All parents desperately want their children to be healthy and happy:
If your child’s eating is you concern, you need to understand a complex tangle of facts about nutrition, chemistry and biology, the psychology of feeding eating and behavior change. But we are frustrated by the conflicting information we receive about food and nutrition. You also need to be able to organize and execute the feeding in an environment which does not support your objectives and where you do not have sufficient resources. You have to alternate between immediate effect or long-term outcome, as your two objectives often seem to clash. Beside we are surrounded with factory made processed food.
How can parents develop a healthy attitude towards food against this kind of pressure for their children? Parents do not just want to feed children healthier food right now but also control of their choices, they want to raise a child with a healthy attitude towards food and eating, a child who eats when and is hungry, and can nourish himself and make good food choices throughout his life.
So what is a parent to do?
To offer a balanced, reasonably nutritious, available affordable and doable meal, in a developmentally appropriate way, three times a day, in an unsupportive or toxic food environment, requires very specific skills. In spite of a parent’s best intentions, and often without their recognition or agreement, the environment with its different objectives succeeds in making negative impact on children’s health or the parent’s efforts ignore the rules of feeding and backfire.
It is hard to get some action going in the right direction when a parent can slip up in this process so many ways.
For every time you feed, there are many steps needed to lead to the food being nutritious and the child actually eating it and enjoying it. The steps start well before the eating takes place with planning and buying, preparing the food and involving the child in the process, serving the food and modeling eating, and finally learning to enjoy the different tastes and the social aspects of eating.