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How Can I Help My Child Develop a Healthy Relationship With Food?

This text offers 12 tips to help your child develop a healthy relationship with food.

1- All foods are allowed.

The more you forbid food to your child, the more it can become a little obsession and more attractive to his eyes. If a food is forbidden and allowed on certain occasions, he may eat a much larger quantity of it, without taking the time to enjoy it. Sometimes he might even hide some foods to eat it and feel guilty for doing so. However, it is important to offer a wide variety of nutritious foods.

2- Do not qualify foods as good or bad.

When we categorize a food as bad, we tend to deprive ourselves of it. (See #1).

3- Trust his signals of hunger and fullness.

If he is more hungry at a meal, let him eat more. Children are intuitive eaters. They usually eat according to their appetite. Appetite varies within the same day and through the days.

4- Do not force a child to finish his plate.

If you ask your child to finish his plate, it is also asking him not to listen to his signals of satiation.

How did you determine that the amount offered was ideal for his hunger?

5- Do not negotiate, punish or reward with food.

If we reward or negotiate with food, we encourage children to eat when they are not hungry.

6- If your child refuses to taste the new foods offered:

Invite the child to taste the foods offered, without pressure, without trying to negotiate, reward or punish.

  • Place new foods in the center of the table or in self-service.

  • Expose your child to more than 20X of the same food.

7- Do not make a different meal for your difficult child.

Among other things, children learn by imitation. If they see you enjoying foods, they are more likely to try them too.

8- Do not talk about weight and height with your child.

Weight is generally not an indicator of health.

9- Do not talk about his personal dissatisfaction, his own body or his personal desire to lose weight.

10- Do not talk about calories.

11- Let them eat their food in any order they want.

12- Create a calm and distraction-free environment for eating.

If you would like to know more, and have answers to your questions, contact me!

Karine Drouin Dt.P.

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