What A Registered Dietitian Would Feed Her Kids
Over the years as I worked in clinical and outpatient settings, I listened to people share their eating patterns, the timing of their meals, what they ate, how much they ate, the reasons they ate. The more I listened, the clearer it became that eating is a learned behavior we mirror based on family tradition, culture and sometimes the resources available to us.
Once I had children of my own, I knew that it was my responsibility to teach them all that I know about eating healthy so that they could thrive and grow. As early as their infant years, I would appropriately give them their feedings at the recommended times and the appropriate number of ounces based on their weight. When they started eating solids, I avoided meals that came prepackaged because I wanted them to get used to the taste of unprocessed food first.
My children are now three and five years old, and like most parents, I hear “I don’t want this, I don’t like that, no thank you” during meal time. Parents should remember that mealtimes is not the time for negotiations. I simply tell my children this is what is available for dinner today. I do not make an alternative meal or give them a choice. I also announce with great excitement what our dinner menu includes prior to serving dinner and I often get them to help me cook.
Our meal always includes a protein, carbohydrate, and vegetable and /or fruit.
Sparkling water, plain or flavored, low fat milk, and diluted, low sugar juices.
When I am crunched for time, as most parents are, I prepare enough Carbohydrates or Proteins to serve more than one meal. This way you are only heating or preparing one component of the meal. For an example of a quick meal, I bake a mini personal pizza in the oven and slice one pear or cucumbers. I cut the pizza into 8 pieces and each child gets 3-4 pieces or half of the pizza. I always ask my children to tell me if they are still hungry, and if they are I offer more vegetables or fruits. I will offer a mini ice cream cone or a 100% fruit popsicle.
Before bed I serve 4-8 ounces of warm milk. This acts as a safety net on those days that either child does not eat as hearty as they usually do. Sometimes they only drink half, other times the full serving.
I do not purchase cookies, cakes, pastries or ice cream. We treat ice cream or frozen yogurt as a special treat. We usually make a trip to a Frozen Yogurt shop on birthdays, holidays or when the Tooth Fairy has visited.
By Alamaze Harrison, RDN, LDN
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