Motherhood & Beyond

The Spunky Mom

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Is ‘Cleaning the plate’ right approach during mealtimes for kids?

Updated: May 24, 2018

Have your Last bite!!! Have 3 more spoons and then we can have desserts! How many of us are guilty of doing it? All of us want our children to be healthy and we also get to hear from our elders that in our time we use to get the kid to finish the plate. So, is cleaning the plate the right approach?

In today’s age, not everything that our parents did or followed is necessarily what experts consider to be healthful now. Child obesity is on rise and India is not too far. According to the latest survey India has the second highest number of obese children in the world. Obese children are at greater risk for health problems such as diabetes and heart disease, and often carry these problems into adulthood.

So, how do we as millennial parents can help children, and the entire family, eat healthier, both at home and away-from-home?

Here are my 7 ways that we can follow in our life to keep our kids fit:

  1. Firstly, identify and acknowledge the problem. Do not pass off your child as chubby and cute if he or she is obese. We Indians are always worried about child’s health and worry if the kid is not gaining weight. If the child is energetic and does not look pale then it shouldn’t be a cause of worry. Talk to the paediatrician to determine the healthy weight goal and do not succumb to peer pressure or the pressures from your elders.

  2. Moms please stop pleading your kids to ‘clean you plate’ or saying last bite. The baby or the kid’s body will give signal to him when to stop even if it little as compared to you but please respect his decision. Do not force feed the kid. This will cause his aversion to food.

  3. Steer away from TV, mobiles , computer games while eating. This is mindless way of eating and one should find ways to engage the child while eating rather than making him or her sit in front of TV and putting food in his mouth

  4. Do not encourage sugary drinks or coke and pepsi. Sugary drinks increases the risk of obesity and obesity related diseases.

  5. When eating out Look beyond the children's menu, often limited to fried, high-calorie, high-fat foods. Split one healthier adult entrée between two children.

  6. Try baking , poaching, airfrying instead of deep frying. Keep the kid safe and healthy by giving the kids any deep fried chips, fries as snack.

  7. Last but not the least do not use food as a reward, comfort or punishment. Food should be enjoyed and with small changes in the way it is cooked even the healthier options can be made more appetising.

Healthy eating doesn’t happen overnight. Parents should reach wellness goals by first making healthy changes at home and then teaching the kids what to opt for while at a party. Having said that, it is ok to indulge sometimes and let the kids indulge too but in a long run trust me you are doing a huge favour by giving them a lifestyle that is sustainable and healthy!

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