Avoid Teaching Kids Unhealthy Eating Habits
Frustrated parents who struggle with their kids’ eating habits may not realize that part of their frustration has to do with bad habits their kids picked up…from them!
Let’s look at some things that well-meaning parents often do that may develop unhealthy habits in their kids. Then we’ll look at how to promote healthy habits. Here are some suggestions.
Dessert as a Bargaining Tool
It’s so easy to slip into this one. Kids bargain – “Have I eaten enough for dessert yet?” Then they eat one more green bean and ask the same question.
Parents get flustered and frustrated how much is “enough” for dessert? Kids try to eat the minimum to get to dessert sooner. It just gets to be a battle for everyone. So try not to use dessert for leverage (tips below)!
Clean Your Plate
In a nation plagued by overeating, this is hardly good eating advice! Let your kids eat until they are full, and make sure everyone begins with small portions. You can always get more, but you can’t put it back!
Don’t Eat That, or You’ll Ruin Your Meal
No parent wants their child to be too full of potato chips to eat their dinner. But withholding food from a hungry child doesn’t send a friendly message; not snacking between meals can mean ravenous eaters at mealtimes, and ravenous eaters don’t know when to stop.
This may set the stage for overeating. To avoid this, schedule snacks (more on that below), or let your child snack on tidbits of the ingredients you’re cooking with.
Serve It Again…and Again
It’s not even safe to serve kids the same food until they eat it (bacteria can grow on and in food that sits for long periods), nor is it a healthy practice to make kids stay at the table until they’ve eaten everything. It adds much stress to mealtimes, perhaps resulting in your child under- or over-eating.
Jarred Baby Food
Nutritionists have speculated that tasteless, jarred baby food all the same smooth texture ruins a baby’s and child’s appetite for various tastes and textures for years. It may be true!
Instead of packing the puree into your baby, coarsely mash up some adult food (or at least whole foods, like bananas or steamed carrots) and let them eat that.
Promoting Healthy Habits
In addition to avoiding the above, it’s a good idea to be proactive in developing healthy eating habits for your kids. Here are some basics.
- Allow for snacking – In fact, schedule your snack times and plan for healthy foods at those times. This helps stave off the “can’t wait for dinner” problem!
- Eat until you’re full – Try to take a basic, relaxed approach – here is your food, eat what you want. If your child only eats a little, cover and refrigerate leftovers and break them out when your child is hungry later. Kids eat small portions.
- Toss dessert – A straightforward solution to the dessert battle is to do away with dessert, period. Just don’t serve it. Another idea is to serve dessert an hour after dinner. Your kids may eat more dinner if they have to wait. They may even forget about dessert!
Yet another idea is to have healthy desserts as part of the meal, such as mixed fruit with vanilla yogurt sauce, spiced nuts, or low-sugar baked apples. Just serve that part of the meal last, and don’t even call it “dessert”!
Avoid Teaching Kids Unhealthy Eating Habits
Most Viewed Posts
- Teenage Boys and Social Media
- Problem Solving And Conflict Resolution For Children
- What Is Online Grooming and How Can I Keep My Child Safe?
- How to Avoid the Parenting Mistakes Commonly Made with Middle Children
- Positive Parenting Tips For Healthy Child Development
- Parents Need Time Outs Too: Knowing When to Step Back
- Seeing Each Child as an Individual
- Teaching Kids to Care for Their Skin
- Easy Parenting Assessment Example
- Teenage Girls and Social Media
- Dry Skin Remedies For Kids
- Why Picking Your Battles Is Important
- What Are You Teaching Your Child by Being Inconsistent?
- Sun Protection for Your Child
- Essential Back To School Tips For Kids
- Understanding the Inner Workings of Your Teen
- Emotional Changes Found in Adolescent Girls
- Emotional Changes Found in Adolescent Boys
- Recognizing and Respecting Your Partner’s Actions and Boundaries
- Meeting in the Middle When Parenting Ideas Conflict
- How to Train Your Childcare Provider to Meet Your Needs
- Five Ways to Protect Your Child Online
- Signs That Your Child Is Being Bullied Online
- Should Your Child Have Internet Access in Their Bedroom?
- Adjusting Expectations for Every Family Member
- Co-Parenting – How to Handle When Your Child Chooses the Other Parent
- How to Avoid Parenting Mistakes Commonly Made with “The Baby” of the Family
- How to Avoid the Parenting Mistakes Commonly Made with a First Child
- Importance Of Parenting In Child Development
- Awesome Parenting Skills Checklist
- Summer Skin Care Tips for Kids
- Winter Skin Care Tips for Kids
- Extreme Parenting Moments That Are Funny Only in Hindsight
- Can You Trust Your Parenting Instincts?
- How to be Cool, Calm, and Collected When Kids Push Your Buttons
- Making Parenting Less Expensive
- Parenting Tips in a Food-Obsessed Age
- Parents Needs To Know When to Step Back
- Putting Things into Perspective
- Relax Because They’re Just Kids
- Small Behavior Problems Parents Should Not Ignore
- Stop Managing Your Child’s Life
- Tips for Easing the Transition When Mommy Returns to Work
- Why Is My Child Not Doing What He Is Told
- You Need to Take Care of This
- Kids Craft Projects for Groups
- Crafts for Toddlers
- Kids Crafts for All Seasons
- Educational Crafts for Kids
- Kids Crafts with Live Plants
- Nature Crafts for Kids
- Parent or Career What Will It Be?
- Kids Crafts Using Paper
- Wearable Crafts
- Kid Safe Insect Repellents
- Homemade Toys from Household Items
- Keeping Baby’s Skin Moisturized
- Craft Projects for Older Kids
- When Should a Parent Seek Professional Help for Their Child
- Ways to Discipline Ungrateful Children