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No More Food Fights: Have Healthy Eating Without a Battle!
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Food and sleep are some of the biggest challenges that parents have. If you can get a reasonable amount of sleep and not have to worry about your children eating enough food – life is much easier!
In the book: How to Talk So Little Kids Will Listen: a survival guide to life with children ages 2 – 7, there are lots of practical suggestions for families to avoid drawing the battle lines at the dinner table.
In particular, the book urges parents to resist any urges to:
- Insist that your child clean his or her plate, eat a specific food, or eat a predetermined amount,
- Offer dessert as a reward for eating healthy food, or withhold it as a punishment for not eating,
- Be a short-order cook,
- Label your child a picky eater
- Make food a battleground!
Instead, try these strategies:
- Acknowledge Feelings
- “Even though you usually like chicken, you’re not in the mood for it tonight”
- Offer Choices
- Put an empty plate in front of your child in front of your child and let her server herself, or ask for what she wants if she’s too young to serve herself.
- Serve some of the meal as simple separates so kids can make choices about what they put on their plates
- Offer a simple alternative if kids don’t want the ‘grown-up’ food – for example, a peanut butter sandwich, bread and cheese, hard-boiled egg, raw carrots or some capsicum.
- Manage the Environment
- Keep sweets and sugary drinks out of sight. Make it easy to avoid temptation!
- Put the Child in Charge
- Let kids have as much involvement as possible in planning, shopping, as well as preparing the meal, if you can tolerate some food landing on the floor!
- Give Information
- Let kids know ‘tastes change’, so they don’t feel stuck with their limited plate. Tell them: “you might want to give this a try when you’re ready”.
Be patient – there’s no point rushing it as this can often have the opposite effect.
Our childcare centre in Wyndham Vale has a seasonal, nutritious menu that’s cooked daily for our children.
If you’re interested in coming to see our childcare centre – feel free to book a tour