nosh magazine (issue 5) - Page 13

nosh magazine THREE THINGS YOU SHOULD NEVER SAY TO KIDS AT DINNER TIME Deb Blakley shares three tips to help your kids develop a healthy relationship with food. ositive conversations at family meal times help to develop a child’s relationship with food. So here are three things you should never say to kids at dinner time and why. P 1. ‘You can’t leave the table till you eat everything on your plate’ When I was growing up, this statement was often followed by ‘What about all the starving children in Africa?’ Why not? We want kids to recognise when they are hungry and when they are satisfied. Forcing kids to finish all the food on their plate teaches them to ignore their internal cues of hunger and fullness and eat past the point of satiety. It teaches them to overeat which can lead to obesity. Instead try… reminding your child ‘We listen to our tummy and stop when it’s happy or full’. If they’re still intent on leaving the table without eating much, remind them when the next meal or snack will be, and don’t give in to begging for food if they realise they’re hungry later. Kids don’t always get it right. Sometimes they will eat too much and other times not enough, but it is a very important skill for them to learn, so hang in there. 2. ‘You can’t have dessert till you eat all your veggies’ Why not? Offering dessert in reward for finishing other foods makes dessert seem more important than the rest of the meal. It also teaches children to eat past their natural feeling of fullness in order to get the food reward. You then present them with the dessert reward and they learn to override their feelings of fullness, yet again. Instead try… telling your kids before the meal whether dessert is being served and what it is. Offer a small serving of dessert as part of the meal, but without the prerequisite of cleaning the plate. If you’re brave, set everyone’s dessert on the table along with the main meal and let children eat it first if they want to. Dessert can be something nutritious like fruit salad and yoghurt, or a fruit crumble and custard. Include ‘sometimes’ foods like ice cream as often as needed, so they don’t become desirous ‘forbidden’ foods. And of course, you don’t have to serve dessert every night if you don’t want to. 3. ‘Look at your brother. He finished all his broccoli. Why can’t you eat like him?’ Why not? Kids learn to like new foods at different paces and putting pressure on kids to eat certain foods usually makes them eat less, not more. Children use their five senses