“Mary what is your favorite meal?” “Noodles and chicken nuggets,mommy”. “Johnny,what is your favorite meal?” “Macaroni and cheesse!“said little Johnny.
Sometimes a child isn’t hungry, should we force a meal or snack? Likewise, should we bribe or force our child to eat certain foods or clean his or her plate? This might only ignite — or reinforce — a power struggle over food. In addition, our child might come to associate mealtime with anxiety and frustration or become less sensitive to his or her own hunger and fullness cues. What can we do?
Here are some tips :
1.Serve small portions to avoid overwhelming your child and give him or her the opportunity to independently ask for more
2. Stick to the routine. Serve meals and snacks at about the same times every day. You can provide milk or 100 percent juice with the food, but offer water between meals and snacks. Allowing your child to fill up on juice, milk or snacks throughout the day might decrease his or her appetite for meals.
3.Don’t prepare individual meal for each child.Preparing a separate meal for your child after he or she rejects the original meal might promote picky eating. Encourage your child to stay at the table for the designated mealtime — even if he or she doesn’t eat
4.Promote co-operation.At the grocery store, ask your child to help you select fruits, vegetables and other healthy foods. Don’t buy anything that you don’t want your child to eat. At home, encourage your child to help you rinse veggies, stir batter or set the table. Little Johnny is my big helper in the kitchen, and of course I let him experiment with the ingredients. The other day he told me to put ketchup in the fish, and in the beginning I told him that it is not usual to do so, but then I thought “how bad can it be?maybe I should try it!” And it was just fine.
5. Set a good example. If you eat a variety of healthy foods, your child is more likely to follow suit. I can’t convince Mary to eat fruits when I am having a big chocolate for afternoon snack
6.Cut back on junk. Remember, you—not your kids—are in charge of the foods that enter the house. By having fewer junk foods around, you’ll force your children to eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and dairy products. If you don’t have a nutella jar in the house, they will not be able to eat some!
7.Forget the food fights. “It’s a parent’s job to regularly offer nutritious meals and snacks. It’s up to the child to decide whether to eat,” says Angela Lemond, R.D.N., a registered dietitian in Plano, Texas. Some kids have a tedency to overeat, while other don’t ever want to eat.
8.Don’t ban sweets entirely. Having a no sweets rule is an invitation for cravings and overindulging when given the chance.The American Heart Association recommends that sugar intake for children is limited to 3 teaspoons (12 grams) a day. A soda like cola contains up to 10 teaspoons or 40g of added sugar, shakes and sweetened coffee drinks even more. Large amounts of added sugar can also be hidden in foods such as bread, canned soups and vegetables, frozen dinners, and fast food. Instead, try adding a splash of fruit juice to sparkling water or blending whole milk with a banana or berries for a delicious smoothie. Another idea is to freeze 100% fruit juice in an ice-cube tray with plastic spoons as popsicle handles. Or make frozen fruit kabobs using bananas, grapes, and berries.
9.Check your child’s BMI. There are many sites who help you calculate your child’s Body Mass Index (BMI) according to his/hers age. Here is one I found very easy and useful: https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/bmi/calculator.html
10.Consult your pediatrician or a dietician, if you think you have more questions or dilemmas about your child’s growth. It’s not necessarily “good” to be thin or “bad” to weigh more, just like it’s not “good” to be taller or “bad” to be shorter.Instead, work on the right weight for your child.
How do you cope with your kids’ needs to eat? Share your stories in the comment section!