Measuring Success at Meal Times

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Today’s Lunch

LOVE IT FOODS: strawberry, cantaloupe, homemade blueberry energy bites

LIKE IT FOODS: whole milk/organic/plain yogurt, @annieshomegrown bunnies

LEARNING IT: chop salad (carrots, celery, avocado, cucumber, "leaves")

Measuring Success

Apparently I should forget to take a before pic more often...this one was devoured! My daughter emphatically claimed she actually ate the salad too?! While I seriously doubt that, it does get me excited to see a lunch completely cleared out and reportedly consumed. It feels sooo tempting to consider this the most successful lunchbox I have ever sent, especially when many others come back almost untouched. I know better than to be measuring success on "emptiness" though.

Research shows us that raising our kids to be members of the clean plate club gives no guarantee they will become a healthy eater for life. Measuring success with a clear plate or empty lunchbox also doesn't establish healthy eating habits in the here and now. When we teach our kids to "eat everything in front of them," we abuse our role in the Division of Responsibility and negate the power for them to assume theirs.

Instead, teach your child to be in tune with their appetite. Train them how to listen to cues for hunger and fullness, then trust them when they act accordingly. Set clear boundaries so they know that skipping meals doesn't entitle them to snacking later. Find value and victory in the division of responsibility in feeding we have at this age and stage. Choose peace when offering plenty of nutrient-dense, filling options in your child's lunchbox. They may not always pick to eat the items or the amount of each that we wish, but it is more important to teach, train, and trust them to make smart choices.

Empowering them in their eating is what establishes lifelong healthy eaters. Use their lunchbox as a way to invest in this.

Don't forget to follow #loveitlikeitlearning on Instagram it to find more ideas and examples of how to apply this, or to share your own!