How many meals do kids eat? Any clue? If they had the choice they would never ever sit down to eat a meal. They would graze on snacks all day long. I think I've adopted this philosophy two fold: One because I was packing a mid morning snack, making a small lunch and then snack for after their nap anyway, I may as well eat while they are! Secondly every health and nutrition book I have ever read recommends eating many smaller meals through out the day! So here I am, living proof that you won't actually die or get in trouble for chucking the idea of 3 square meals out the window.
Kids do things so intuitively RIGHT!! they squat properly every time to pick something off the floor, they never ever stop moving (until that is, we make them sit all day long at school or we introduce them to tv and video games, don't get me wrong my kids watch some tv but not all day long or everyday for that matter) and think about their eating habits, sure you could say it has to do with the size of their tummy, but actually it's because their metabolism is set to "super fire burning mode", assuming they are active and healthy kids, they easily burn the calories they consume. Our body is designed to process food every few hours, any greater length of time between consumption and our metabolism starts to go into "storage mode" thinking that a long fast is the near future and not knowing when the next meal will come from or what it would be. We basically need to tap into the "intuitive" way of eating. This is my favorite metaphor to explain how your metabolism works.
If you keep putting fuel (or logs) on a fire every couple of hours you've got yourself a nice hot fire, that will keep buring steadily all day long. It is able to provide a wonderful and consistent source of heat and light. If you stop adding logs to the fire, what happens = of course it dies!!! Conversely what happens when you put too much wood and crap on the fire = you choke it... and ...it dies!!! Now try burning garbage (cans, tetra packs, aluminum or even a marshmallow) on that same fire and what do you see, a wavering in the source of heat and light, it might burn very bright for a few seconds and then just die off. There is an imbalance between the fuel source and the fires ability to consume/metabolize it optimally. Our bodies are no different, if you give your body crap fuel, what do you expect to happen??? If you eat too much or eat with huge time gaps between meals, what happens??? We all know this answer but for some reason we just don't make the necessary changes to improve our metabolism (or fire = internal fire that burns away calories). I do see some positive changes happening these days.
School is getting better about splitting up the eating throughout the day, so that way kids get access to fuel in order to function properly/efficiently and effectively. When my daughter first started school, they told parents very strictly that junk food would not be tolerated and they provided lists of sample lunches and snacks! How great is that, once I even tried to sneak a piece of dark chocolate in her lunch and found that it had come home and my daughter gave me a stern talking too about how "no candy or junk food in lunchboxes!" Now in the morning I just ask her what she wants for her snacks and lunch. She gets a "lunch-serving" and two nutritional breaks! She looks through the fridge and takes out the stuff she wants. For example, baby carrots, cheese and crackers, grapes or clementine oranges, red pepper cut our in flowers (not sticks) and/or baby cucumbers. Here is the lunch box we use, it's BPA free, I got it last summer and she loves it!
Try this healthy snack next time you are starring at your fridge with a glazed look over your eyes.
Red Aunts on a Log!
Just keep it healthy and nutritious by using all natural nut/seed butter (it only needs 1 ingredient on the list), unsalted pumpkin seeds and what ever apple you have. And of course you know I would also add chia seeds. My kids love to add the "dinosaur egg sprinkles" :D