Putting the fact that childhood obesity is on the rise aside, it seems as though kids live the dream of eating whatever they want without gaining an ounce. I’m pretty sure most of us can look 10 years ago and wish we could go back to the days of chowing down on a greasy taco without a second thought.
So yeah, our bodies have changed a bit since then, but we can still learn a thing or two from our 10-year-old selves to help us from gaining the Freshman 15 (or the college 30).
Kid Pro Tip #1: Eat Less
It may seem like you ate bucket loads of whatever the hell you wanted when you were young, but in reality, the amount isn’t as much as you think.
Sure you ate ice cream any chance you got and pizza parties meant you got to stuff your face, but if you actually look at the portion sizes that most kids eat, it’s quite small. I promise that 10-year-old you did not eat an entire box of pizza like you do today.
Kid Pro Tip #2: Be picky
As a kid, you would go ballistic if you had to eat regular mac & cheese over SpongeBob shaped mac & cheese (hello, everyone knows the characters are better). If you didn’t get your way, someone better not hand you a knife…or fork. Nowadays, if something has the slightest capacity of being digested in our stomachs, we will eat it.
Let’s not even get started with free food. You advertise free food and flocks of college students will venture to your unknown club that they really don’t care about. We will scarf that sh*t down in 0.3 seconds just so we can get more free food. Money is tight, so when it comes to free food we don’t mess around.
However, when we eat, we have to be picky. When you were a kid, you didn’t eat every second you had the chance. If someone was giving away free pepperoni pizza, but you didn’t like pepperoni, you would gladly decline. We were so stupid, I know.
But still, we were smart in the fact that we knew that if we didn’t 100% want something, we weren’t going to get it. Why would you waste your calories on food you only half enjoy?
Your food desires may be calorie packed, but you won’t get as much satisfaction out of a whole plain burger than with half a hamburger with the works. You want it to be so good that the cow thinks it was worth dying for.
Kid Pro Tip #3: Don’t clean your plate
Being apart of the “Clean Plate Club” is one of the worst clubs you can join. Just don’t do it. 96% of the time, if you listen to your body, you can stop eating before the plate gets licked clean.
When we were kids, we had better things to do than eat past our capacity, like practice flips on the couch or trade Pokémon cards. For some strange reason, now that we’re older, we feel like we have to eat all of our food because it’s there. I mean why wouldn’t we? We’re broke college students, that would be money we’re throwing away.
Stopping this bad habit can be extremely difficult, but there are plenty of ways to get around it. The easy ways out would be eating off a smaller plate or boxing up food as leftovers so that you know you are not wasting anything.
However, just listening to your body and pulling back the reigns when you are full is the best way to take care of this. You should stop eating when you are around a “7” on a scale from 1-10 of fullness.
Kid Pro Tip #4: Play with your food
Despite what your parents say, playing with your food can help you eat less. I’m not talking about sculpting the Mona Lisa out of mashed potatoes. You just need to do something that will keep your food away from your mouth, like stacking your pretzel sticks into a cute little house.
Playing with your food can help you slow down the rate you eat. So many of us are victims of stuffing our face, spoonful after spoonful. Playing with your food puts more time in-between your bites. The longer your mealtime is, the more time you give your brain to catch up with your stomach and let you know you are full. Remember, eating should be fun.
So although 10-year-old you did not make the healthiest choicest, they did utilize good practical methods of eating. Usually your parents would nag you about doing all these things, but hey that’s the beauty of college: no nagging parents.
If you just love food too much and are still struggling with eating constantly, check out these others tips: