I have to admit that I really liked the phrasing and suggestions given in this article in the New York Times “6 Food Mistakes Parents Make“. I started to read it with a cringing fear that it would quickly become 6 tips about calories and obesity, etc. The first thing that kept me reading was:
Although obesity dominates the national discussion on childhood health, many parents are also worried that their child’s preferred diet of nuggets and noodles could lead to a nutritional deficit.
Okay, cool. A mainstream media article admitting that the obsession over obesity might not be what is most worrisome in view of possible nutritional deficiency. Check, I’m with you. What are the tips? Wow, those actually seem like good ideas! I can’t really speak to how effective any of the 6 suggested tips for trying to introduce your child to new foods actually might BE (having no children of my own) I have to say that I LOVED tips 4 and 5.
Mistake 4: Dieting in front of your children.
“By exposing young children to erratic dieting habits, parents may be putting them at risk for eating disorders or a lifetime of chronic dieting. “Most mothers don’t think their kids are soaking up this information, but they are,” Dr. Birch said. “They’re teaching it to their daughters even though it doesn’t work for them.”” (Emphasis mine)
For once, someone else (outside of the fat-o-sphere) has brought up the reality that Diets DON’T WORK and the harmful side-affects that dieting could have on impressionable children.
Tip 5 was also a nice change from the usual calorie-counting rhetoric.
Mistake 5: Serving boring veggies.
“Calorie-counting parents often serve plain steamed vegetables, so it’s no wonder children are reluctant to eat them. Nutritionists say parents shouldn’t be afraid to dress up the vegetables. Adding a little butter, ranch dressing, cheese sauce or brown sugar to a vegetable dish can significantly improve its kid appeal. And adding a little fat to vegetables helps unlock their fat-soluble nutrients.”
I’d have to count on those of you out there with children to speak to the efficacyof the suggestions given throughout the article but to me this is a nice step in a good direction; one that leads to teaching children early on how to eat intuitively and a variety of foods instead of teaching dieting behaviors and fear of food.