Your food-ob­sessed tot is eat­ing much more than she should. Learn how you can man­age her.

Young Parents (Singapore) - - Contents -

Eat­ing habits are of­ten tricky at this age, and some tod­dlers tend to eat much more than they should.

If that hap­pens to your young child, you should put a stop to this be­fore her weight be­comes a con­cern. For­tu­nately, there is lots you can do to make a dif­fer­ence.

Here are our 10 top tips for man­ag­ing your food-ob­sessed tod­dler.

Fo­cus on grad­ual changes

The more fuss you make about your lit­tle one’s ex­ces­sive de­mand for food, the more she’ll re­sist your at­tempt to change her food in­take. Avoid con­fronta­tions and rep­ri­mands, and in­stead aim for sub­tle changes. Her at­ti­tude to­wards food will change slowly, not sud­denly.

Help her un­der­stand healthy food

Be­fore you can man­age her food in­take more ef­fec­tively, you need to know the types of food that make up a healthy diet, such as fresh fruit, dairy prod­ucts, fish and meat. You can get in­for­ma­tion from re­li­able med­i­cal web­sites.

Think “quan­tity” as well as “qual­ity”

Your child’s weight is af­fected by how much she eats and what she eats. You’ll be sur­prised how much im­pact you can have on her weight by sim­ply serv­ing smaller por­tions. Serv­ing on a smaller plate also helps, and she prob­a­bly won’t no­tice the quan­tity re­duc­tion.

Re­duce foods linked to weight in­crease

Cut­ting down on pro­cessed and junk foods will help keep her weight in check. The same ap­plies to sug­ary stuff such as fizzy drinks, sweets and choco­lates – they don’t have to be elim­i­nated from her in­take al­to­gether, just re­duced to a rea­son­able level.

Don’t threaten her with com­ments such as: “You’ll get fat if you keep eat­ing so much.” It could dam­age her self-es­teem.

Pro­vide healthy snacks

En­sure there are healthy snacks avail­able for your tot. These should be at­trac­tive, easy to eat and taste good – re­mem­ber that this has to com­pete with the temp­ta­tion of sweets, cakes and bis­cuits.

De­lay snack times

When your child asks for a mid-morn­ing snack, try not to re­spond im­me­di­ately. Say: “I’ll get it for you in a cou­ple in min­utes,” and wait un­til she asks you again. That helps her get used to pangs of hunger with­out hav­ing to sat­isfy them straight away.

Avoid threats

Don’t make com­ments such as: “You’ll get fat if you keep eat­ing so much.” Such re­marks could dam­age her self-es­teem and make her anx­ious. It’s far bet­ter to state things pos­i­tively, for ex­am­ple: “Eat­ing this will make you feel good.”

Set a good ex­am­ple your­self

You can’t ex­pect her to eat sen­si­bly if she sees you stuff choco­late bars into your mouth, or reach for that sec­ond help­ing of pizza. Your child is heav­ily in­flu­enced by what she sees, so think very care­fully about your own eat­ing habits and food in­take.

Show a pos­i­tive at­ti­tude

Don’t think of this as con­trol­ling your child’s food in­take. In­stead, view this as a pos­i­tive eat­ing pro­gramme that will help her grow healthily. It’s more about what she should rather than shouldn’t eat. Your pos­i­tive at­ti­tude will rub off on her.

Praise progress

When you see im­prove­ments to her eat­ing habits and food in­take, tell her how pleased you are that she is eat­ing so well now. Your pos­i­tive com­ments not only re­in­force your healthy-eat­ing mes­sage but also make your lit­tle one feel good about her­self.

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