When our kids say that they are really hungry and want food right NOW, we often tend to panic and give them what they want, even though dinner might be ready in 20 minutes.
Because they are obviously starving, right? And who are we to deny our kids food?
But actually, it’s completely fine for our kids to feel hunger. We shouldn’t starve them of course, but if we know that they had decent meals during the day and that dinner is ready soon, they can wait it out.
When my kids come into the kitchen saying they are sooo hungry, I usually tell them that I’m so glad that they are hungry and have an appetite, because dinner is ready very soon (and they don’t get mad at me anymore for saying that;))
Sometimes I ask them if they want to help me finish up dinner or I have them run 3 laps around the house – just to keep them occupied until dinner is ready.
As parents, we must be able to tolerate a little bit of hunger in our kids. This is not only to make sure they eat good wholesome food at dinner (instead of snacks), but also to teach them how hunger feels.
Because not being able to feel hunger is actually a precursor to overeating.
Part of becoming a Real Food Hero is to be able to attend to your inner cues on satiety and hunger, and we can’t teach our kids that if we constantly numb them with snacks.
Tip: Create a snack schedule if you don’t already have one. A good rule is: no snacks 1.5 hours before dinner. That way they will be hungry enough and not too hungry.