Wednesday Rant March 11, 2009
The Clean Plate Club
These parents give their children too much food, or food the children don’t like and then insist that they “clean their plate”
First some concessions:
- It is important to encourage children to try new foods
Children need to try a new food more than once to get used to it
Some children who were premature or are small for their age need to be encouraged to eat enough at every meal
That being said, requiring children to eat everything on their plate is ridiculous.
What is the reward for eating everything on your plate? Dessert - that’s right, more food.
It leads to weight problems and a habit of overeating.
It creates power struggles at meals instead of a friendly, social atmosphere.
If a child is offered a variety of healthy food for meals and snacks they will learn to eat well. More importantly they will learn to listen to their body’s signals about when they are hungry and when they are full.
No one wants to see food go to waste, so give small portions and offer seconds.
Encourage children to try new foods, you can even require that they try a bite of everything new, but realize that different people have their own likes and dislikes, even as children. If they still dislike a food after 2-3 tastes, accept that they will never like it and stop offering it.
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