We all eat for a range of different reasons and not all of them are about being hungry.
During school holidays it's interesting to watch why we, and why our children eat. Is it because:
- They are bored? Often when we don't have enough to do eating provides a welcome distraction. I know when I'm totally engrossed in something I don't think about food (as much!)
- They are looking for attention? Asking for food is a good way to get our focus and have us doing things especially for them. This may not be consciously thought through in that way but the end result is that we are at their beck and call.
- They are behaving from habit? We all have routines and rituals around food. Some of these are physiological eg. if we always have breakfast at 8.00am then that's when we'll feel hungry. Some are just habits eg. movie theatres and popcorn! It's good to figure out what is true hunger and what's habit.
- They see food and so want it? My youngest still does this. He'll have a huge breakfast, we'll go somewhere and there is a spread of food and so he'll tell me he's hungry. If we have the cookie jar on the coffee table we're far more likely to be reminded about eating a biscuit than if it's in the pantry :)
- They feel a reward/commiseration is necessary? They have done something special so feel an ice cream is in order to celebrate. Or they have hurt themselves so seek a soothing "you'll be OK lollypop". I know when I think "celebrate" the first thing that pops into my head is food!
We are so hard-wired to feed our children when they are hungry, but it's good sometimes to stop and think. Are they really hungry or is there something else at play?
Judith is passionate about good food and is even more passionate about enabling other people to enjoy the wide variety of fresh food available today.