How To Eat Like A Child (aka Intuitively)

Today’s post is a guest post from my mom. She did not know her email to me (in response to this story) was going to be a guest post until after she wrote it though. I hope she writes more. Or starts her own blog. She has lots of good stuff to say.

Kids always amaze me. They are sometimes shockingly wise, like when it comes to food. Kids eat intuitively – they just eat when they’re hungry and stop when they’re full. At some point I did lose my food intuition, but I found it again after some time. Without further ado… My very wise mom.


So…what was your eating like when you were young? I will start at day one and go forward.

Maggie, Mom, Dad

You were exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months. Then I tried to get you to start on solid foods but you had no interest whatsoever. I cooked organic oat bran and sweetened it with ground raisins (no refined sugar for my perfect child!). You had little bits but just really weren’t too interested. In fact, you pretty much lived on just breastmilk for about your whole first year of life (and I think it was because you may have had underlying issues with non-human dairy products).

I always tried new things with you but you mostly just wanted to nurse (I mean, it is the perfect food after all!).  At the time I think I would tell people you ate more than you did just because people were so… um… annoyingly judgmental about how I was ruining your health! (There! I said it!) The thing about breastfeeding is that it is supply and demand… babies eat until they are done and learn how to self-regulate. With a bottle, there is always that temptation to make the baby finish the whole thing… or drink a specified number of ounces.

Once you became a toddler you really liked just about anything I would give to you. A favorite was tofu that you would snitch as you sat on the counter “helping” me cook. You liked fruit and veggies. The only flesh you really ever had was probably tuna fish — tuna and peas in a white sauce over toast was a favorite. I did ants on a log (celery) and ants on a bench (apple) a lot. I let you eat as much or as little as you wanted – there was no clean plate club. When we had play dates there were usually PB and J sandwiches or bagels with cheese melted on them. I made a lot of meals from the La Leche League (Maggie’s comment: this is an organization for breastfeeding motherscookbook — these tended to have whole grains. I made chicken fingers or tofu sticks and oven fries a lot.

Dad, Maggie

When we went to dad’s softball games a few times a week, you usually snacked on raw green beans, apples, raisins or trail mix. I was a firm believer in water for drinking and never even suggested that you drink milk with your dinner. Probably in middle school is when I started making a lot of things from Cooking Light.

Maggie @ the zoo (Washington DC?)

You were not a picky eater. I don’t remember if you ate sweets…I sort of doubt it since I don’t like to bake… although I do remember these really yummy cookies I used to make from the LLL cookbook — they were oat, whole wheat and raisin, sweetened with ground up dates, had willow ridge soy margarine and sunflower seeds and just enough chocolate chips to make them yummy. You loved them and I never felt guilty about letting you eat them — sometimes even instead of a regular meal (they just had so many good things in them).

Well I think that might be all I can think of for now.


That was perfect, Mom. You got anything for me Dad? Hint hint.

How did you eat as a kid?

Apparently I was this awesome intuitive eater. Maybe I will start making tuna and peas in a white sauce again. I remember absolutely loving that dish.

Don’t forget to stop by tomorrow for more of this. And if you missed it, honesty was a hot topic earlier this week.

21 Replies to “How To Eat Like A Child (aka Intuitively)”

  1. Wow, your mom fed you the good wholesome stuff as a child! My grandma (mom was always working) fed me lots and lots of fruits and cinnamon-raisin bread as a child, mainly because I loved it and would ask them for it over and over again haha. I usually didn’t eat a lot either; just ate until I was full but then I would be jumping all over the place trying to find that tin of candy. They stored it high enough, but I was always such a monkey 😉

  2. Well, just to let you know I’m still reading your blog, your first “solid” food was soft-serve ice cream…I’m not sure if I’ve been forgiven for that. (Or else it was dog food.)

    1. @Dad: Hahaha… I guess that is why I like soft serve. I actually think the reason I like soft serve so much is because we would get it after ball games – chocolate vanilla swirl with multi-colored sprinkles. I haven’t tried dog food recently but maybe that would be my second favorite 😉

  3. Loved this post! I’m a big fan of parental guest posts! I hope your dad chimes in 😉
    Kids remind me that intuitive eating IS possible. We just get so confused as adults! We put way too much thought into it. I don’t know if I’ll ever get back to my kid ways. I was SUCH an intuitive eater. I had no idea what was “good” or “bad” with food. I just ate what I wanted.

