I got into a declutter mood after carrying and accumulating “stuff” over many years, and decided to digitize the hundreds of articles that I’ve written over the course of my career. We’re having a blizzard and maybe changes in barometric pressure are giving me crazy ideas! Anyway, after being hit with a “who cares” moment, I decided that a better use of my time would be to digitize just my articles on feeding kids and create a book to give my boys if/when they start their own family.
There’s nothing like writing about what you’re living, so food and nutrition for children was a natural fit for me in the 1990s when my kids were in their early eating years. I was fortunate to serve as nutrition editor for Child magazine for eight years and also wrote for other magazines and several food companies. My writing was a combination of science, personal observations, advice from our pediatrician, the fabulous Dr. Pete, and guidance from my child feeding guru, Ellyn Satter, author of How to Get Your Kid to Eat, But Not Too Much.
So here is some advice on feeding kids … and grandkids, since many of my older not old friends have them:
• Allow your baby to feed when showing signs of hunger and stop feeding when showing signs of fullness. (Growing Leaps and Bounds™, with funding from the Dannon Institute)
• The more familiar you are with your child’s individual likes and dislikes, the easier it will be for you to communicate with him or her about a healthy lifestyle. (Getting Kids to Eat Well & Be Active, with funding from Weight Watchers International and the American Health Foundation)
• For breakfast, include foods from at least three food groups, for example, one serving each from the grain, fruit, and dairy groups. (Child magazine) • The best time to introduce finger foods may be when your child grabs for your hand and tries to push the spoon into his/her mouth, or reaches for food on your plate. (Healthy Kids Birth-3)
• Don’t turn mealtime into a battleground – the most important point is to provide your child with a balanced diet for growth and normal development. (Healthy Kids 4-10)
• Snacking has a place in a healthy child’s diet. Most children burn more calories than they can eat in three meals. And use snack time to fill in what may be missing from your child’s diet. (Child magazine)
• Children’s tastes change as they get older, and chances are that your child will someday learn to enjoy eating vegetables. (Child magazine)
• It’s a mistake to turn meals into battles. Instead of pushing, parents should decide what to feed a child and then allow the child to decide how much to eat. (Child magazine) • It’s okay to allow your child to have a small piece of candy or other sweet even once a day. That way they’re seen as “no big deal” rather than something to indulge in. (Child magazine)
• Don’t overreact or get overly worked up over a picky eater – this is how kids exert their limited independence. And if your child refuses to eat a meal or snack, the next opportunity is just a few hours away.