Parenting the Kid Who Likes to Eat A Lot!

The New York Times has an interesting article about Parenting and Food. It talks about what to do with the child who wants to eat a lot. The dilemma is that telling your kid not to eat too much can cause eating disorders in the future. Yet, if you don’t help them control their habits, they might just eat everything they want: including lots of junk food!

Photo of Food

Here are some possible ways to help your child:

1) Eat right and exercise yourself as an example to your child (most of us could improve our habits!)
2) Have lots of fruit in your house as an alternative to junk food and limit the junk food and soda in your house. (The NY Times article points out that your child will just find the junk food elsewhere. But meanwhile, if s/he’s grazing on healthy snacks presumably your child would be less hungry for other food.)
3) Eat Family Meals together
4) Less Take-in Food
5) Have them Bring Lunch to School (cafeteria lunches leave much to be desired)
6) Find an alternate activity to snacking – like a hobby
7) Have your child help you plan the meals for the family, thus helping them learn how to think about food in a healthy way.
8) Smaller dishes lead to smaller portions. When my friend visited us from France, she was amazed by the huge sizes of our dishes here in the US. If you have smaller dishes and you fill them up, you feel like you’re eating the same amount as a larger dish filled up. Yet your portion is less.
9) Make less carbohydrates. My husband is over 6 feet tall and my 15 year old son is almost 6 feet tall. Sometimes, I find myself making larger and larger amounts of pasta or rice to keep up with them. Lately, I’ve been trying to make less pasta, so we all eat less carbs, rather than making more and having leftovers.
10) We try to take long walks at parks together as a family.
11) We’re considering getting a dog – with the understanding that our kids would have to help walk it. That would be a daily walk for all of us!

Please feel free to let us know any advice you might have, in the comments below, for helping children eat healthy food and eat healthy amounts of food, without causing eating disorders down the road.

This article was posted on Saturday, September 5th, 2009 at 1:52 pm and is filed under Countries & Cultures, Food and Nutrition, Healthy Eating, Mama Lisa, Parenting, Photos, USA. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

5 Responses to “Parenting the Kid Who Likes to Eat A Lot!”

  1. Monique Says:

    I think that not feeding kids a lot starts from the very beginning of life: a baby can cry for many reasons so don’t assume that s/he’s hungry every time s/he cries. If you feed him/her every time s/he cries -maybe s/he needs to be comforted/reassured- s/he will associate food with being reassured and will eat to feel better when s/he feels bad/depressed/sad/lonely…

    Also: Love doesn’t equal food, so don’t overfeed your child as a proof of how much you love him/her, then s/he won’t tend to ask for food while s/he actually wants to feel loved. “More” doesn’t mean “better”

    Then children of different ages don’t need the same amount of food and a 3 years old doesn’t need two pieces of pizza just because his 12 years old brother has them. To have equal rights, respect and consideration doesn’t mean to have equal everything. Tell your youngers that when they were their age their siblings would be treated the same way as themselves are NOW and when they grow bigger, THEN they’ll be treated the same way as their siblings are treated now.

  2. Lisa Yannucci Says:

    Linda wrote an interesting suggestion…

    “Sometimes children mistake hunger for being tired instead. Make sure they are getting enough sleep. A big craft box with everything they need to create a masterpiece might help with I’m bored eating. In any case keep up the good work and always let them know how beautiful they are.”

  3. Melanie/Todd Says:

    My name is Todd. My Girlfriend Melanie’s daughter Hunter allways says she’s hungry. She gets fed great and she eats healthy meals at home and at school. Melanie was just wondering if Hunter might be missing some kind of vitamin/supplement in her diet? (i.e. fiber etc..)

  4. Jessica Says:

    Hey Im jessy, My son is two years old. I am over weight myself 22 yrs and 230 lbs and my husband is underweight at 27 and 120 lbs. I have been bigger my whole life, and I am active. He has been small his whole life and does nothing. Like I said my son is two, he eats like crazy. He weighs almost 40 lbs. and is 37 in tall. He dosnt have any rolls or anything, hes not fat.. he looks like a football player. My problem is that yet we do eat a littler healty then I like to think others do, hes constantly in the fridge getting a bannana then an apple then some grapes.. then yogurt, and thats after oatmeal for breakfast.. today for lunch he ate two crustless peanut butter on wheat bread sandwishes. I think that thats to much food. I would assume that If I cant eat that much how can he. I give it to him under the assumtion that its good for him, and if hes hungry hes hungry. But when is it enough, what do I do, other than crafts and things, cause were playin all the time,(im a stay at home mom). Hes constantly stopping what were doing to go get something to snack on. Dads a big snaker to. Always eating something, but dads at work 6 days a week from 10 am to 10 pm so I dont assume hes copying daddy. I do not want my son to be over weight it was real hard on me growing up, And i dont know if being actives enough. I did basket ball and dancing and Im fat. I just dont know what to do about him eating so much…… any ideas

  5. chloe Says:

    hi I just dont understand this at all me and my kids have a routine friday night movie night saturday morning pancakes with honey and bannanas. For breakfast they have corn flakes saltunas and bannanas no sugar lunch whole meal bread with choice of peanut butter, vegemite or jam or cheese morning tea fruit and cheese after noon tea home made biscuits. tea is normally a casserole, soup stir fry etc we only have take aways once every 2 weeks that fulls in with our friday night movie once or twice during the week I will buy them a lolly pop a small one and thats it in the junk food department. I eat tea with them every night and breakfast lunch they have at daycare I talk to them about what Im planning on cooking sometimes I give them a choice like chicken or pork etc we do activities together we go to parks we turn music on and dance around the house kids go out side every day. Also I have all ways served my children and myself in smaller bowls. So my question is If I have been doing all this consistently since they were little why does my daughter Alina get into food all the time she winges and complains shes starving all day its the first thing she says to me not even hello in the morning sneaks into cupboards stands on chairs yesterday she ate a loaf of bread whole pack of biscuits and got the orange juice out she is 4 in 2 months time and im now going to have to put locks back on every think for a nearly 4 year old. She does it at daycare opens up the fridge starts drinking milk dipping her hands into yoghurt etc. Now please dont think thats all I give my kids I dont I also give them weetbix or porridge or toast for breakfast. Sometimes they have fish fingers and youghurt for lunch my point was is that it is healthy food there in a routine but they still get there treats. Also b4 they leave the table I ask them have you had enough sweetie or would u like some more So i dont starve my kids I dont deprive them of treats were in a routine we eat together they help with meals we eat on smaller plates and I all ways have a bowl of fruit around I make yummy home made yoghurt to for them so why does she do this

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