This week was a lesson in habits that just don’t work for us. I let the kids get a couple of donut holes after Acting Camp, solidly placing that snack in mid-morning, and 2 hours before lunch. It seemed like a safe bet. To continue with the experiment, I made everyone’s favorite lunch on munchkin day: buttermilk cinnamon fried chicken, green beans, and corn on the cob. The girls were whooping and hollering about lunch by 8:30 in the morning.
I set a beautiful table, added lemons and limes to our water pitcher and the edges of our glasses to add festivity, and set out the spread. No one ate much of anything. I didn’t even want it. We had snacked in the morning, albeit 2 hours before eating, and our usually hearty appetites were gone. Completely MIA. Even the smell of the golden cinnamon couldn’t change it. I pushed us all through a meager attempt at eating, and packed up the fruit and fresh bread for our afternoon snack while at tutoring. By 3:30, the girls were tearing through the fruit and bread as if they hadn’t eaten all day. No surprise. But that means they ate a larger than usual snack, and wanted nothing more than a sandwich at dinner.
Therefore, the most hearty eating the girls did on Tuesday involved donut holes, fruit, and bread. Oh.My.God. America, we are snacking ourselves to death. On Wednesday, I cut the AM snack out of the diet (again), and all 3 girls took 2nd helpings at lunch, ate a small afternoon snack of popcorn, and charged through dinner like it had rained down from heaven.
A) It’s OK to be hungry. I’m not suggesting we should arrive at the table ready to pass out from hunger. Just simply hungry. I know there is a belief that research exists showing if we get hungry, our bodies will hoard the calories we eat and therefore get fatter. America went crazy eating small meals, which pretty much equates to snacking on uncooked, rather boring food, scattered throughout the day. America got huge. You do the math.
B) Anything other than a mid-afternoon snacks for my kids ruins their appetites. They eat the food I put in front of them at mealtimes, and rarely beg for snacks anymore.
C) With 3 real meals per day, I never feel the need to snack. Nothing even sounds good to me. Sometimes I make a hot cup of tea or coffee in the mid-afternoon, and it feels like an absolute treat, if I get a chance to rest and drink it in silence (Ha!). By dinner, I am ready to eat, and I no longer crave snacks after the girls are in bed.
D) I am enjoying my meals so much more. I’m putting more thought and effort into them, and I’m savoring our time together and the deliciousness of the food.
E) While I practiced many of these habits before reading Karen Le Billon’s book, it really helped reinforce for me why I was doing them.
Alert Dunkin Donuts, and send my apologies. Apparently, “you did great at camp today” treats just changed in substance. Significantly. Godspeed!