Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Meal-time Battles and Diets

The diet industry represents a multi-billion dollar industry today. New books and diet programs appear almost every week with offers to help us FINALLY figure out how to eat right and stay in shape. While these programs are typically targeted to adults, the adults who are dealing with their own nutrition issues are also raising the next generation … often with the same rules they learned as kids. Or they are imposing new rules on their children. In many cases, neither of these are appropriate for children.

For example, according to Ellyn Satter, low-fat food is neither nutritionally appropriate nor appealing to toddlers (much less adults!). Likewise, for all the Atkin’s followers out there, starches are not only good for children, but appealing. Satter recommends always having bread and a second starchy food on the table.
Another important shift in philosophy is over control. For all of you raised by the “yours is not to question why, yours is but to do or die” parenting style, consider this. Satter says you’re too controlling if you make your child stay at the table to eat her vegetables; make your child clean her plate or eat everything else before she can have dessert; or if you make your child get by on only three meals a day. However, she says you aren’t providing your child enough structure and limits if you give your child a snack whenever she wants one; let your child behave badly at the table; short-order cook for her; or let your child have juice or milk whenever she wants it. Like most issues of parenting… there’s plenty of give and take.

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