PARENTING is never easy, what might work for one kid may not work for another.
It can make parenting difficult, but thanks to the internet there are loads of free resources available to help parents find new techniques to try.
thefamilynutritionist/InstagramAlex often shares tips to make mealtimes easier with kids[/caption]
One mum and registered dietitian, Alex Turnbull, regularly posts videos to her Instagram account, thefamilynutritionist, to educate parents in child nutrition and to make meal times for families less stressful.
In one video, Alex encourages parents to give their children their dessert with their main meal.
Although the news may sound shocking to some, as we often say to kids they can have dessert if they have eaten all their dinner first, Alex has a valid reason for this, which can help your kids instil healthy eating habits that will last with them into adulthood.
Alex writes in the video: “What happens when you start serving desserts with meals long term?”
In the caption, Alex writes: “I know, I know. It’s hard to understand that offering something like a cookie with meals is a good thing.
“The point is to teach our kids how to manage eating ALL foods, especially when we’re not around!”
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Alex has used this technique with her own children and filmed her daughters plate which had a mixture of savoury and sweet foods on it.
She writes: “Notice how she went for the carrots first. This doesn’t happen at every meal that a dessert is offered, trust me, but the point is that the cookie isn’t something she’s fixated on. We’ve been doing this for a few years now. It takes time.”
The idea behind offering children dessert with their meal is so that they grow up without the mind-set of ‘earning’ food, which could make children eat even if they are full, as they see a certain type of food as a ‘reward’.
By encouraging kids to make their own choices on the food they eat they can begin to listen and understand their own body more, and know when they are full up and when they are not.
Alex said it is normal for children’s eating habits to change daily, just as adults do.
She wrote: “Yes, they might eat the cookie first. Yes, they might not touch anything else at that meal. Yes, they might ask for more.
“If you’re only looking at these, then you’re missing the point. It’s completely normal for kids, human beings in general to enjoy some foods more than others.
“To be fearful of these things is to only play into the novelty that our society has created them to be.
“At the end of the day, I’m not as concerned about offering them with or after the meal. What I want you to focus on is…
“Not making them a big deal. This means not speaking about them negatively. You know – “cookies are bad for you.”
“Not making them “earn” it by eating a certain amount or type of food first. This pushes kids beyond their fullness and teaches them not to listen to their body.”
Lots of parents agree with Alex’s approach to food and not labelling certain foods as ‘treats’ or ‘bad’ as this can cause issues in kids’ relationship to food as they get older.
One user wrote: “We did this from the get go and although my son is still like a bloodhound about sweets, he has complete knowledge of when he’s done, no need to overeat or get crazy because he knows sweets will happen sometimes. The forbidden fruit thing left me with so many issues as an adult eater. I’m so glad my son will hopefully have a peaceful relationship with all foods!”
Another user replied: “Yep! I did this with my second little one and her relationship with food has been much healthier so far. It doesn’t put dessert on a huge pedestal which can lead to issues later on.”
A third user commented: “Yes! Trying to do this more to take them off the pedestal!”
thefamilynutritionist/InstagramAlex says serving dessert with dinner means kids will grow up with a healthier relationship to food[/caption]
Plus, one mum reveals she never makes her kids eat vegetables and why she encourages imaginary friends.
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