Counting calories, having balanced macronutrients (protein, fat, carbohydrate) at each meal, reducing your salt and sugar intake… etc the list goes on, are very common practices when it’s that time of the year when you’re so determined to lose the extra weight, get fitter or simply be healthier. On the other hand, what can you learn from a 2-year-old healthy and active toddler when it comes to feeding yourself better? Will you have a high dose of energy throughout the day? Will you not be overweight? Firstly, keep in mind that some of the above methods do not really work long term. For example counting calories.
If you pay attention to most of the natural, organic and healthy foods, they don’t really come with a label indicating it’s calories. For instance, you’ve never seen an apple with a written label mentioning the calorie intake. Nor have you seen a whole chicken, or an avocado, etc.. In the book “Spot On Nutrition” by Andrew Johnston, the author writes “United States Food and Drug Administration allows a 20% margin of error on the nutrition labels of foods? This means that 300 calorie “meal replacement” bar a person eats for lunch could pack an extra 60 calories which never get counted.” Once upon a time I’ve been on a high protein, low fat diet. I’ve also made the decision to be on a high carb low-fat and low protein along with being on a balanced diet. On all times I’ve managed to maintain my shape.
1) Weather and Food
My 2-year-old prefers fruits in the mornings, and that’s probably due to the fact that we live in a very hot area, and when the weather gets too hot, she prefers skipping it all together. Most of us are constantly told since we were probably young toddlers, that having breakfast is the most important meal of the day, it might be true for some people, and some areas in the world, but it might be not very good for others. Listening to what your body is asking you during the day is very important.
2) Carbohydrates Vs. Proteins
There are times she would ask me for meat, other days she might only prefer rice, other days she might like to mix them together. Considering the fact that I’ve spent so much time the last decade trying to learn and study about nutrition, I was very careful to include good amount of protein and balance it with carbs and fat at each meal, but what she has taught me was that it is ok to skip a macro nutrient if you’re not really feeling like having it.
It really started striking me lately how we human beings consume food, and force our children to eat even if they don’t feel hungry, till they reach a point that we can not control their eating behavior anymore, and then we try to do the complete opposite by sending them to dietician and experts to make them eat less. I always knew that we should have a snack in between meals, then she made me realize that the portions and the unnecessary stuff that we bulk up with are way more than what we really DO need.
I haven’t made my toddler get used to drinking many juices except for some coconut juice once in a while, I always offered her to eat the fruit as a whole and drink pure water, it is really amazing now to see how much she loves to drink water throughout the day without even making an effort.
Believe it or not, you can not feed her watermelon in the winter, or Kiwi in the summer, she simply wouldn’t accept it.