A new study just came out showing a relationship between feeling full and craving MORE food.
Before we dive into the implications of this extraordinary finding, let me point out two things. First, the study was conducted on rats. Second, the rats were taught to associate being full with receiving highly palatable foods. So, no, there probably is no natural relationship between being full and craving food. On the other hand, one of the things we know is that as a society we systematically teach kids that they typically receive highly palatable treats when they are full, so yeah, this study is important.
If you’ve ever made your children finish their food before they can have dessert, then you know how the full/palatable treat relationship begins.
Research tells us that parents of young children are:
- More responsive to hunger cues than to satiety cues. Read The 2-More-Bites Tango.
- Overwhelmingly concerned about getting more food into their children. Read Are You Teaching Your Toddler to Overeat?
- Often don’t believe children who say they’re full. Read The Dinner Dance.
Did you read The Dangers of Feeding a Fussy Baby? That’s an eye-opener too.
I bring this up now because pretty soon we’ll be in the eating season. Yup. Halloween is in a few short weeks. Then, well, we’re pretty much full-on holiday eating until…I’d like to say January but to be safe, let’s say February.
Over the holidays, we almost always make our children eat “healthy” before they eat their treats. In other words, we fill kids up before giving them more food.
Indeed, many health experts explicitly recommend that you fill your kids up with healthy foods before sending them trick or treating with the idea that full kids eat fewer sweets. I’ve always said that’s a specious argument. Kids, even full kids, eat candy. And now this study…Sure, it’s not conclusive, but it’s got to make you think.
Prepare for the Holiday Eating Season by asking yourself one question: What lessons do you want your children to learn this year about holiday eating?
I often joke that the one rule I taught my daughter about holiday eating was, Don’t throw up.
And I still believe that monitoring how much you’re eating is the most important skill children need to learn. ‘Cause let’s face it, holiday eating isn’t going away.
But there are a slew of other holiday lessons.
- Eat what you like, not what’s available.
- Bookend holiday meals/festivities with a few treatless days before and after.
- Techniques for handling buffets without bursting.
- What it’s sometimes a sane strategy to come to a meal hungry and other times it’s important to arrive with some food already in your belly.
What lessons do you want your children to learn about holiday eating?
If you’re unsure, ask yourself, What lessons do you wish you had learned? And take it from there!
~Changing the conversation from nutrition to habits.~