Is your child eating enoug h?

Wit h child ho od ob es ity ep i- demics on the rise, many pa rents and healt hcarepro vidersare conc erned about thedietary h abit s of ch ild ren . Howeve r, manyparent sto to ddlers or even school -ag ed children ma y wonder if their ch ild ren are eating enou gh. Child renoften go throug h per iods of finicky eating or dis- inter est in food. It is not uncommon to have a child who eats a wide varie ty of fo ods when he is younger on ly to disli ke the sa me foods a ye ar or two later. Most do ctor s say that if a child is grow ing and ac tive , ch ances are that he is hea lthy and ge tting enough food. If the opposite is tr ue , th ere may be some caus e for concer n. Par ent ssho uldcons ultthe child ’sped iatr icia nifeating habits seem to be compromising t hei r ch i ld’s g row th or energ y levels. There are est imate s that a young child sh ould eat about a tablespoon of food for each year of the child’s age . Ther ef ore, a 3- yea r-old shou ld be ge tt ing at least three tablespoon s of food . If the child is intereste d in mor e food, certa inly offer it. Mos t childr en shou ld have threemea lsandtwo snack s per day. Tod d lers may not eat enou gh in one meal to rem ain ful l until the nex t meal. Small , healthy snac ksof vegetables , whole- gra in crackers or low- fat dairy pr oduct s can help. E x pert s say t hat it c an ta ke sev eral int rodu ct io ns to a new fo od before a child becom es accu stomed to its ta ste and text ure. It may be a good id ea to of fer a variety of new foo ds tog ether with some thing he al ready enjoys eating. It’s also commo n for k ids to onlyeat one type offoodover and ove r aga in. Don’t wor ry that the ch ild is not getting enoug h nutr ition. Chan ces are he will grow out of this stage and soon enjoy a varie ty of food s.

Thre at s or punishments to eat will onl y ser ve to cau se a poor re lationsh ip wit h fo od, advis e chil dh ood exp erts. Also, don’t bribeachi ldtoeat with the rewa rd of a snack or desser t later on. This sets a poor example of eating and could lead to beh avioral problems.

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2011-01-20 digital edition

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