Tips for Feeding Littles

Have you heard of Kurbo? This is a dieting app by WW, formerly Weight Watchers. This app is marketed towards children ages 8 and up. For a parent who is concerned about their child’s weight this may seem like a great solution. However, the American Academy of Pediatrics discourages weight control diets in children as it increases the risk of developing disordered eating and poor body image. So, what do you do if you are concerned about your child’s weight? Below are some tips for raising children to have a healthy relationship with food and their body.
  1. Have family meals as often as possible. Finding the time for family meals can be tough. Make time to sit down with your child, even if it’s just for a snack. Keep family meals enjoyable by avoiding talk about what your child will and will not eat. Instead use this time to connect with them and talk about activities you have planned for the week or what went well in your day.
  2. Follow the division of responsibility of feeding and eating. This approach was developed by Ellyn Satter, a therapist and dietitian who specializes in family feeding dynamics. Your job is to decide the what, when and where of the food you serve. Your child’s job is to decide the if, what and how much they eat from what you offer. Learn more here:
  3. Model balanced eating. Kids are sponges! A great way to help them learn to like a variety of foods it to see you enjoying them.
  4. Avoid pressure. Pressure often backfires with kids. Encouraging them to eat “two more bites” of this or “finish that before you can have this” often makes kids less likely to want to eat whatever it is you are encouraging.
  5. Avoid “good food, bad food” talk. Labeling foods this way can make the “bad” foods more appealing than the “good” foods. Some children may feel as though they are “bad” for liking or eating a “bad food”. This can lead to shame about food choices and sneak eating.
  6. Stop the negative talk about body size. As challenging as it is to love or even accept you body size, talking about your body in a negative way in front of your kids teaches them there are good bodies and bad bodies.
  7. Limit appearance-based comments. Even compliments can lead to poor body image. Complimenting them on their personality traits, ideas and creativity rather than their size or appearance encourages them to have a broader sense of self.
  8. Protect them from weight talk at the doctors. Ask your pediatrician to avoid talking about your child’s weight in front of them. Instead ask that they express any concerns that they have with you in private.
  9. Normalize weight gain. It is entierly normal for children to gain 20-50 pounds during pre-puberty and puberty. These changes happen differently for every body. Trying to curb weight gain can lead to more weight gain, weight cycling and eating disorders.
  10. Celebrate body diversity. The word “fat” is often used as an insult in our culture. This teaches kids that fat bodies are bad bodies. Try changing the way they view the word fat as a neutral descriptor, just like tall, short or brown-eyed. Remind them that bodies come in all shapes and sizes and that everyone is worthy of love and respect regardless of what they look like.
Roasted Carrots with Honey, Rosemary and Thyme
Servings: 6
2 pounds of carrots, peeled and cubed
2 tablespoons oil
1 tablespoon rosemary
1 tablespoon thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons honey
1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees.
2. Toss carrots with oil and seasonings and spread them onto a foil lined sheet pan. Roast for 15 minutes, tossing once or twice, until the carrots are tender and brown along the edges.
3. Remove from oven, drizzle honey over carrots and toss. Enjoy!
Serving Size: 1/2 cup

Nutrition Information per Serving: 110.9 calories, 5 grams total fat, 0.4 grams of saturated fat, 4.4 grams of unsaturated fat, 16.9 grams carbohydrate, 3.6 grams fiber, 1.2 grams protein, 462.1 milligrams sodium, 360.2 milligrams potassium, 10.8 grams sugar
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