Are you picky about what your kids eat?

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


I like this post a lot! I have similar beliefs in food for my children. The only thing I very rarely allow them to have is processed foods. If they want cookies, I make them cookies. If they want cake, I make them cake. They are in no way deprived. I just don't believe in artificial flavors. I won't buy cookies, cakes or sweets for them! Good job Dharm!

September 12, 2008 at 2:38:00 AM GMT+2  

I don't have kids (yet). But you are right on! That's what my parents did and I think we (my brothers and I) have pretty good 'food' manner.

CECIL said...
September 12, 2008 at 4:27:00 AM GMT+2  

I figure that I brought it into my house, the kid gets to eat it. Except sodas and coffee. I grew up in a home that ALWAYS had chocolate chip cookies in it and I just don't crave them now.

I don't worry about my kid eating ice cream because she also eats a cup of steamed broccoli with dinner or seaweed soup for lunch. As long as it's balanced.

We're still working on shutting off the tv.... I think when she starts talking it will be more likely so we can have conversations :)

Anonymous said...
September 13, 2008 at 6:33:00 AM GMT+2  

I allow the boys to eat whatever they like too, within reason. They love fresh fruit and veg, especially raw carrots and big chunks of cucumber so I can always bribe them with that. I bake every week so they have very little processed stuff, which is a big dislike of mine. I also don't want them drinking coke. They're sometimes allowed to eat at the small table infront of the TV but mostly we all eat at the big table in the kitchen/diner where we don't have a TV.
We're currently working on improving table manners, particularly elbows off the table - which is a big deal in England, not so sure if any other countries have that same rule?
Great post Dharm!

September 13, 2008 at 5:59:00 PM GMT+2  

Similar thoughts here too. Our big thing is that the kids (only one eating solids right now)eat what we eat. No substitutions or special meals. If you don't like it, that's fine, but you don't get bread instead. And they still get fruit and/or dessert, if we are having it.

Cheryl Arkison said...
September 15, 2008 at 9:27:00 PM GMT+2  

Good post and good topic to post. One can go on and on about kids and their eating habits considering every child being different. For one I totally believe in giving variety at home so they dont yearn for certain foods outside which includes fastfoods too. And secondly even if such foods are given, balance can be achieved say by giving soda with a little water in it .. i do that with juice too.. Caremelized fruit with icecream...there is so much one can do. Oh i am looking forward to blog on this topic too. Great post kept me thinking.

deepu said...
September 23, 2008 at 2:58:00 AM GMT+2  

a wonderful post! And about the picky eaters. My son used to eat every thing practically until a few months ago (he is 3 1/2 now)and now is becoming more and more picky. I always make him try it once, but never thought of forcing him to eat. I have told him a story which works sometimes. Take a tiny piece in your mouth and munch on it very very slowly and then you will see that it tastes good. It actually worked. He ate yellow peppers though he disliked them before. But it does not work always.
We always eat at the dinning table and the sweets and desserts are always eaten only once one has had his lunch / dinner. I do not force him to finish off his food, as I serve the food to him yet, but I would expect him to finish off his food once he starts serving himself, i.e., learn to take only that much what he can eat.

PG said...
September 23, 2008 at 3:03:00 PM GMT+2  

You're so funny when you mention how kids like to sit contorted at the dining table. That's spot-on. I'm not a parent but I've noticed this, too.

Well, as long as the children are not obese and are eating a variety of healthy food as well, I agree with you.

Argus Lou said...
September 30, 2008 at 9:31:00 AM GMT+2  

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