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Raising Fit Kids: Healthy Nurtition, Exercise, and Weight

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3. How much am I enjoying this food right now?

Once you start eating, pay attention to the flavors, the texture, the scent, how the food looks on your plate. Encourage your family to take time to enjoy it!

It takes 20 minutes for your brain to get the message from your stomach that you're full. So if you eat in a hurry, you may be full and not know it yet.

As you eat, keep thinking about how satisfying the food is on a scale of 1-10. You may be surprised how soon it stops being so tasty.

"Our taste buds get tired quickly," says Kristeller. "Depending on how hungry you are and the complexity of the food, within three or four bites you'll start to see a change in how much you're tasting and enjoying."

You and your kids can practice this with raisins or a similar small, healthy snack that you enjoy. If you pay attention to how much you're enjoying them, by the fourth raisin you may not want another one.

4. How full am I?

If you're eating mindlessly, you may eat well past the point of fullness. So instead, pay attention to how full you are on a 1-10 scale, with 1 being famished and 10 being uncomfortably full.

After you've finished a meal, you should be between a 5 and 7 on this scale --satisfied, with no reason to eat more. You could eat more (if the food is really good), but you don't need to. So don't.

Chew thoroughly and eat slowly. Research has shown that how long you take to eat something may be just as important to how full you feel as how much you eat.

5. Why did I eat that (or that much)?

If you go crazy eating ice cream and stuff yourself to a 9 instead of a 5 or 6, don't spend the next hour beating yourself up.

"Instead, just notice it," says Kristeller. "And take the time to think about why." Part of mindful eating is learning from your mistakes. Take that knowledge and use it to help you next time.

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