Wednesday, 29 August 2018

Kids Nutrition Education & Parents Often Mistakes.

We are talking about nutrition education because that's what it is about! Children are born knowing only to drink milk. The rest must be learned and cultivated as habits according to their age.
Within the anxiety and the interest that all parents have sometimes they make mistakes. But they can be corrected by proper handling, patience, persistence and simple, clear messages to the children!

Growing up a child changes dietary routine. Where a baby feeds every 2 or 3 hours, after 2-3 years of age, we should start a program of three main meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) and 2-3 small snacks in between. We do not offer food more often because gradually it can lead to overconsumption of energy/calories and thus increase in body weight.

Even when we have a child who is difficult to feed, it is important that we have a meal routine. Equally important in these cases is not to offer many alternatives when the child refuses to consume the food of the day. Especially when alternatives are milk or any delicacy! Another way to overcome such problems is the family to share the same meal at the same time. Children learn much faster through imitation and play! If you yourself have never served a salad on your plate, do not expect your little one to show much interest in vegetables!

In the case that you have managed to increase the variety of food, you could reward with a small gift or activity. Never through food or delicacy! The same goes for a success in school or elsewhere. The child's 'bravo' should be independent of his or her eating habits. The same applies of course with the punishment. Children are much smarter and quicker than us to combine behaviors. Surely a good grade should not mean more chocolate through the week.

On the other hand, we have parents who are so absolute with the child's proper diet that they end up having unrealistic demands that the child should not eat any sweets at all. Even if we manage to control the consumption in the home environment, growing the child will surely be in the temptation. What you should take care of is teaching them how to manage it.

So if the child knows that sweet is the exception in his daily diet and once a week he can ask for something sweet and enjoy it, then we have achieved our goal! We do not have the risk of "eating in secret" or over-consumption. Very important in this case is that the child receives the same messages from the whole family.

Finally, if you have a child with extra pounds it is worth noting that the child is not a young adult. This means that techniques such as "cutting dinner", monofagic diets and extremely small portions to lose weight are totally wrong. Such a treatment is only certain that it will affect its growth rate and may lead to a lack of essential nutrients.

So you should remember that we are talking about nutrition education that takes time and must be a pleasant process for both parents and children!