What to do

The Citizens' Voice - - Health Science - CASEY SEIDENBERG is co-founder of Nour­ish Schools, a Wash­ing­ton, D.C.based nu­tri­tion ed­u­ca­tion com­pany, and co-author of “The Su­per Food Cards,” a

Here are six steps you can take to make 2018 your year to re­think food re­stric­tion for your kids.

1. Adopt El­lyn Sat­ter’s “Divi­sion of Re­spon­si­bil­ity,” where par­ents de­cide what, when and where food is served, and chil­dren de­cide how much and whether they eat th­ese foods. Al­low your chil­dren to keep eat­ing what­ever you serve even when you are pretty darn sure they are no longer hun­gry.

2. Des­ig­nate meal and snack times so eat­ing has struc­ture.

3. If you and your child are at war over food, you must re­move the con­flict. Stop re­strict­ing, at least tem­po­rar­ily. Al­low sug­ary foods into the house (with some struc­ture, of course). As you ease up and as­sure your child that you are no longer try­ing to con­trol them, they will back down from their own fight.

4. Give your chil­dren con­trol, such as what to pack in their lunch, how much of a cer­tain food they will put on their plate and eat, next week’s din­ner menu, and which snacks you will buy.

5. Des­ig­nate a drawer in the house for sweets, de­cide how many times a day or week your fam­ily in­dulges in th­ese sweets, and then give your kids the choice as to what to have and when. If the food is in the house, and kids know they can have some, they won’t feel as des­per­ate to gorge. Re­mem­ber, the goal isn’t to pre­vent your child from ever eat­ing sugar, it is to teach them to eat it in mod­er­a­tion.

6. Tell your kids about your new plan and struc­tures, that you will stop try­ing to con­trol their food in­take be­cause you want to help them learn to lis­ten to their bod­ies.

chil­dren be­gin to see it as a bat­tle­ground. Imag­ine the child who con­stantly wants a cer­tain food or more food but can­not have it. He builds up frus­tra­tion and pos­si­bly neg­a­tive as­so­ci­a­tions with eat­ing, sati­ety and con­sump­tion. Chil­dren do not want to be con­trolled by their par­ents, yet they are — we make them sit in a car seat, go to bed, take out the garbage, turn off the tech­nol­ogy. By age 2, chil­dren learn that food is one thing they can con­trol and win.

If you are con­stantly at war with your child over food, your child will start to as­so­ci­ate eat­ing with stress, and per­haps be­gin to har­bor feel­ings of guilt and shame that they want food you do not want them to have. When a child fin­ishes ev­ery fam­ily din­ner an­gry and ashamed, you have lost. When a child fin­ishes ev­ery fam­ily din­ner sa­ti­ated phys­i­cally and emo­tion­ally, you have won.

Feed­ing kids is not easy. I have made so many mis­takes, which my kids will be happy to shout from the rooftops. But a new year sig­ni­fies a new start, so let’s take it. I am kick­ing mine off with a box of Pop-Tarts.

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