What is emotional eating?
Emotional eating is eating because of stressful feelings. It may lead to a habit of using food to feel better. Some emotional eaters may eat a lot of food to feel better. Others may eat normal size portions, but choose unhealthy foods.
How can I help my child decrease emotional eating?
Find a quiet time to listen and explore what is bothering your child and leading to feelings of stress. Coach your child to express stressful feelings in a healthy way.
• Teach your child ways to relax like tensing and relaxing muscles, and deep
• Plan time for exercise. This helps your child’s brain release chemicals that
decrease stress and improve mood.
• Find time for your child’s favorite fun things to do.
• Help your child figure out who is safe to talk to when feeling stressed.
Use a hunger scale to find the right times to eat:
0: Stomach feels empty
4: Stomach feels hungry
7: Stomach feels satisfied
10: Stomach feels tight and full
Help your child learn the difference between boredom and hunger.
• Take a 20 minute break before eating seconds so that the body knows when it
Your child may benefit from other treatments for emotional eating.
Please contact Preventive Pediatric Cardiology Clinic at 608-263-6420 if you have further questions.
Adapted from Wendy L. Ward, PHD, Department of Pediatrics, UAMS College of Medicine.
The information provided should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
Last Updated: 08/01/2013
Copyright © 08/01/2013 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#7536
Print Health Fact For You