5 Good Dieting Habits You Can Learn from a Toddler

August 27th, 2013

We should all eat like a toddler to develop good dieting habits. No, I do not mean throw your food around the room. While trying to maintain a healthy diet, dining out can be one of the biggest obstacles. It is hard to resist your favorite foods and the portions are often too large. Here is a way to eat the foods you love, while controlling your portion sizes.

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Recently, I was at a local restaurant eating a strawberry and spinach salad (in case you’re wondering). I could not help but notice the eating habits of the toddler one table over from me. She was eating her lunch with 3 items in front of her. They were:

  1. A cup of mac and cheese
  2. Half a turkey sandwich
  3. A chocolate chip cookie

Here’s what I noticed: She ate about half the mac and cheese, of course with her fingers, and only 2 bites of the sandwich. In typical toddler fashion, the tomato and lettuce from the sandwich were immediately thrown to the floor. She had 1 bite of the cookie, and then offered a bite to her mom, who was sitting across from her. How sweet I thought! This is a great example of portion control. Of course the toddler is not intentionally dieting, but there were good dieting habits to be learned from my observation. For example, if I only ate half of my entire meal and offered a taste of my dessert to someone else, I would be consuming fewer calories. It is also important to eat slowly. According to the American Dietetic Association, “It takes about 20 minutes for your brain to get the message from your stomach that you are no longer hungry.”


Good Dieting Habits

Here are 5 good dieting habits to consider when eating out:

  1. Eat slowly and take your time with each item.
  2. Eat smaller portions.
  3. Instead of finishing your entire meal, bring the other half home. This makes for a great snack or meal the next day.
  4. Share your dessert with others.
  5. Eat the foods you enjoy in moderation. This is not to be confused with eating junk food daily.

So, why did we ever stop eating like a toddler?

Written by Suzie Bonder

Suzie Bonder MS RD is a Registered Dietitian in the state of New Jersey and the founder of SDO Nutrition. Suzie specializes in nutrition and weight loss counseling. Follow Suzie on twitter @SDOnutrition.

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