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Does Intuitive Eating Work With Kids?

 
The cultural norm when I was a child was processed food. At the time the craze was fat free food, but people did not seem to care if it was processed or not. Fast forward to today, some people have become so obsessed with clean eating that they have developed eating disorders. In response an approach called intuitive eating was born. This technique reteaches people about how to approach eating, and it has been largely successful with helping those with eating disorders.
 
But… Is it an approach you should use with your kids who don’t have an eating disorder? In this video I will briefly tell you what intuitive eating is and give you a behavior analyst’s take on intuitive eating for young kids. 
 
As a sneak peak into the video, I think there are several GREAT things about this approach that you should consider adopting with your kids. Some of the positive things about using this approach with your kids include the following:
  • It calls out "diet culture." Dieting involves restricting food groups and food amounts. Research shows that dieting results in weight fluctuations and a lot of mental health issues. It also is linked to a risk of developing an eating disorder.
  • It helps teach your kids to get in touch with their body’s hunger cues.
  • It encourages your child to make age-appropriate choices about what they eat, how much, etc.

There also a few things that you may want to think twice about. Some specific thoughts I share include:

  • Very little research about using this approach with kids currently exists.
  • Kids often need to try things several times before learning to enjoy eating them. This approach may discourage kids from trying things enough times.
  • Some food is more nutritious than others. In my professional opinion, highlighting this does not mean your child will develop an unhealthy relationship with food. 
 
 
 
 

 

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