Hands up if you eat 10 times faster now you’ve got kids! I was always quite a slow eater, and obviously after studying nutrition I realised the importance of eating well, taking your time to eat your food, to eat consciously and to chew well. And then I had kids!
I remember with Sam breastfeeding at the same time as having dinner sat beside me. Because actually I never quite knew when I was going to eat. And it’s funny how just as you go to eat they wake up! It’s not surprising that they smell the food and their digestive system wakes up, that’s how everything’s supposed to work.
Then when I had Jessica, I had a toddler to feed as well as a baby. And as they’ve grown, they’ve been my focus, so when it comes to dinner, I’m watching them, helping them and not really taking much notice of how or what I’m eating.
So it’s time to think about you and how you eat, not just the kids. This is fundamental for your health. If your body isn’t in the right state then you won’t be digesting properly and you won’t be taking on board the nutrients from your food.
Here’s what to do.
Take a moment before you eat
I’ve started to pause before we eat and encourage the kids to do the same, even to say thank you for your meal. But not to dive straight in. This allows your body to relax, the optimum state for your body to eat and to get the nutrients it needs. Digestion starts way before you put the food in your mouth. You think about the food, you smell the food and your body starts releasing the enzymes it needs to start digestion. So take a moment.
Eat on your own
Controversial I know. Yes it’s really important to eat as a family, to teach them how to eat and to eat at the table. But sometimes it’s about you. Sometimes you can feed your children and then have your meal later so that you can enjoy it, concentrate on it and eat well.
When Sam was a baby I always had my lunch whilst he was napping. It was my sacred time and it meant that I could enjoy what I was eating without worrying about him.
Have a small portion
And if you want to eat with the kids you can always have a small portion, a snack, or even a drink so that you’re sitting with them, talking to them and having some time with them. And you can take your time later on to eat your meal for you.
Put your knife and fork down
You’ll probably have heard this before. But rather than rushing your meal down to then help your kids, take your time. Put your knife and fork down between mouthfuls. This can help make you more conscious. And for for some meals it won’t matter how long it takes to eat a meal, so just let it flow a bit.
Doing all these things can make for a relaxed mealtime. You’re teaching your kids how to eat slowly and properly. In our house the last to finish is the winner, not the first!
So just take a bit of time to be conscious about how you’re eating even when you’re trying to look after the kids at the same time.
‘Look after yourself first and then you’ll have the energy for everything else’
Nicky is a registered nutritional therapist who takes an integrative approach that works on both the body and the mind. She’s passionate about teaching women (and Mums) to look after themselves first, so that they can be there for their children and have the energy for whatever life has in store.
Nicky qualified from The Institute for Optimum Nutrition in 2009 and is registered with The British Association for Nutrition and Lifestyle Medicine (BANT), and the Complementary & Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC).