Child nutrition is extremely important for the proper development of children health, especially in the first years of their lives when they acquire the basic habits.
But nutrition is also an issue that scares parents, because the youngest members of the family tend to be picky and behave as if they are suffering from neofobija (fear of the new, or in this case, fear from new food items). There are just few parents who did not witnessed their child stubbornness at moments when it decides that it’s better not to eat anything than to taste the new food on the table.
With the idea to create a better and as much as healthier regime of child nutrition, parents often begin to apply misleading tactics as coercion and bribery, with which they either make a certain dish repulsive for the child or they create an unhealthy eating habits.
Here are some of the most common mistakes parents make when it comes to nutrition of their loved ones:
1. Forcing your child to eat foods they do not like!
If your like many other parents who forcing their little one to eat food that he/she does not like, you should know that this tactic can give the opposite of the intended effect.
Children do not immediately accept new tastes and they react negatively when parents force them to eat certain foods, even when they are offering a reward for it. Later in them appears a dislike towards a certain foods what they were forced to eat.
A better option is to put food on the table and encourage him to try, without offering a reward or punish when the child refuse to eat. If he decides to try, do not start excitedly to praise him and say, “Well done.” Stay neutral.
2. You bribe your child with sweets as a reward
In order to make their children to taste healthy food, parents often resort to the popular method – the bribe. It may sound familiar: “Eat the salad and I’ll give you ice cream.” The bad news is that bribery may result with undesirable effects.
Through bribery of this type you indicated to the child that the salad is not delicious, because in order to eat that dish you offer him an attractive prize.In addition, with this procedure you say that ice cream is a very tasty food, because it is offered as a reward, and thereby you enlarge his desire for sweet.
Studies show that the long-term affection of children to certain foods declines significantly when they are given awards to consume it. Instead of bribing, move your child to consume a little of the actual food. Over time, the taste will become increasingly known, and after a certain period, it will fully accept that certain food.
3. Your giving up too soon from rejected food
Children would accept a new type of chocolate with joy, but not a new type of vegetables. If your child refuses to try the healthy vegetables that are offered to him, leave it on the table before him. Try again a few days later. Pediatricians advise that it takes 10-15 attempts before a small child to accept a new food.
4. You served him portions as for adults
Parents sometimes forget that children are just kids and they offer them servings for adults. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the proper portion for children of preschool age should be about a quarter of that of the adults.
Limit the portions for your child, with the exception of fresh vegetables. It can be consumed in large amounts without causing undesirable weight gain.
5. Your completely forbid him sweet pleasures
There is nothing wrong with minimizing sugary pleasures in the diet of your little, but not to completely disallow them.
Indeed, the more you forbid him to consume a certain foods, his desire grows bigger and bigger.
And not only that.
In such a case increases the likelihood for your little one to overeat when the “forbidden fruit” becomes available in birthday parties with their friends or while visiting.
Let him eat sweets, but that needs to be balanced and make the desserts healthier. Use strategy 90/10 (90% healthy food, 10% food for entertaining).
6. Your consuming unhealthy food in front of them
If you want your child to eat healthy or regularly, you need to do that also.
You cannot create rules like “No sweets before bedtime” if you also consume chocolate before going to bed or “Breakfast is the most important meal” and you fly out the door in the morning without breakfast.
It is very important that you also practice what you teach your little one, because the children are a mirror of their parents.
Eat more fruits and vegetables in his presence. When your child sees that “mom” and “dad” enjoy the taste of healthy food, it is more likely to have a positive attitude towards it.
7. Your allowing them to eat in front of TV
Eating in front of the TV is drawing attention and we are paying less attention to whether or not we are satiated.
Children, like adults who eat in front of the TV are not aware of what and how much they eat, and it could easily lead to overeating. It has been proven that children bring a lot more calories than necessary when their attention was distracted by the television program.
Limit the places in the home in which they are allowed to eat, for example the table in the dining room or in the kitchen.
Meals must be time spend with the family.
Also, children are more likely to make better food choices when eating at the same table with the whole family.
8. You must not leave the table until your plate is empty
If you repeat this sentence often, it is good to know that healthy children know when they are full, and when they are hungry.
They are born with an innate ability to self-regulate food intake, and the best way to preserve this ability throughout life is through trust and learning.
Forcing your child to eat all the food you put him in the plate is a great way for him to overeat, and if he overeats while it is still very small, is very likely to do so in the future. Believe him when he says he is hungry or sieve and give him the appropriate portions according to his age. It will create in him the right attitude towards food.
9. You do not allow him to help in the kitchen
Yes, the kitchen is a dangerous place for small children, but your tactic to not allow your little one to participate in the preparation of meals is wrong.
In fact, it is more likely your little one to eat a certain meal or to accept to taste new foods if they help you to prepare it.
Shop with your child, involve your child in the selection of the groceries, and then get them involved in cooking, even if you need to clean a big chaos.