Want a more peaceful home? Stop fighting about food.
Really! If your toddler won’t eat, don’t worry. If you’re preschoolers being picky about food, stop stressing. If your elementary school kid seems to need seconds (or thirds) for a week, don’t sweat it. If your teenager stops eating breakfast, just chill.
We want our kids to eat healthy and grow strong. But sometimes they know better than we do. I often tell parents, “Don’t force your child to eat something unless you really want to clean if off the floor when it comes back up.”
In my opinion, respecting a child’s eating preferences goes along with respecting themselves and their bodies. It is taking a step back and saying, “you are in control of you and no one is allowed to force you to do anything.”
Did I just say, cook you child whatever he wants to eat for every meal? No
Did I say let your child starve? No
Did I say I think it is totally cool if your kid will only eat red food for a year? Double No.
Of course medical issues need to be taken up with your pediatrician. If your infant isn’t eating enough. If your toddler had failure to thrive. If your pre-school child has food aversions. If your school child has diabetes or autism or allergies. If your teenager is heading for anorexia. All of this must be taken into account.
But for the most part, most of the time, kids’ food preference and the amount of food that they eat varies. A toddler may not be able to tell you that they don’t feel well. But you’ll sure find out if you force a bunch of food down their throat.
The best advice I have is:
1. Offer a wide range of healthy foods and snacks through the day
2. Let kids be involved in the food preparations
(when they get older they’ll cook for you, how cool is that?)
3. Make mealtimes / snack times fun
4. Don’t go to battle over what they chose to eat or not eat.
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