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In my practice as a Parenting and Wellness Consultant “picky eating” or “refusal to eat” is the most common Parenting problem I encounter. I am therefore beginning a series of posts in which I am going to offer tips and tricks to help suffering parents cope.
Tip 6 - Set a good example
Do you skip breakfast - even as you holler at your child to finish his or hers?
Are you so hungry when you come back from work that you grab biscuits, chips or whatever else is readily available and wolf down the whole packet in a trice – and then have no appetite for dinner?
Do you frequently turn up your nose at the simple fare that is cooked at home and look at ordering- in or frying some frozen ready to eats – to pep up your meal?
And do you then wonder why your child won’t eat healthy food?
Well – then you are certainly not alone.
In my practice as a Parenting and Wellness Consultant – I find most parents complaining that their children only like and crave junk food.
My question to these parents is – “What do YOU like to eat?”
“What do YOU crave when you are hungry?”
“And what do YOU end up eating when you are hungry?”
Uncomfortable questions – with very uncomfortable answers.
Answers that usually leave parents who were expecting a major diagnosis to be pronounced for their children – squirming in embarrassment as they enumerate the wrong food choices they make on a daily basis.
Children learn about food with their five senses.
When they see you eagerly gobble up junk food, smell the junk food you are eating around them and hear you talking about your craving for junk food – that is what their taste buds demand!
If you want your child to make healthy food choices – first make these choices yourself.
At home and outside – allow your child to see that your natural first choice in a meal is one that is freshly cooked and not loaded with sugar and trans fats.
Do not allow the odours of Trans fats to permeate the air when your family is hungry – instead let the aroma of fresh healthy food waft around and tempt all of you.
When you talk of food- do not salivate as you talk of the wrong foods. Instead talk of how much damage excess sugar and fat can do and how important it is to eat food that is good for health.
Make it evident that these are choices you are making for YOURSELF – because YOU want to live a better life. They are not choices you are compelling your child to make.
As you walk down the path of healthy eating - you will find your child surely and certainly following suit.
Shine like a beacon and lead the way as you eat healthy at every meal - good luck being an inspiration!
Also, basic things can be kept in mind like letting a child eat when he is hungry, serving the food at the same time daily, making the food appealing for kids, mealtime fun and also, involving the child in the process of creating food so that it stokes his appetite too.
I wish you healthy mealtimes!