What’s Your Feeding Style?

A lot of research has been done around parenting styles when it comes to feeding. Every family goes through or has gone through mealtime battles, especially with more than one child around the house.

The battles range from sudden refusals to eat the dishes that were supposed to be favourite, rejecting vegetables outright, fights over who sits where, who gets a particular cup or a glass, or even over nothing in particular. But the most common child-related dining table battles remain the issue of eating vegetables and cleaning up the plates. As to how parents might handle those concerns, depends on their parenting styles. Are you the type that says, “You can’t have dessert until you finish your veggies” and “You’re not getting up from that table until that plate is clean”? Or do you have the skills and the patience to not make mealtime a battleground?

The issue, discussed in the ‘American Journal of Clinical Nutrition’, outlines certain Dos and Don’ts and are worth keeping in mind by parents of young children. To summarise:

  • Don’t pressurise your children to eat fruits and vegetables. Allow them access to occasional treats, or they will eat more than their normal quantity of junk food when they find it.
  • If your children are overweight, don’t chastise them when they want to use food as comfort or pleasure or they will struggle with over eating as they grow older. The key is to gently bring them back on the right path of eating, with patience.
  • Practice what you preach and eat with your children to let them follow your example.
  • Try not to use only sugary foods as a reward.
  • Expose your children to different varieties of foods early in life so they appreciate the choice available and thereby increase their chances of choosing healthy food later in life.
  • Always keep fruits and healthy snacks handy and around the house instead of junk food. The more fruits you make available, the more the children will be used to eating them.
  • Cook with your children as often as you can, and involve them in the selection of new recipes. This is creative and also helps the kids feel they are making the choice.
  • Don’t tie an occasional dessert to reward or to eating vegetables.
  • Don’t put your child on a diet. When older people feel deprived while on a diet, is it possible that a young mind will accept and follow it easily?
  • This doesn’t mean that you don’t give them treats but make sure that you’ve taken a good look at your family’s lifestyle and are on your way to making wholesome changes.

Comments are closed.