the texture, smell and sight of each new food we try.
Honor your food preferences. It’s amazing how one day we cannot get enough of a certain food and then the very next day we are not a huge fan. Some days my little one is just not in the mood for something or perhaps it was prepared in a different way and she likes that better. It’s a good reminder for us to keep trying new foods because you never know when you might enjoy it a certain way and to really honor your food preferences and listen to your body’s cravings.
Listen to your hunger and fullness cues. Along the same lines, watching a child eat is a beautiful reminder of how intuitive eating really works. Giving her around the same amount of food at various intervals, sometimes she will bang on the highchair for me to give her more when she runs out and other times she will take a few bites and look to be finished. It just goes to show that are body’s can guide us to eat when we are hungry and stop when we’re full and unfortunately, life schedules and external influences can interfere with these cues, but they are still there deep down!
If you would like help developing intuitive eating skills, please click here or call (301) 806-0556 to make an appointment with Kait or one of our other Empowered Eating dietitians.