Thursday, September 11, 2008
Posted by Dharm
In my last article, I talked about ‘forcing’ your child to eat everything and anything in order to avoid raising a picky eater. That is something that I believe in quite firmly but I need to say that it is only what I believe and I’m not trying to tell you how to raise your own kids.
This time, I want to address another ‘controversial’ issue. I want to discuss children’s eating habits. This topic is actually fairly broad and covers not only what they eat, but how they eat – as in how they eat their food. Should we limit what our children eat? Should we be concerned with what our kids put into their mouths? Should we worry about how much fat, sugar and carbohydrates goes into our kids bodies?
As far as my children are concerned, I’m not really concerned with what they eat. I know some parents that limit their children’s intake of sweets and chocolates. The ice-cream is rationed and only low-sugar drinks are allowed. Some even disallow carbonated drinks.
I respect the fact that you want to inculcate good dietary habits but I also feel that children should be allowed to be children and enjoy all the 'sinful' food while they can. As adults, we are constantly watching what we eat and somehow it's a lot less fun now.
My children are allowed to eat whatever they want. I exercise moderation but never, ever ration what they eat. They can have their fair share of ice-cream, cakes and chocolate – anytime they want – as long as it doesn’t interfere with their main meal. Sometimes, they feel like having cereal for dinner and although I tend to frown a little on this, I still let allow it every now and again. After all, cereal IS one of the five food groups isn’t ir?
Before any of you get aghast at my allowing my kids as much chocolate, ice-cream, cake and other desserts as they want, hear me out. I reckon that kids are so active that they burn up and convert almost everything they eat into energy anyway. So as long as my kids are active and are getting their proper nutrition, I allow them to indulge. After all, as I said earlier, we all don’t stay kids for ever and there will come a time when they themselves will have to watch what they eat.
But what if they get so used to sweets and desserts that they will always want it? Ahhh, fair point. I think the secret here is that if you allow them as much of anything as they want, then they don’t yearn for it so much. Its kind of like reverse psychology. The other thing is that we are constantly educating the children that too much sweets or for that matter too much of anything is not good for you. We don’t restrict them from eating anything but we give them a healthy dose of advise whenever we see them overindulging. And you know what? They hardly ever overindulge.
The next point I want to make is ‘how’ they eat. See, I’m rather particular about using the proper utensils and I want to train my kids to have proper table manners from a young age. To complicate things further, I believe that Chinese food should be eaten with chopsticks, Pasta should be eaten with the fork in the right hand and Indian food, especially rice and curry, should be eaten with the fingers. I also strongly believe in sitting down at the dining table for a meal rather than eating while watching TV.
I have to admit that the Lovely Wife and I are sometimes guilty of sitting the kids down in front of the TV for a meal but that is getting few and far between as they get older and learn the import of a proper meal. Kids also seem to have this habit of not sitting on chairs properly and will have one leg hanging of the side with their bodies contorted in strange angles while they feed themselves. I know they will eventually grow out of this but it still gets them a ticking off when they don’t sit down properly at the table.
So those are my rules when it comes to food. You can eat anything you want and most anytime you want it – just be sure that you eat what you eat properly.
What do you think?
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This Post was written by Dharm from Dad ~ Baker & Chef