Our posts and focus is on children from birth through third grade, so we want to share the importance of no dieting for children in this age group.
The other day, a new mother shared her concern that her infant was overweight because her mother-in-law had been saying the child was "fat" and encouraged her to limit food. Since the new mother only breastfeeds, it is obvious that she is not overfeeding her child. It is not as if she were putting soda into the bottle!
Our concern is for all young children because a healthy diet that is free of processed foods, junk food, and sodas should mean that your child is a healthy weight. Adding exercise and active play at least twice a day provides the physical component to weight.
Here are some basics:
1. No "clean" plate policy. If your child isn't hungry or doesn't want to try something, do not force it.
2. No food bribes. Do not use a treat as a bribe.
3. Have only healthy snacks available. If there are no Pop Tarts at home, none can be eaten. Try making healthy snacks together with your child.
4. Provide balanced snacks with proteins and complex carbs such as cheese on a whole wheat cracker or almond butter on apples.
5. Set a positive example. Your child will want to eat what you eat.
6. No whining about dieting or eating healthy foods. Even if we feel fat (and who doesn't from time to time), don't complain in front of the kids. Go prepare an apple and cheese treat for both of you, and then go for a walk together.
7. Your child can participate in making meals so that he or she is sure to like something on the plate. If there is nothing he or she wants to eat, a choice can be made from healthy snacks in the fridge.
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