  4. i think somewhere, along the stresses of work and school and society, we lose sight of how we took care of ourselves because we’re taking care of so many other things. we have to remind ourselves that we need to place ourselves first, because without our health, we have nothing – and cannot take care of others, either. thank you for sharing this post from your mama!

  5. LOL about your Dad’s Dog Food comment! Y’know – I did eat a dog buscuit once – at a sleepover – totally mean trick!!
    Whatever..a bicsuit is a biscuit…and it had chocolate 😉

    No, I’m not an intuitive eater. I’m a “See-Food, Eat It, When-Not-Hungry” Eater – and a completely horrible stress eater…I almost wish I had your problem…I know that’s horrible – but binging is a side of the spectrum that makes you feel weak and worthless.

    God Bless. And your mother – I think it’s wonderful you are so close and open with eachother.

  6. My mum never allowed refined sugars, excessive amounts of fats, or artificially sweetened drinks when I was a child. She was a figure skating coach, as was my father, so a lot of our food was very healthy, though they are firm believers in an omnivorous diet. Once I started swimming doubles though (I was ten), my diet was dictated by my workout regimen, and that’s when my ED issues started.

    I think until I started messing around with caloric intake because of competing, I was quite the intuitive eater 🙂

  7. You’re Mom rocks and what a great eating start you had.

    My childhood foods were largely home made, and always veggies for dinner, but we were a meat and potatoes family, MILK was always a part of dinner and breakfast plus we HAD to clean our plates IF we wanted that huge baked dessert she always made.

    by the time I was a teen I was out eating my brothers and the plates were huge. Today that frustrates me because I still over eat.

    I try and offer JJ all the healthiest choices and leave the sweets as treats. Dad and I are not always on the same page so I just do my best and make it balanced. last night dinner was berries and yogurt…he just wasn’t into it.

    whenever I worry about JJ getting enough veggies I just make a green smoothie and DONE. veggies, check!

    your Mom did a great job with you and I also believe (now after 2 kids) that no two kids are alike, so it’s not always that MOM didn’t offer the best choices.

    good for you Maggie!

  8. Sounds like your mom really cared about what you ate. My mom made a lot of home-cooked meals, but nothing that healthy … and I definitely ate my share of crap. (Lucky Charms and Smurfberry Crunch come to mind, but Mom refused to buy Cookie Crisp. Where’s the sense in that? They’re ALL crap.)

  9. I loved that anxiety article! I printed it out and read it, and sent it to my mom and Johnny. It is exactly me – I think we’re both a lot alike Maggie! And my mom fed me much like your mom did – intuative, small healthy snacks instead of forced “meal times,” etc.

  10. Great guests 😉
    Growing up I had a great food environment in that my mom always had fresh and healthy-ish stuff available, but nothing was off limits. I actually preferred fruit to candy just because I liked it, not because I had to eat it. Plus, we were always playing outside, so I was a bean pole.

    Anyway, kids amaze me with their food and they are a great reminder of an uncorrupted attitude towards it. They’re hungry, they eat. They’re not, they don’t. It’s only when adults start telling them about “good” and “bad” that they give the food more power than it deserves. I wish I could “unknow” everything and go back to my kiddie tastes 😉

  11. Your mom rocks as a mom. So does your dad for his awesome comment on your blog. 😀

    I ate poorly as a kid. My mom tried to feed me good stuff, but I refused and only wanted fast food and instant noodles. Maybe it was a rebel from my parents who tried to minimize snacks and establish a firm 3-meal -a-day habit?

  12. Your mom rocks! I ate anything, and by that I mean everything. I think my dad was a big one on cleaning your plate, to “teach me discipline.” He’s very regretful for that now. My grandparents, who had a big hand in my upbringing, always fed me McDonalds.

    I had to sort my own junk out and I’m still doing it. But I’m g;ad I realized there were better things than golden arches.

  13. Loved Dad’s comment. I remember that day well…you were about a year old and still hadn’t taken to eating much in the way of solids…I think that soft serve was the first thing you preferred to breastmilk. Maybe it had to do with my craving vanilla softserve with sprinkles when I was pregnant…lol

    P.S. You each managed to find the dog’s bowl with kibble when you started crawling. I’ve never been convinced that you guys actually swallowed the stuff.

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