Children and adults alike use food as a response to emotions such as anger, sadness and boredom. Unfortunately, this habit can lead to lifelong challenges with weight, nutrition and healthy emotional coping methods. Children that develop healthy eating habits early in life are less likely to struggle with nutritional issues. Discover how to tell if your child is genuinely hungry or just bored to help them maintain proper nutrition.
Signs of Emotional Eating
Emotional eating can be difficult to spot in children, but most tend to display one or more of the following signs. If you notice your child displaying any of them, you should review your current meal planning strategy or seek help from one of our on-site nutritionists for practical solutions that are tailored to your family’s needs.
- Grazes between meals and snacks
- Wants or expects food as a reward
- Constantly selects sweet or salty foods instead of healthy foods
Healthy Eating Strategies
Most pediatricians agree children only require three meals and one to two snacks a day to maintain optimal nutrition and avoid hunger pangs. However, highly processed junk foods can cause children to feel hungrier as they are not slow-digesting or satisfying. Healthy snacks for kids such as whole grain bars, fruit salad or sliced vegetables can sate your child’s appetite between meals. Limiting the amount of junk food in your home can also encourage children to make better choices.
Preparing healthy meals for kids is a cinch with advanced planning and can prevent emotional eating habits from forming. For more educational topics such as healthy recipes and more, check out our health resources today!